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Orders Of The Day

Volume 65: debated on Monday 20 July 1914

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Government Of Ireland (Amendment) Bill Lords

Second Reading deferred till Monday next.

National Insurance Act, 1911 (Part Ii Amendment) Bill

Consideration, as amended (in the Standing Committee), deferred till To-morrow.

Criminal Justice Administration Bill

As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

New Clause—(Signature Of Summonses, Etc, By Justices Not To Be Required)

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any of the Summary Jurisdiction Acts or in the Indictable Offences Act, 1848, or any other Statute, requiring justices to sign informations, complaints, summonses, convictions, orders, and certificates, it shall be lawful for all or any of such processes or documents of a like character (except warrants of apprehension, warrants of distress, and warrants or orders of commitment) to be issued under the official seal or stamp of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

(2) The provisions of Section twenty-nine of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, as to rules to be made thereunder, shall extend to this Section and to the alteration and adaptation of forms for the purpose thereof.

Clause brought up, and read the first time.

I beg to move "That the Clause be read a second time."

It has been suggested to me, partly by my own experience and partly by representations made by those who have special connection with the administration of justice. The object is to make it unnecessary for summonses issued by direction of a justice to be signed by that justice. Many Members of this House will know that the necessity for signing summonses often leads to a considerable waste of time and some misapprehension. It may happen that a large number of summonses, say a hundred, may be issued for rates at one and the same time. They are issued in the ordinary course by the direction of the magistrate, and he has to sign every one. It means a great waste of time and trouble, and it would be just as well if the justice could sign a general authority for the whole of the summonses, and the clerk could then affix the seal of the Court to the different summonses. There is also this inconvenience: The recipient of a summons very often fancies that the magistrate who signs it is personally responsible, and he writes to the justice whereas he should write to the Court. This is a matter of ordinary machinery, and I hope this opportunity will be taken of adopting this Clause and thereby saving a good deal of time and temper without the least loss of efficiency.

This Clause was moved in Committee. It was there discussed, and it was eventually withdrawn. The objection then raised to it, which I venture to repeat now, is a very simple one. It is to the signature being affixed by a stamp. If such a stamp were used by the clerk it might be used by anyone, and any clerk employed by a clerk to the justices might affix the stamp. If this signature were of the nature of a mere ministerial act, I do not think it would be a very serious matter to allow the stamp to be affixed by the clerk, but it is very far from being so. The magistrate has to exercise discretion, and it is only proper that such discretion should be exercised by the person on whom the duty is imposed of issuing summonses, because unless a magistrate did exercise the discretion it might happen that a person might be continuously worried by the issue of summonses on most trivial matters. As a matter of fact, some people complain of the annoyance to which they are subjected by the issue of summonses, and this provision is some protection for the magistrate who has to sign them. If it were a mere ministerial function performed by affixing a stamp, the objection which now exists would be done away with. These reasons satisfied the Committee, and I trust they will also satisfy the House, that the existing law should be continued. However inconvenient it may be on certain occasions, it does not, on the whole, constitute a very serious difficulty.

4.0 P.M.

Clearly the right hon. Gentleman has not fully apprehended the effect of this Clause. The effect would be that the magistrate would still direct the issue of the summons as now, but the mere ministerial act of putting a signature and seal at the foot of it would be performed by somebody else. I do not propose for a moment that the duty of directing the issue of the summons should be performed by anyone but the magistrate. It is a question of signing or affixing the seal when once the issue has been directed. That, surely, is a mere ministerial act which might very well be performed by a clerk, and the right hon. Gentleman is not right in as suming that the seal might be misused or affixed by anyone in the office. I am not convinced in the least by what the Home Secretary has said.

The point as put by my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Cave) in his explanation seems to be a very simple one, and I do not understand what harm the right hon. Gentleman can do if he accepts the new Clause. It does not relieve the magistrate of the responsibility of issuing summonses, but merely relieves him from signing all the summonses. That is an exceedingly good thing to do, and I cannot see any harm in it. Does the right hon. Gentleman suppose that the clerk to the magistrates will put the seal upon the summonses without having previously obtained the sanction of the magistrate? Unless the right hon. Gentleman fears that that may be the case, I see no reason why the new Clause should not be accepted. No doubt, in a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, the actual signing of the summonses does not generally take up very much time, but at times, especially in boroughs, there is a good deal for the magistrates to do in signing large batches of summonses and a variety of documents. Speaking as a magistrate, I have often seen things signed without anybody knowing what they are signing, but I always ask myself what I am doing before I sign anything. Sometimes documents are put before us by the clerk and signed without proper inquiry as to what is taking place. I do not say the seal should be affixed without the authority of the magistrates, but that authority can be obtained without putting the magistrates to the inconvenience of signing a large number of documents. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman cannot reply again, but the right hon. Gentleman beside him (Mr. Ellis Griffith) is also learned in the law and quite qualified to speak on this subject, and perhaps he can tell us why such a very simple Clause as this is rejected.

