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Clause 4—(Provisions For Enforcement Of Payment Of Fines, Etc

Volume 65: debated on Monday 20 July 1914

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(1) Where a person has been summarily convicted of any offence any sentenced to pay a sum of money the court by which he is convicted may order him to be searched and any money found on him when so searched or which may be found on him when taken to prison in default of payment of the sum so adjudged to be paid shall, subject to any directions given by the court, be applied towards the payment of the sum so adjudged to be paid, and the surplus, if any, shall be returned to him.

(2) Where a warrant of distress is issued by a court of summary jurisdiction it shall authorise the person charged with the execution thereof to take any money as well as any goods of the person against whom the distress is levied, and any money so taken shall be treated as if it were the proceeds of sale of goods taken under the warrant, and the provisions of the Summary Jurisdiction Acts shall apply accordingly.

I beg to move to omit Sub-section (1).

The Sub-section which I desire to omit is one which is likely to cause great hardship, and, in some cases, even injustice, because frequently the money found upon a prisoner does not belong to him. I am well aware that my right hon. Friend has put down an Amendment which goes some way to meet the objections to this Clause; but it really does not meet them, as it might be very difficult for a prisoner to prove at the moment that the money found upon him was not his.

This Sub-section raises the whole question whether a prisoner summarily convicted of an offence should be searched at the time, or whether we should wait to search him until he is taken to prison. When he is taken to prison he can be searched, and if he has the means of paying his fine the fine would be paid and he would be immediately discharged. We should then have incurred the expense of taking him from the court to the prison, and searching him there, and of bringing him back from the prison on his discharge. That would be a quite unnecessary expense and a waste of time. I quite recognise the point brought forward by my hon. Friend that great injustice might be done if, on searching a prisoner in court, money was found upon him which was taken in payment of a fine, and which was found not to be his. Therefore, I propose later in the Clause to insert words dealing with this: "Unless that person proves that the money found on him is not his property." If the prisoner made a declaration that the money was not his, and stated to whom the money ought to go, steps would be taken to verify his statement that the money belonged to somebody else. Undoubtedly it would be a great injustice to take from a prisoner money found on him which was not his, but in view of the Amendment which is to be moved, I trust that my hon. Friend will not press the omission of the whole Sub-clause, which, I think, does offer a convenient and easy manner of making convicted persons pay fines.

This is one of those parts of the Bill which are not excluded from application to Scotland. Exclusion, so far as Scotland is concerned, I understand would be appropriate under the Clause which deals with the Scottish law. But unless I am under a misapprehension with regard to the situation either here or in Scotland—let us put it at once here, in England—I should be disposed to support the omission of the Sub-section altogether from the Bill. I admit that I am speaking from Scottish experience. Our practice always has been, and I understood that it was so here, that the prisoner has the option between fine and imprisonment.

If the option of imprisonment can be accepted by the prisoner, it would be extremely hard to enact by this Sub-section that this option would be of no value, because if a sentence giving an option is pronounced, and then a man's money is to be taken, that option ceases to be of any value at all. I should imagine that the cases are comparatively few where the prisoner would have in his pocket money which was not his, though, no doubt, such cases might arise and ought to be provided for. But if the law at present is that the prisoner has an option and you are going to take that away from him in the case of any sentence including a fine, then I should be disposed to support the Amendment.

I am quite unable to say what the law in Scotland is, but in this country, in the majority of cases, though not in all cases, a distress can be levied, and, consequently, the prisoner has no option, but, in default of payment of a fine, the Court has the power of awarding imprisonment. We propose, by this Sub-section, to give the power of enforcement by distress in all cases.

By the proposal in the Bill you are taking away an option which has always existed except in certain cases, such as rents and things of that sort. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman has a certain class of prisoner in his mind in introducing this particular Subsection. But the proposal is one which is likely to cause extreme hardship, not merely in cases where the money in a man's pocket is not his own, but also in cases where it is his own money. Imagine the case of a man who is paid a weekly wage, and exceeds the bounds on his way home with his wage in his pocket. He may have a wife and family dependent on that wage for the coming week. Is that money to be taken, so that while he is relieved from imprisonment his family shall be left without support during the following week? Or take the case of a man who has a child at home which has to be buried. Is the money to be taken and the child to be buried at the expense of the parish? To put provisions of this sort into an Act of Parliament is to go a great deal further than is required. It can be perfectly safely left to the Court and to the prisoners to consider whether they would rather give up their liberty or give up their money, which may be required to make the necessary payment.