Question, "That the Clause be read a second time," put, and negatived.

The next proposed Clause (Abolition of sentence of death in case of persons under the age of eighteen years) is beyond the scope of the Bill. That objection also applies to the next one (Amendment of 35 and 36 Vict., c. 65, s. 4, with respect to weekly payments), to the next (Service of process on soldiers of the Regular forces), and to the next (Power to clear Court and proceedings in camera).

On a point of Order. Which of the Amendments on page 38 are in Order?

I have not come to them yet. This matter has come up rather suddenly, and I have not had time to look into all of them. I do not think any of the new Clauses relating to amendments of the bastardy laws would be in order on this Bill, as the bastardy law is a separate law from this.

May I call your attention to the fact that various Amendments which would have the effect of altering the bastardy law very materially were accepted in Committee? Some were discussed and some even put into the Bill.

Then we may have to strike them out. The Clauses (Abolition of privilege of peerage) and (Meaning of "man" in certain enactments) are also beyond the scope of the Bill. Mr. Wedgwood.

Hon. Members are not entitled to move Clauses standing in the name of another hon. Member.

Clause 1—(Obligation To Allow Time For Payment Of Fines)

(1) A warrant committing a person to prison in respect of non-payment of a sum adjudged to be paid by a conviction of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction shall not be issued forthwith unless the Court which passed the sentence is satisfied that he is possessed of sufficient means to enable him to pay the sum forthwith, or unless, upon being asked by the Court whether he desires that time should be allowed for payment, he does not express any such desire, or fails to satisfy the Court that he has a fixed abode within its jurisdiction, or unless the Court for any other special reason expressly directs that no time shall be allowed.

(2) Where any such person desires to be allowed time for payment the Court in deciding what time shall be allowed shall consider any representation made by him, but the time allowed shall not be less than six clear days:

Provided that if before the expiration o£ the time allowed the person convicted surrenders himself to any Court of Summary Jurisdiction having jurisdiction to issue a warrant of commitment in respect of the non-payment of such sum as aforesaid, and states that he prefers immediate commital to awaiting the expiration of the time allowed, that Court may forthwith issue a warrant committing him to prison.

(3) Where a person so allowed time for payment as aforesaid appears to the Court to be not less than sixteen nor more than twenty-one years of age, the Court may, if it thinks fit, and subject to any rules made under this Act, order that he be placed under the supervision of such person as may be appointed by the Court until the sum adjudged to be paid is paid, and in such case before issuing a warrant committing the offender to prison in respect of non-payment of the sum a Court of Summary Jurisdiction shall consider any report as to the conduct and means of the offender, which may be made by the person under whose supervision the offender has been placed.

(4) In all cases where time is not allowed for payment, the reasons of the Court for the immediate committal shall be stated in the warrant of commitment.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "possessed of sufficient means to enable him," and to insert instead thereof the word "able."

This is merely a matter of drafting, and I think the word I suggest is better than the words which emanated from the Home Office. There are many difficulties a man might experience which might be held to disqualify him from receiving the benefit of this Clause. It might very well happen that, although he had not the means himself to pay, there would be other persons who have means and who would be willing to assist him. There are also other circumstances which would naturally suggest themselves at once to the minds of hon. Members to meet which the words in the Bill might be made a little more elastic.

I am not sure that my hon. Friend's words would have the precise effect which he intends. If the words were "able to pay the sum forthwith," it would presumably be construed as meaning that the man had the money in his pocket. That would not cover all the cases in which he would be able to pay. If he had "sufficient means to enable him to pay," distress could be levied on his goods. If you insert the Amendment you would exclude from the operation of the Clause those cases in which the person did not happen to have the money in his pocket to pay. As my hon. Friend's Amendment is of a purely drafting character, and would not have the effect he desires, he would be well advised to leave the Bill as it stands.

May I exercise my right to reply? There is obvious substance in the contention which I pat forward, but I will withdraw if the Home Secretary will promise to consider these words with a view to moving an Amendment in another place.

Certainly, I will do that if I find further arguments to support my hon. Friend's contention.

I do not think the Amendment would be a wise one to make. I hope the Home Secretary will consider both sides of the question.

I am rather surprised at the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. King) availing himself of another place. I thought he did not like that place. On this occasion I should be inclined to vote with the hon. Gentleman, because I think the effect of the words will be to strengthen the Clause and make it more difficult for a prisoner who has money to escape payment.

I do not think the Clause will bear the interpretation put upon it. It only makes the practice in the Petty Sessional Courts analogous to the proceedings in a superior Court—for instance, the County Court. As drawn, it requires the Court to satisfy that a person is possessed of sufficient means to pay before it makes an order, which is precisely the line the Legislature took up in regard to the Debtors Act, and made the question of means one of proof before the Court can make the order. Here the person asking for the order will have to satisfy the Court that the prisoner is possessed of means, and not merely that he is able to pay. It is desirable that the practice should be like that of the County Court. This is merely the case of a man collecting a civil debt, which is a fine, and it ought to be met, and the Clause as it stands ought to go.

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

On a point of Order. Is your ruling, Sir, with regard to the bastardy laws final, because I would draw your attention to Clause 32?

I beg to move, in Subsection 1, to leave out the words "its jurisdiction" ["a fixed abode within its jurisdiction"], and to insert instead thereof the words "the county or county borough within which he is tried."

It is obvious that if a man is summoned in one Petty Sessional district but lives perhaps in the next, he ought to be allowed the advantage of this Clause. There is a good deal of substance in this Amendment, and I hope the Home Secretary will accept it.

I am not sure that my hon. Friend is not under a misapprehension as to the necessary functions of a county borough. I understand him to mean such county boroughs as have a separate commission of the peace. But by no means all the county boroughs have a separate commission of the peace, consequently his words would not have the effect he desires. The borough police would be able to obtain information as to the abode of the person fined within the borough, but they would have no means of ascertaining whether he has a fixed abode outside the borough. That is the objection in principle to accepting the Amendment. As a matter of fact, the Amendment would not read in the Clause, for the simple reason that a great many county boroughs have no separate commission of the peace.

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

I beg to move, in Subsection (2), to leave out the words "but the time allowed shall not be less than six clear days."

The Bill provides that when time is allowed for payment not less than six days shall be allowed. I see that the Home Secretary has a proposal on the Paper to make some concession altering the six days to seven. My own view is that it is not desirable to draw a hard and fast line of this kind at all. When time is given—and, of course, it is given every day—the bench has some regard to the question when the person convicted is likely to have the money to pay. The magistrates know quite enough about those who come to the Court, and are told quite enough to be pretty confident as to when money will come in sufficiently to enable the defendant to pay. It often happens that a conviction takes place on Wednesday, and the bench knows quite well that by Friday or Saturday the man or woman charged will be receiving money quite sufficient to pay the fine. Under this provision the bench must give time until the following Wednesday or Thursday, and when that day comes along the money will have been spent absolutely and the funds available to pay will have gone. In most cases the best thing to do is not to have a hard and fast minimum line at all, but to leave it to the Court to exercise its own knowledge and discretion to give, if they think fit, three or four days, and not necessarily six or seven. I speak from great experience of these cases, and I think that the better thing is to leave out the words altogether and not insist on a minimum.

I beg to second the Amendment. My experience is the same as that of my hon. and learned Friend. As far as I know, magistrates nearly always give time unless they happen to know that the person in question has that money and can produce it that afternoon or evening or in a day or two. As far as I know, the tendency on the part of magistrates is always to be extremely lenient over this question of time. There are times when people who are given to intemperance are brought before the bench. It may be within the knowledge of the magistrates that these people will be receiving the following morning a certain sum of money. If they have six days before they have to pay, the result will be that they will spend the money in drink, repeat the offence, and be brought before the magistrate again. These hard and fast rules are a great mistake. If confidence cannot be reposed in the magistrates they should not have been appointed, but having been appointed a certain amount of latitude and discretion must be left to them.

This is a proposal to abolish the minimum now laid down by the Bill. Magistrates have now a discretion, and according to the hon. Baronet, the bench to which he belongs exercises that discretion wisely. They allow seven or fourteen days always.