This Sub-section seems to me to lead to a most extraordinary result. As unamended it amounts to embezzlement by form of law, because it provides that a man may have somebody else's money in his pocket and that that money may be applied in payment of a fine. Has the right hon. Gentleman cured that defect by his Amendment? I think not, because who is to protect the money which does not belong to the prisoner? Obviously the owner But the right hon. Gentleman provides that the prisoner shall be the person to protect the money that does not belong to him. All the prisoner has to do is to hold his tongue, and he shall thereby secure that that embezzlement will be committed by form of law. He will not in anyway apply the money himself. The law will apply the money, and secure that the fine imposed on him shall be paid, say, out of his employer's money, or anybody else's money which he may happen to have in his pocket at the time.

5.0 P.M.

The case mentioned by the hon. Member is that of the penalty of imprisonment, which can only follow from default or from the admission that the prisoner has no goods to distrain; whereas, in the other case, the imprisonment is simply at the will of the magistrate in default of payment. This Sub-section has the effect, as I understand it, that money found in the pocket of the prisoner may be extracted from his pocket, and he must pay and forego the right, which prisoners have hitherto had in cases of this sort, either of going to prison or paying. If he does not pay you can exercise the power of distraint. If there are no goods on which to distrain, or if it should so happen that for the particular offence there is no question of distress at all, then I submit that the defendant has the right to go to prison or pay, as seems best to him under the circumstances, and why on earth he should be deprived of his money I cannot for a moment understand. It really comes to this, that you are going to substitute for the present law upon this subject a sort of right for the magistrates summarily to distrain upon any money that may be found in the prisoner's pockets. Whether it is that when the man gets to gaol and the money is found upon him that money is to be appropriated by the governor and the man that ejected from the gaol I do not know, but I should think that would be extremely unlikely. However that may be, it seems to me than an injustice would be done, and that there is no reason why this provision should be included in the Clause.

I entirely agree with what has been said by my hon. and learned Friend opposite. The position is this: A man is fined, say, £1, and, if he does not pay, he is liable to be sent to prison or to have his goods distrained upon. He is not in the position of the man who either pays or goes to prison in the direct sense. If he has no money to pay, or if he has no goods to distrain upon, then he goes to prison. It seems to me that this Sub-section is entirely inconsistent with Clause 1 of the Bill. That Clause gives the right to ask the man whether he can pay. If it happens that he is not able to pay, there is the right to ask him whether he would like postponement. If he says, yes, then they can postpone it for some days. But under this provision, if a policeman who happens to be in Court finds a sum of 5s. upon the defendant, although he desires a postponement of payment, it gives the right to the magistrate to cause the 5s. to be taken out of his pocket and applied to payment of the fine. That seems to me to be entirely inconsistent with the first Clause, which allows time for payment. Supposing the man is fined £1, and he has 5s. in his pocket, he might want that 5s. to provide for his wife and children at home, but under Sub-section (4) the magistrate could order him to be searched and could estreat that sum. I agree that this provision is not at all satisfactory.

I have become so confused by the arguments of learned counsel on either side that I am absolutely incapable of recording my vote, and therefore I wish to ask the Home Secretary what the law really is? I understand from what has been said that the Sub-section takes away from the prisoner a right which he at present possesses to go to prison if he chooses. The case of a suffragette is an illustration in point, and the question is of considerable importance. I understood from the Home Secretary that he disputes the statements made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Norwich and other hon. Members, but I should like to be sure that we are not taking away from the prisoner any ordinary right which he at present possesses.

This Sub-section would destroy the effect of the Cat and Mouse Act if suffragettes, on being convicted, could be promptly searched and fined, but there is another class of people who, I think, the Home Secretary or the Under-Secretary are far more anxious to look after, namely, the passive resisters. If a passive resister were tried and the money were found upon him, he would be deprived of the cheap advertisement of a sale of his household goods by auction. I venture to commend that consideration to the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues.

I propose to reply to the question asked by my hon. Friend. In almost every case after conviction of an offence, the magistrates have the right to distrain in order to enforce payment of fines. There is no right on the part of the prisoner, except for very few offences under 24 and 25 Vic, and one or two other Acts, to go to prison instead of paying the fine.