I think lenient is wise in this connection. At any rate, seven or fourteen days allows the man to spend the money in drink, according to the hon. Baronet's argument in this Amendment. I submit that to abolish the minimum altogether will be in effect to abolish Sub-section (1)—that is to say, we want to bring all benches up to the standard of the bench to which the hon. Baronet belongs. All justices are not equally wise or equally lenient, but if this Clause stands as it now is in the Bill, it would compel magistrates to give six days, or under my right hon. Friend's Amendment seven, in which to pay the fine. That is a reasonable proposal and I hope the House will adopt it.

I do not often differ from my hon. Friend (Sir F. Banbury), but I am not a magistrate, and I look perhaps at this matter rather from the point of view of what I see in the Courts below the magistrate than from the magisterial seat. I should like to give the House one or two figures in regard to the imprisonment of people for non-payment of small fines. The object of this Clause, I understand, is to ensure that there shall be a minimum time given before a person should be committed to prison for non-payment of fines. This is to carry out a very distinct pledge given by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor, the present First Lord of the Admiralty, who, on 20th July, 1910, promised that he would bring in this Bill, the main principle of which should be to secure for everyone who commits a minor offence a short time to pay any fine which may be inflicted upon him. I have some very remarkable figures for the ten years ending 1910. In England and Wales alone 958,000 people were comitted to prison for non-payment of fines. That averages 9,000 people a year, and since 1910 the figures are approximately the same. In 1912, 82,000 out of a total of 160,000 prisoners were people who were convicted of such very small offences that a fine was considered an adequate remedy. In a very large proportion of these cases their friends came after they had been committed to prison and paid the fines, or a portion of them, and got them out of prison.

Sometimes this happens. A prisoner asks for time and the bench refuses, and the prisoner puts his hand in his pockets, holds out two or three pounds and pays the fine.

I know that is sometimes the case. But if the law gives time, when the expiration of the time comes I think the hon. Baronet will find that the people who have the money will pay it rather than go to prison. The object, surely, of our criminal administration is not to get people into prison, but to keep people out of prison. So far as the law can be made to be obeyed, if it can be done by a system of small fines and time given to enable men to pay, it is infinitely better than committing to prison. In London alone, in the year 1911, 10,380 youths under twenty-one years of age were sent to prison. Of these 3,000 were imprisoned for breaches of by-laws and other non-criminal offences—playing football in the street, playing pitch-and-toss, bathing in a canal, or riding a bicycle without a lamp. They are not crimes, and I would certainly appeal to my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Cave), who has a great part in the administration of the criminal law as a Recorder, whether more criminals are not made by the first sentence than by other means. These young fellows, who are only guilty of high spirits in many cases, are condemned to a fine with immediate imprisonment in default of payment. They go to prison for the first time in their life, and they find that imprisonment is not as bad as they thought. Imprisonment is a very grave deterrent before you have been there.

I trust my hon. Friend never will, but if he goes there once, I should be prepared to prophesy that he might go there two or three times again. He would find, as everyone finds, that it is the first imprisonment that counts. After that the hon. Baronet would get amongst bad companions, instead of those with whom he is in daily contact here, as these young fellows do, and they find more and more ways of crime, and I suggest that the House should support the Bill in its original form, and do all they possibly can to keep our young men out of prison rather than let them get in.

I hope the House will not accept the Amendment. The early Clauses of the Bill, up to Clause 6, deal with the subject of fines, and the object which this part of the Bill has in view is, in my opinion, a very important one. It is to prevent the unnecessary imprisonment of men who are living on weekly wages. If it is made obligatory on any bench whatever, however wise and lenient, that there should be not less than seven days for payment of a fine, it is quite certain that a very large number out of the 80,000 who are annually committed to prison every year will not go to prison, and a good object will have been served by the Clause. I am quite aware that magistrates generally are to be trusted and use their discretion wisely, but this Clause does not impose any stigma upon those magistrates who exercise their functions wisely, and it prevents a possible misfortune, and it is a great misfortune that a man should be sent to prison unnecessarily. I hope the House will reject the Amendment.

I differ entirely from the last two speakers, and I think I am entitled to claim some knowledge of the subject. Nowadays magistates, whether in Petty Sessions or in Quarter Sessions, never send a man to prison for a first offence, even though it be a relatively serious offence, if they can possibly see their way to prevent that happening, and in Petty Sessions I am certain that in all matters with regard to fines every possible latitude is allowed for payment, if the magistrate is able to be assured that the money will be forthcoming, and that his leniency will not be abused for the purpose of escaping punishment. I should advise my hon. Friend (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) not to pay too much attention to statistics the like of which he has quoted, because they are not always reliable. If and so far as he finds upon analysis of these statistics that there have been cases of people, notably boys, being sent to prison for the first time for a first offence, I am afraid the offenders are the stipendiary magistrates, who do not and cannot, because of the work that involves upon them, pay the same detailed attention to the cases that come before them. One has only to go to a Metropolitan, Stipendiary Court to see the speed with which the cases are dealt with. But in very few cases are they sent for non-payment of fines. I have visited for some years His Majesty's Prison at Wormwood Scrubs, and I always make a point of seeing definite classes of prisoners, and I find that an enormous number of them are there for non-payment of fines, sent by stipendiaries. I think with my hon. and learned Friend that if their discretion is left unfettered magistrates are better able to judge of the truth of the story that is told as a reason for time being given. There is a certain amount of pressure, and if that pressure can be given effect to by a short order at the time when the money is said to be coming in there are far more chances of that money coming in than if they are given a long period, by which time the defendant may have made arrangements to get out of the jurisdiction. I am quite sure that if the benches who administer the law with regard to these matters, apparently to the satisfaction of the Home Office, were left unfettered rather than have a week put upon them, it would certainly have the effect of getting the law respected and getting the fines enforced.

I hope this Amendment will be accepted, for I have in mind the case of a man who may have committed an offence on Thursday and is tried on Friday. If the magistrate was allowed jurisdiction as to the payment of the fine, that man would almost certainly pay, but if the payment is deferred over the week he may get drunk again, with the result that the fine will not be paid. I am sure that the magistrates everywhere in Courts of Summary Jurisdiction will desire to fully carry out the spirit of the Act.

This is one of the Clauses which applies to Ireland, and I hope the Government will retain the Clause as it stands. In Ireland in eases where the fines are under 40s., there is no appeal whatever. It would be most undesirable that the Clause should be changed in any way. There is no chance for an offender whose fine is under 40s. going to Quarter Sessions to get his trial reviewed, and, therefore, it is extremely desirable that a longer period should be given. The draftsman regards one section of a Bill at a time, overlooking the fact that the laws are different in different countries. Therefore, unless we get an appeal, I should be in favour of the Government sticking to their own words.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment made: Leave out the word "six" ["shall not be less than six clear days"], and insert instead thereof the word "seven."

I am very glad that this first Amendment brought forward by the Home Secretary is on the lines of enlarging and making more generous the scope of the Bill. That Amendment will rule out one of which I had given notice.

I beg to move, to leave out the words "not to include the day of imposition nor the day of payment of fine." I hope the Home Secretary will not resist this Amendment. It merely makes the word "clear" a little more definite, and it goes further in the direction of giving greater consideration to the prisoner.

I hope my hon. Friend will not press this Amendment. The words "seven clear days" have a definite meaning which is thoroughly understood in the Courts of law. My hon. Friend proposes to introduce some other meaning.

May I ask the Home Secretary whether the word "clear" does or does not include the days of imposition and payment.

In view of the Home Secretary's explanation, I desire to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move, in Subsection (2), after the word "may" ["that Court may forthwith issue"], to insert the words "if it thinks fit."

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), after the word "person" ["supervision of such person"], to insert the words "not a police constable." In the case of an offender between sixteen and twenty-one years of age the Court might place him under the supervision of a police constable. I move the insertion of these words in order to secure that the person shall not be a police constable. We have heard from the hon. Member for Brentford (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) that in many cases the offenders are merely youths of high spirits who are offending against by-laws. One desires to keep them out of the criminal vortex. If the person to whom they are committed is a police constable, that may more seriously interfere with their career than if they were committed to a probation officer, or some friendly person. If an offender is committed to the supervision of a police officer he is under police supervision. I believe there might be an officer for these cases whose duties would be analogous to those which a probation officer performs in other cases.

I am sure we all sympathise with the object which the hon. Gentlemen has in view. Obviously the proper and most suitable person would be a probation officer or the Court missionary. Still, he is not available in all cases, and there might be cases where a police officer would be not only the best but the only person capable of doing the work. In a country district there might not be a probation officer, and if we accepted these words the provision would become a dead-letter. Therefore I ask my hon. Friend not to press the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (3), to insert,

"(4) Without prejudice and in addition to the foregoing provisions of this section, where any person desires time for payment of any sum adjudged to be paid by a conviction of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction the Court shall take any representation made by him into consideration."
These words would make it imperative on the magistrate to hear what each prisoner had to say on being convicted. I think that is only fair.