Is it not the fact that where a fine is inflicted, the magistrates ask if defendant has any goods, but if the man does not want them distrained, and does not want to pay, he prefers to go to prison?

Of course, in the case of a certain class who prima facie, are not the kind to have any goods, no doubt that procedure might save time, but in every case when the offender has got goods and does not pay a distress is levied. Therefore we are not dealing with the question whether the prisoner has some right which is taken away from him. My hon. and learned Friend said we were taking away from the prisoner a right which he now has. The only question at issue is whether we shall in effect distrain upon money as well as upon goods. I submit that it is perfectly reasonable and quite consistent with the objects of this Bill, that we should use what means we can to keep prisoners out of the prison. That is the object of the Bill. We want them to pay the fines instead of going to prison, because we wish to keep out of prison obstinate persons who prefer to go there, and we do not want to maintain them at the expense of the country, nor do we want to bring them into contact with prison life. In his irritation and temper a man, though he has got the means, may refuse to pay the fine, but, if he has money or goods, he ought to be made to pay.

The right hon. Gentleman is perhaps thinking too much of a particular class of person. His answer certainly suggests that he has a particular class in mind, persons who are comparatively wealthy. But I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that, in the case of an ordinary workman, the magistrates ask, "Will you pay or go to prison?" In the majority of those cases the right hon. Gentleman would not think it necessary that the right of distraint should be practised. There is very great difficulty in believing that in the case of poor prisoners, such as working men, that the right of distraint is exercised. I feel very strongly that if the provision is passed as it stands you will take from the working man an option which is of value to him. Surely it is of importance that the working man who has enough money in his pocket for the immediate needs of his family should not be subjected to its being arbitrarily taken away from him if he prefers to sacrifice his own liberty by going to prison, rather than sacrifice the health of those dependent upon him.

I hope my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will reconsider his position on this point. I think that this Sub-section would be a great hardship on a prisoner, and, above all, upon his family, if the money is to be taken out of his pocket whether he wishes it or not. There may be cases where the rent is due, or a debt is to be paid, or in which the furniture might be distrained upon, or something of that sort, and I think that if a man has money in his pocket, and voluntarily goes to prison rather than pay the fine, it is ipso facto an argument, and a very good argument, for his not paying the fine. I think it is a very reactionary Amendment to introduce into the Bill at this time of the day, to take away from the prisoner the right to decide for himself whether he will pay the fine or go to prison. I strongly urge my right hon. Friend to drop the Clause.

The object of this Bill is to diminish the number of people going into our prisons. Here is a case in which the prisoner, if he has money on him, may be searched, and at the discretion of the magistrate that money may be applied to his fine. The Clause itself provides for cases of hardship. If the prisoner has a few shillings in his pocket, and he says they are necessary for the upkeep of his wife and family, there is no magistrate who would for a moment think of directing that money to be taken out of his pocket. The Clause provides for all these hard cases which have been suggested by hon. Members. The object of the Bill is to keep men out of prison, and I suggest that it would be ludicrous that a magistrate should not have the discretion to order that money found in the pocket of the prisoner should be applied to the payment of the fine—thereby saving the taxpayer the expense of his upkeep—simply because the prisoner obstinately wishes to become a martyr.

I do hope that the Home Secretary will give way. Unless he does there will no longer be option or a fine. All option is gone and the only person who can choose is the magistrate. No doubt you want to keep people out of prison, but if a man prefers to go to prison and use the money for his family, then in Heaven's name why do you want to take the money from him? He is the best judge. Even a prisoner has certain rights and why should the magistrate be the only person who can settle that question. The prisoner may have very good reason for wanting to keep his money, and he may desire to sacrifice his liberty and incur all the unpleasantnesses that attend a term of imprisonment for the sake of his family. It is a monstrous thing that any magistrate should have the power of ordering a man to be searched and to have taken from him against his will money which he wishes to apply to his family. Distress has been spoken of, but in the London Police Court, for instance, no distress is ever thought of. If a man can pay and wants to pay, he does so, and if not, he goes to prison. In practical effect that is the way the thing works. I think it is a rather formal objection to say that no further burden is cast upon the prisoner because you can now distrain. I do make a plea for the rights of prisoners. It is a rather curious thing that in a Bill which is supposed to alleviate the sufferings imposed on prisoners you are now imposing a very heavy additional burden.