I think my hon. Friend will appreciate that by imposing a duty of this kind it would be implied that the magistrates had failed in the exercise of their duty. In the whole of this Bill, where we have made directions to the magistrates to exercise their discretion in a certain way, we have only put the duty upon them when we have found that they did not act in that way. I could not say that we would be justified by experience in saying that magistrates have not taken into consideration representations made by prisoners. It may have happened in individual cases that they have not done so, but generally experience is not of that kind. Therefore, although there is no harm in the Amendment, and although it does not alter, add to, or vary the law, still I think it would be undesirable to put in print in an Act of Parliament such an obvious direction to the magistrate.

I do not think that the objection to my Amendment is at all valid, but as I want to get on with this Bill I ask leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3—(Reduction Of Imprisonment On Payment Of Instalments Of Fine)

(1) Where an offender is liable to be imprisoned in respect of the non-payment of any sum of money adjudged to be paid by a conviction or order of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, and the offender before the issue of a warrant of commitment pays, to any person authorised to receive the same, any sum in part payment of the sum adjudged to be paid, the period for which he is liable to be imprisoned shall thereupon be reduced by a number of days bearing, as nearly as possible, the same proportion to the total number of days for which the offender is sentenced to be imprisoned as the sum paid bears to the sum adjudged to be paid.

(2) Where a person is sentenced to imprisonment or committed to prison in respect of the non-payment of any sum of money adjudged to be paid by a conviction or order of a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, there shall be stated in the conviction order or warrant of commitment the amount, omitting fractions of a penny, the payment of which represents an abatement of one day's imprisonment, and no part payment shall be accepted under this Section, or under Section nine of the Prison Act, 1898, unless the amount of the part payment is the amount so stated in the conviction or order, or, as the case may be, in the warrant of commitment, or some multiple thereof.

I beg to move to leave out the words from the word "imprisoned" ["to be imprisoned shall thereupon"] in Sub-section (1) to the end of the Clause, and to insert instead thereof the words "may thereupon be reduced by the Court by such period as the Court may think fit."

The Clause provides that, when the magistrates impose a fine with the option of imprisonment and part of the fine is paid, you are to reduce the amount of imprisonment by a certain number of days or hours, and also that on every conviction you are to do a sum in proportion. You are to put on the back of the conviction, or somewhere upon it, the information that for every shilling the prisoner pays he is to get off so many hours or minutes in prison. Whatever the fine is, you have to work that out on the back of the conviction. The meaning of a sentence is this: "We think your offence deserves a fine of, say, 10s. If you do not pay that fine, we think you ought to go to prison for a week, or whatever the time may be." It does not mean that if he pays 5s. he will get off for four days. There is one fine which he has to pay, and if it is not paid he mast go to prison. He must pay the whole fine or go to prison for the whole time. What is proposed here would impose a great deal of work on clerks and others if fines are to be cut up in this way, and if the document is to show how much imprisonment the man is to get off in respect of the payments made. I am sure if the Clause passes in this form, the amount paid in fines will be enormously reduced. You are making it difficult to administer justice, and the alternative I suggest is that instead of this elaborate system you should enable the bench to do what, of course, they are fairly entitled to do, namely, to reduce the period as they think fit. I think that would be much simpler, and it would save a great deal of trouble.

I beg to second the Amendment.

I really do not know what would happen if the magistrates, in addition to having clear brains to hear the evidence, are also to be expert mathematicians. My opinion is that the hon. Member for Stirling, who on the Finance Bill gave us an Amendment which was a problem in mathematics, would have to be appointed to every Court to work out what these fines would come to. My hon. and learned Friend's Amendment is much simpler, and I hope the Home Secretary will accept it.

The hon. and learned Member who moved the Amendment has, I think, omitted from notice the fact that this Clause is already the law after commitment. All we propose to do is that where a defendant is liable to be imprisoned in respect of the non-payment of a fine, and that he pays a certain amount before his imprisonment, the period of imprisonment shall be reduced in proportion to the amount which he has paid. Under the existing law, if, after the commitment warrant is issued, and the prisoner is taken to prison, a payment is made, say, of half a fine, he will then get a reduction of his imprisonment in proportion to that amount. What we ask is that the same law shall be applied before he goes to prison as exists now after he goes to prison. It is most desirable that a prisoner should know how much his sentence shall be reduced by paying a certain amount. A prisoner's friends may be able to find something for him. It is a small change in the law, and is most desirable.

I do not see how the Amendment moved by the hon. and learned Member for Kingston could work. If a man is sentenced to seven days' imprisonment in default of paying a fine, and, after serving portion of it, pays part of the fine, the Court is to have power to reduce the period of imprisonment. But the Court may not be sitting at the time. Under Clause 3, Sub-section (1), the reduction is automatic, and requires no sitting of the Court, which in many cases sits only once a week, so that in its present form the Amendment would not work.

The answer to the hon. and learned Member for Oldham is that Courts are constantly summoned at short notice to deal with matters requiring attention.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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

(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.]

AYES.

[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)

TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.

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

NOES.

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

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.

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.]

Clause 6—(Uniform Scale Of Court Fees As Respects All Courts Of Summary Jurisdiction)

(1) The table of Court fees set out in the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect in all Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, and shall be substituted for any table of fees in force at the commencement of this Act in any Court of Summary Jurisdiction, and references in any enactment to any table of fees for which the said table is so substituted shall be construed as references to the said table.

(2) Notwithstanding any provisions in any other general or local Act enabling fees to be charged by clerks to justices the fees set out in that Schedule, and the fees authorised to be charged by the Licensing (Consolidation) Act, 1910, and no other fees, may be charged by clerks to justices:

Provided that nothing in this Section shall affect the fees chargeable in Metropolitan Police Courts or the Police Courts of the City of London, or in respect of assessment appeals under the Valuation (Metropolis) Act, 1869, or in respect of formal investigations of shipping casualties.

(3) The Secretary of State may, in the event of new or additional duties being imposed on Courts of Summary Jurisdiction or clerks to justices, by order make such variations in the said table of fees as may seem to him to be proper, and upon such order coming into operation the table shall have effect subject to the variations made by the order:

Provided that before any such order is made a draft of the proposed order shall be laid before each House of Parliament for a period of not less than thirty days during which the House is sitting, and if either of those Houses before the expiration of those thirty days presents an Address to His Majesty against the draft Order or any part thereof no further proceedings shall be taken thereon, without prejudice to the making of a new draft Order.

Amendments made: In Sub-section (1) after the word "in" ["the Table of Court Fees set out in the First Schedule"], insert the words "Part I. of."

In Sub-section (2) after the word "in" ["fees set out in that Schedule"], insert the words "Part I. of."

Leave out the words "Schedule, and the fees authorised to be charged by the Licensing (Consolidating) Act, 1910, and no other fees."

Leave out he words "assessment appeals under the Valuation (Metropolis) Act, 1869, or in respect of formal investigation of shipping casualties."—[ Mr. McKenna.]

Probation.

Clause 7—(Power To Recognise And Subsidise Societies For Care Of Youthful Offenders On Probation, Etc)

(1) If a society is formed having as its object or amongst its objects the care and control of persons under the age of twenty-one whilst on probation under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907, or of persons whilst placed out on licence from a reformatory or industrial school or Borstal institution, or under supervision after the determination of the period of their detention in such a school or institution, or under supervision in pursuance of this Act, the society may apply to the Secretary of State for recognition, and the Secretary of State, if he approves of the constitution of the society and is satisfied as to the means adopted by the society for securing such objects as aforesaid, may grant his recognition to the society.

(2) Where a probation order is made by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction in respect of a person who appears to the Court to be under the age of twenty-one, the Court may appoint any officer provided by a recognised society to act as probation officer in the case.

(3) Where a probation officer provided by a recognised society has been appointed to act in any case and it is subsequently found by the society expedient that some other officer provided by the society should be substituted for the officer originally appointed, the society may, subject to the approval of the Court, appoint such other officer to act, and thereupon the probation order shall have effect as if such substituted officer had originally been appointed to act as probation officer.

(4) There may be paid to a recognised society out of moneys provided by Parliament towards the expenses incurred by the society such sums on such conditions as the Secretary of State, with the approval of the Treasury may recommend.

I beg to move to leave out this Clause.