I see no reason why the prisoner should be given a choice as to whether he is to pay the fine or to be kept at the cost of the State. Is it not a much greater hardship on his family to take the man himself away and keep him in gaol for, say, a week, than to take his money? If you are going to give him a choice, you ought not to give him a choice which will involve a burden on the State and the taking away of the man from his family. I am under the impression that the process now is when the Court imposes a fine, if it is not paid the man is imprisoned for Contempt of Court because he refuses to obey the order of the Court. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] I am quite sure of this, that it is no greater hardship to take the man's money than it is to take the man away from the support and companionship of his family. Here we have the case of a man who says, "I prefer to be in gaol rather than give up the money in my pocket." I would not encourage him and give him that choice. If the man has dropped so low as to prefer to be in gaol, then I say that is the kind of man I would take the money from.

It seems to me that we have all the Liberal speeches coming from the other side and reactionary Tory speeches from this side. That is the worst of legislation ad hoc, because they have got into a difficulty on account of the suffragettes, they rush away and pass legislation which takes away the liberties of the people. Hitherto, a man has been fined with the option of imprisonment; that is his elementary right. It is true that the magistrates have the power to distrain, but they never do it. People are tried and fined, with the option of imprisonment, and now the Home Secretary proceeds to take away that option and hands it over to the magistrate. We have men professing Liberal principles getting up and saying that the magistrate is a much better judge of what is good for the man than the man himself. It is a typical example of this double bureaucracy. The magistrate and the hon. Members for Stirlingshire and York are far better judges of what is best for the working classes than are the working classes themselves, and therefore the man who goes to prison ought to be thankful, we are told, to hand over the power of option to magistrates who know nothing about his case, and who allow them to decide whether he is to be searched by warders and policemen. In spite of what the hon. Baronet opposite has said, the option is one which the prisoner now possesses in practice. Not only are you proposing to take away the option, but you are also, it seems to me, proposing to commit a deliberate offence against the person by empowering the magistrate to order a man to be searched. No one likes to be searched, and you are adding that indignity. You are, therefore, introducing into this legislation principles which are thoroughly undesirable and which no Liberal ought to vote for.

The hon. Member and other hon. Members are under a misapprehension. There is no option except in very few cases. I have sat for a good many years on the bench, and the procedure is this: A man is fined, say, 7s. 6d., and says he cannot pay. The magistrate asks the clerk, "Has he any goods?" and if the clerk says, "Yes," the magistrate then says to the prisoner, "If you do not pay your goods will be distrained," and it is only in the event of the goods not being found to realise the money that the man is committed to prison. The idea that everybody has got an option is really a mistake. It is much worse for the man to have his goods distrained upon than to have some shillings taken from his pocket, and shillings which he might probably spend in the nearest public-house. If there was an option at present there might be something in what has been said, but there is no option, and I shall certainly support the right hon Gentleman.

May I suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should make some modification in this Clause in order to meet the views so powerfully expressed on both sides. I put aside at once any suggestion that this Clause is intended to meet the case of a particular class of offenders. I am quite sure if this Clause is passed that neither the passive resister nor the woman who may have used a hammer is likely to carry any bank notes to Court. I look upon this Clause solely as one which affects the ordinary individual. If the Clause as drafted were passed there might be a very serious doubt as to the proper construction of Clause 1, Sub-section (1), which would have to be construed in the light of this Clause. That Sub-section provides that henceforth a man is not to be sent to prison unless the Court which passes sentence is satisfied that he is possessed of sufficient means to enable him to pay the sum forthwith or unless he desires that time should be allowed to pay. The question will arise at some time, what does the Bill mean when it says, "the man must be possessed of sufficient means to enable him to pay the sum forthwith." Does that mean that he is in physical possession of as many shillings as may be the amount of the fine, or is the Court to take into account that man's necessities? Suppose the man has just drawn his weekly wages, and that his wife and children are absolutely penniless unless some portion of the wages can go to their support, would the true construction of that Section be, if a man is fined, say 30s., that if he has 30s. upon him that therefore he has got ample means in order to satisfy the fine, and that unless he pays it he must go to prison, or could the Court rightly take into consideration the man's necessities, whatever they might be? He might, as was mentioned, have a dead child awaiting burial, or something of that kind. In construing the Section the Court would be bound to take into consideration what they found in a subsequent Clause, providing that if you find the money in the pocket of the man you can take it straight away subject to any directions the Court may give. The Court would be bound to be influenced in the construction of the Clause, that in Clause 4 are omitted the vital words which appear in Clause 1, namely, "If the Court is satisfied that he is possesed of sufficient means to enable him to pay the sum forthwith." I do suggest that if those words are repeated in Clause 4 it would make it quite plain that it is not merely the physical possession of the money, but that the Court must also be satisfied that having the amount in cash the man is also in a position to pay. Then the views of those who are opposed to this Clause would be legitimately met, and a number of my hon. Friends who have been in very great difficulty as to what should be their attitude on this Amendment would be satisfied. I hope that suggestion will commend itself to the right hon. Gentleman.

I was going to make a suggestion somewhat on those lines. I am not against the Sub-section as a whole, in spite of what has been said, because I think one ought to apply a certain amount of common sense to these matters. I do not understand why a man who has been fined, say, a sovereign, and who has £5 in his pocket, should be allowed to go away with the £5 without paying the sovereign. I do not see any grievance in it. I do not see that there is any great difference between taking the money in Court and distraining on the man's goods. I do not object to the principle at all. I do not think, with great respect to what has been said, that there is an option. The Court orders the man to pay, and that unless the money is recovered by distress the man is to go to prison. It is the magistrate who is to judge what the penalty is to be, and although you may think that the prisoner is the better judge of what he likes best, that is not the question. The question is, what is the penalty to be? May I suggest that instead of putting in the Clause that the money shall unless otherwise decided be applied in this way, you should give the Court a discretion, and say that the Court may direct that the money found, or any part of it, may be applied towards the payment of the fine. If a change like that were made then the circumstances suggested by the hon. Member opposite would be taken into account, and if the man required the money to meet some necessity it would not be taken.

I will gladly accept both suggestions. I will not commit myself to the exact words now, but I will substitute "may" for "shall," so that it will read, "may be applied." I will also bring in at their appropriate place the words suggested by my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. M'Curdy), which I quite agree ought to be inserted. It ought to be made quite clear that the man is of sufficient means to enable him to pay the sum or any part of the sum.

Division No. 185.]


[5.30 p.m.

Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)Crooks, WilliamHarcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)
Addison, Dr. ChristopherCrumley, PatrickHardie, J. Keir
Agnew, Sir George CroydonCullman, JohnHarmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)
Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)
Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert HenryDavies, Ellis William (Eifion)Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)
Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)Haslam, Lewis
Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry
Baldwin, StanleyDawes, James ArthurHayden, John Patrick
Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)Delany, WilliamHayward, Evan
Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeDenman, Hon. Richard DouglasHenderson, Arthur (Durham)
Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)Devlin, JosephHenderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)
Barnes, George N.Dewar, Sir J. A.Henry, Sir Charles
Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)Dickson, Rt. Hon C. ScottHewart, Gordon
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh HicksDillon, JohnHibbert, Sir Henry F.
Beale, Sir William PhipsonDonelan, Captain A.Higham, John Sharp
Beauchamp, Sir EdwardDoris, WilliamHinds, John
Beck, Arthur CecilDuffy, William J.Hoare, S. J. G.
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.
Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)Hodge, John
Bethell, Sir John HenryDuncannon, ViscountHogge, James Myles
Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineEdwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)Holmes, Daniel Turner
Black, Arthur W.Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)Holt, Richard Durning
Boland, John PlusEsmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)Hudson, Walter
Booth, Frederick HandelEsmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)Hughes, Spencer Leigh
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-Farrell, James PatrickIllingworth, Percy H.
Bowden, G. R. HarlandFenwick, Rt. Hon. CharlesJones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)
Bowerman, Charles W.Ffrench, PeterJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)Field, WilliamJones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)
Brady, Patrick JosephFiennes, Hon. Eustace EdwardJones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)
Brunner, John F. L.Fitzgibbon, JohnJones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Bryce, J. AnnanFlavin, Michael JosephJoyce, Michael
Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.Fletcher, John SamuelJoynson-Hicks, William
Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnForster, Henry WilliamKellaway, Frederick George
Burt, Rt. Hon. ThomasGeorge, Rt. Hon. D. LloydKelly, Edward
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)Gilmour, Captain JohnKennedy, Vincent Paul
Byles, Sir William PollardGinnell, LawrenceKenyon, Barnet
Carlile, Sir Edward HildredGladstone, W. G. C.Kilbride, Denis
Carr-Gomm, H. W.Glanville, Harold JamesKing, Joseph
Cave, GeorgeGoddard, Sir Daniel FordLambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)Goldstone, FrankLambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)
Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)Lardner, James C. R.
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)Greig, Colonel James WilliamLaw, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)
Chapple, Dr. William AllenGriffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis JonesLeach, Charles
Clancy, John JosephGulland, John WilliamLevy, Sir Maurice
Clough, WilliamGwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)
Clynes, John R.Hackett, JohnLow, Sir Frederick (Norwich)
Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)Haddock, George BahrLundon, Thomas
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)Lynch, Arthur Alfred
Compton-Rickett. Rt. Hon. Sir J.Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.Hancock, John GeorgeMacdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)

magistrates—that the magistrates should be satisfied that the man has sufficient means to pay the sum or part of the sum forthwith. I will ask to be allowed to make these alterations in another place. On that understanding I hope my hon. Friend will withdraw his Amendment.

My right hon. Friend has met us in a very substantial way by accepting these proposals together with the Amendment he himself has put on the Paper. I, therefore, ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'summarily' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 286: Noes, 103.

McGhee, RichardPearce, William (Limehouse)Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Maclean, DonaldPease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)Stanier, Bevilie
MacVeagh, JeremiahPhilipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
M'Callum, Sir John M.Phillips, John (Longford, S.)Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
M'Curdy, C. A.Pirie, Duncan V.Sutherland, John E.
Mckenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldPonsonby, Arthur A. W. H.Sutton, John E.
M'Micking, Major GilbertPrice, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Markham, Sir Arthur BasilPrimrose, Hon. Neil JamesTaylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Marshall, Arthur HaroldRadford, G. H.Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Mason, David M. (Coventry)Raffan, Peter WilsonTonnant, Rt. Hon. Harold John
Meagher, MichaelRea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)
Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)Thomas, James Henry
Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)Reddy, MichaelThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Millar, James DuncanRedmond, John E. (Waterford)Thorne, William (West Ham)
Molloy, MichaelRedmond, William (Clare, E.)Toulmin, Sir George
Molteno, Percy AlportRedmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)Verney, Sir Harry
Montagu, Hon. E. S.Rendall, AtheistanWardle, George J.
Mooney, John J.Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Morison, HectorRoberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Morton, Alpheus CleophasRoberts, George H. (Norwich)Watt, Henry A.
Munro, Rt. Hon. RobertRoberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)Webb, H.
Murphy, Martin J.Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)Weigall, Captain A. G.
Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Neville, Reginald, J. N.Robinson, SidneyWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)Whitehouse, John Howard
Nield, HerbertRoche, Augustine (Louth)Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Norton, Captain Cecil W.Rowlands, JamesWilkie, Alexander
Nugent, Sir Walter RichardRunciman, Rt. Hon. WalterWilliams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.Williamson, Sir Archibald
O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Rutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
O'Doherty, PhilipSamuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)Winfrey, Sir Richard
O'Donnell, ThomasSanders, Robert ArthurWing, Thomas Edward
O'Dowd, JohnScanlan, ThomasWood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
O'Malley, WilliamSeely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.Yeo, Alfred William
O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)Sheehy, DavidYoung, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
O'Shaughnessy, P. J.Sherwell, Arthur JamesYoung, William (Perthshire, East)
O'Sullivan, TimothyShortt, EdwardYounger, Sir George
Outhwaite, R. L.Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John AllsebrookYoxall, Sir James Henry
Palmer, Godfrey MarkSmith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)
Parker, James (Halifax)Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)


Parry, Thomas H.Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)Geoffrey Howard and Captain Guest.
Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)


Agg-Gardner, James TynteFisher, Rt. Hon. W. HayesPerkins, Walter F.
Amery, L. C. M. S.Flannery, Sir J. FortescuePeto, Basil Edward
Ashley, Wilfrid W.Ganzoni, Francis John C.Pollock, Ernest Murray
Baird, John LawrenceGastrell, Major W. HoughtonPratt, J. W.
Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Barnston, HarryGoldman, C. S.Pringle, William M. R.
Barrie, H. T.Gretton, JohnPryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)Quilter, Sir William Eley C.
Beckett, Hon. GervaseHall, Marshall (Liverpool, E. Toxteth)Randles, Sir John S.
Bird, AlfredHarris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)
Blair, ReginaldHarris, Leverton (Worcester, East)Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)Helmsley, ViscountSamuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)
Boyton, JamesHenderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)Sanderson, Lancelot
Bridgeman, William CliveHewins, William Albert SamuelSharman-Crawford, Colonel R. G.
Burn, Colonel C. R.Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'pool, Walton)
Butcher, John GeorgeHope, Harry (Bute)Stewart, Gershom
Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)Horner, Andrew LongStrauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)Hume-Williams, William EllisSykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)
Cassel, FelixHunt, RowlandTalbot, Lord Edmund
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.Jessel, Captain H. M.Thomas-Stanford, Charles
Chambers, J.Jowett, Frederick WilliamThomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Clay, Captain H. H. SpenderLane-Fox, G. R.Tryon, Captain George Clement
Clyde, James AvonLewisham, ViscountWatson, Hon. W.
Courthope, George LoydLocker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)Weston, Colonel J. W.
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)MacCaw, William J. MacGeaghWheler, Granville C. H.
Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)Mackinder, Halford J.White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)M'Calmont, Major Robert C. A.Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Currie, George W.M-Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)Wills, Sir Gilbert
Dairymple, ViscountMalcolm, IanWilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)
Denniss, E. R. B.Moore, WilliamWilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)
Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)Wood, John (Stalybridge)
Dixon, C. H.Mount, William ArthurYate, Colonel C. E.
Du Pre, W. BaringNewman, John R. P.
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.Newton, Harry Kottingham


Falle, Bertram GodfrayOrde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.Wedgwood and Mr. Hills.
Fell, Arthur

I beg to move to leave out the words "summarily convicted of any offence and sentenced," and to insert instead thereof the words "ordered by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction."

The effect of this Amendment would be to enable the Court to deal with the money referred to for making good arrears under maintenance and bastardy orders. These are generally bad cases, and if this extra jurisdiction is to be given to magistrates at all, it is only fair—in fact it is essential—that it should be applicable to cases of this kind.

This seems to me to be a perfectly clear case. If you are entitled, as the House has decided, to take money out of a man's pocket to pay a fine, a fortiori, if a man is had up for non-payment of arrears under a maintenance or bastardy order, and, having the money in his pocket, practically flaunts it in the face of the unfortunate woman who is the prosecutor and says, "I will go to prison rather than pay the money," I think even the hon. Member for New-castle-under-Lyme will admit that such a case would not come within his opposition to the earlier part of the Clause. I understand that the matter has been brought before the attention of the Home Office, and that they will probably accept the Amendment.

I am sorry I cannot accept the Amendment. There has been much opposition to the Clause, and I think the House would hesitate to extend it in this way. It would go a good deal further than the two classes of orders referred to. The words of the Amendment are, "ordered by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction." Simple debts are recoverable in Courts of Summary Jurisdiction. Arrears of rent and many other matters would come within this Amendment. I think that after a moment's consideration my hon. Friend will realise that the House could not accept such a wide extension of the Clause. I hope therefore that he will not press the Amendment.

Would the right hon. Gentleman accept an Amendment limited to maintenance and bastardy cases? The Amendment was not intended to cover arrears of rent, industrial orders, and that kind of thing. But these particular cases are perfectly relevant. If the man has been guilty of conduct of that kind, and is adjudged by the Court to pay; if he goes to the Court with the money in his pocket, and says, "I will not pay those arrears: I would sooner go to prison," I say that the money found on the man ought to taken and applied to those arrears.

There is no definition of conviction in this Clause. The first Clause talks of the conviction by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. The second Clause speaks of a conviction or order of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction. The first and second Clauses seem to apply to the same class of order. The third Clause, again, repeats the expression "order and Court of Summary Jurisdiction." The third Clause has a fresh terminology, the use of the term is again limited, and different words are used as to a person summarily convicted of any offence. The lack of definiteness and verbiage in the Clauses is a reason for not accepting the Amendment in its present form. Certainly, if there is any justification in the Amendment at all, it ought not to be applied to a case of the kind referred to. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that when he comes to deal with the matter later he should introduce an amending Clause defining what a conviction is.

I am obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for his suggestion. In regard to the second appeal that has been made to me about bastardy and maintenance orders, everyone that has heard the discussion that has gone on for the last forty minutes will have come to the conclusion that the House is rather chary in any case of giving the right to get hold of the money under the circumstances stated. I do not think the Government will take the responsibility of extending this limited and exceptional procedure in regard to the two classes of cases referred to.

May I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that there is a difference between ordinary cases, similar to drunkenness, and the cases that we want to bring in. There is the case of a man who has run away and not been heard of by his wife for months. At last a warrant is issued for his arrest, and he is brought back. The magistrates are not to have the same power to make him pay! They have to allow that man to go away, though, as the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite said, he may actually have the money in his pocket. I think benches all over the country will be very much surprised if they are not given this power. They have been expecting that they will be given it. The magistrates' Clerks' Society have specially urged this upon Members of the House as a very important part of jurisdiction which ought to be granted.

I appeal to the Home Secretary in support of the plea which has been so ably put forward on both sides of the House. I very sincerely hope that the Home Secretary will use the opportunity that he has for further Amendments in another place to extend this Clause in the direction of the two kinds of arrears asked for—that is, bastardy and maintenance orders.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "sentenced" ["any offence, and sentenced to pay"], to insert the words "or ordered by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction on a summons for the payment of arrears for maintenance or bastardy."

This is a verbal Amendment which, I think, will cover the points we have been discussing, and I should like to move it in order to test the feeling of the House. It will, I think, meet the views which have been put forward by hon. Genttlemen opposite. I quite admit that the proposed Amendment was too wide, but it does seem the general feeling of the House that in cases of arrears of maintenance or bastardy orders—I will not trouble the House by repeating what has been already said—where the man appears in Court with money in his pocket, where he gloats over the fact, and says, "I will not pay these arrears," power should be given to meet such a case. A friend of mine told me that only a little while ago at his Court they had to send a man to prison for a month because he gloried in the fact that he would not pay. There are cases of that kind: cases of men who refuse to pay under maintenance orders to their wives. Surely if these men have the money in their pocket when they appear in Court—at least after the decision of this House as to a criminal conviction—and refuse to pay rather than send them to prison—which can be no possible use to the unfortunate wife or the mother of the illegitimate child—we ought to take the money out of their pocket. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to accept this Amendment.

As far as I am concerned, I should personally be very glad to see these words inserted in the Bill. But I have introduced this Bill as a non-controversial measure. All I can say is that if the House will accept these words without controversy I shall be glad to accept them, but I am bound by my pledge, and do not desire to have a long-Debate upon words which may be found objectionable by the House.

Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, in Subsection (1), after the word "him" ["found on him when so searched"], to insert the words "on apprehension or."

Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, in Subsection (1), after the word "shall" ["to be paid shall, subject to any direction given by the Court"] to insert the words "unless that person proves that the money found on him is not his property."

Would it not be better that the words should read "unless it is proven"? The man may wish to prove that the money belongs to somebody else. Moreover, the fact may be proven by his wife, or by his employer, or by the person from whom the money was stolen. To insist that the proof must be given by the person seems to me greatly to restrict the operation of the amendment.

I agree with my hon. Friend. I do not think the words will stand in their present form. I propose to insert later and in an appropriate place the words: "Is possessed of sufficient means to enable him to pay the same, or any part of the same." Consequently, when I insert these words, the whole of the construction of this Clause will be changed, and it will not appear that the person is to prove the ownership of the money.

If these words are included now, why not include them correctly instead of incorrectly?

I should not like it to appear that I commit myself ultimately to retaining these words at all in the Clause. I shall be quite willing to drop this Amendment if the House accepts it so, on the assurance that subsequently it may be moved in the form suggested by my hon. Friend below the Gangway and the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite.

Before this Amendment is withdrawn, I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is necessary to restrict the time in which proof is to be given? Injustice may be done if this rule is applied on the spot in relation to the money.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to add the words:—

"Provided that nothing in this Section shall be construed as authorising a male person to search a female person."
I understand it is the practice in almost all the Courts that no female prisoner shall be searched by a male person. I am sure it should be universal, at any rate, now, and under this Section.

6.0 P.M.

I beg to second the Amendment; but I want to suggest to my hon. Friend that he ought to make the Amendment clearer. I cannot understand why the sex is put in this way at all, and I should be glad if the hon. Member will make it read, "provided that nothing in this Section shall be construed as authorising any person searching one of the opposite sex."

The Government cannot accept this Amendment. It is objectionable in substance and most objectionable in form.

Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and negatived.

Amendment made: In paragraph ( b), leave out the words, "on conviction" ["which may be payable on conviction under the table of fees"].—[ Mr. Rendall.]