Under 7 of Edward VII. probation officers were for the first time appointed by the Court direct to look after persons allowed out on probation. I do not think I need trouble the House with the details of their work. They were, in fact, to take up the work of the Court Missionaries under a previous Act of 1007. I want to speak on behalf of the Church of England Temperance Society whose Police Court missionary work is well known to every Member of this House. Prior to 1907 there were no probation officers at all, but in every Police Court the Police Court missionary appointed by the Church of England Temperance Society did the work unofficially which the probation officers now do officially. He was the one man in Court unconnected with the administration of justice to whom the prisoner could pour out his grievances and explain his own point of view. The magistrate in nearly all cases, or in many cases, used the missionary in order to do the multifarious kind of work which the Court and the police could not do. In cases of separation of husband and wife sometimes arrangements were made by him. Tools were got out of pawn, money was collected in order to pay fines, children were got into homes, and other kinds of work which everyone knows could not be done by the police was done by the missionary of the Church of England Temperance Society. Under the Probation Act of 1907 I had the honour of being on the committee of the Church of England Temperance Society, and as chairman of the committee for two dioceses I have personally come into very close contact with those missionaries and the work they do, and it is for the maintenance of their position that I am now appealing to the Home Secretary.

Under the Act of 1907, when it came to the question of who should be appointed as probation officers, the magistrates, who knew the missionary and the work he did, in nearly all cases said we will appoint the agents of the Mission of the Church of England Temperance Society as probation officers under the Court. There are to-day 153 missionaries of the Church of England Temperance Society who were probation officers in 1907–133 men and twenty women. And there are 153 men in England and Wales, and they visit regularly 415 different Police Courts. I think I am right in saying in the county of Kent, which probably I know better than the other counties, every single Police Court in the whole of that county borough and county is visited regularly by one of those attached to the Church of England Temperance Society. I will not give more statistics than I can, but I want to tell the number of cases placed in the hands of these probation officers during last year. I have got the total number. In my own diocese of Canterbury and Rochester 516 cases have been definitely handed over to the missionaries by the magistrates. In London 1,294 cases have been so handed over, in Manchester 266, and in St. Alban's 331. I have got altogether the return from sixteen different dioceses, and I find that 3,830 cases in these dioceses were last year handed over by the magistrates to these missionaries in order that they might minister to them in a way that the police and the magistrates could not possibly do. I do not know whether it is necessary to read to the House the encomiums passed on the work of the Police Court missionary time and again by magistrates both in London and the country. I should like to refer to two. Everyone who has taken up the report of the Church of England Temperance Society in various dioceses, which is published year by year, will see reported remarks of the local magistrates saying that they could not get on with their work without the aid of the Police Court missionaries. [HON. MEMBERS: "Agreed!"] Then I will only read two cases, quite recent ones. One is from Lancashire by Mr. Philip Birley, chairman of the Office Committee of the Manchester City Justices. He says:—
"In my position on the Office Committee of the Manchester City Justices, I have come into close contact with the work of the C.E.T.S. Police Court Mission. That is particularly so in connection with their probation officer, and it has been my duty to examine his work closely for the last eighteen months, I wish to say that I am certain that great good is done in the majority of the probationers by the work of the officers, particularly in his success in finding employment for those under his charge. This has been largely helped by the fact that the officer is also a servant of the society, and he has thus many ways of helping his cases during the period of probation. It will, I am sure, be a great gain to the probation work if this society is one of those approved by the new Act."
The reason I am dealing with this point is that there is grave doubt as to the position which the Home Secretary contemplates under Clause 7 of this Bill, and I am bound to confess that the Church of England Society do not think it satisfactory. I desire to quote one other reference from Sir John Dickinson, who is the chief magistrate in London. In a speech a short time ago, at the Southwark Chapter House, he declared that
"Police Court missionaries, male and female, were of the greatest possible assistance to the magistrates, and in no sense was this more true than in regard to the Probation of Offenders Act. In this matter, the Police Court missionaries has been of the utmost assistance to the magistrates; indeed, but for their co-operation and valuable reports in regard to offenders on probation it would have been an impossibility for the Act to have been so successfully administered."
What is the position? I have told shortly the House what has been done in reference to this Court work. Under the provisions of this Bill the Home Secretary is going to have power to take away that work which the probationary officers of the Church of England Temperance Society are doing. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. I do not want to take up the time of the House, and if the right hon. Gentleman will get up and say I am wrong I will not continue.

As the hon. Gentleman challenges me, I may say to him that I propose to accept his first two Amendments.

And as the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept the first two Amendments on the Paper, if the House will allow me I will withdraw the Motion to omit the Clause.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), after the word "formed" ["if a society is formed having as its object"], to insert the words "or as already in existence."

The difficulty which the Church of England Society found was that if the Home Secretary was going to form a new-society that would take over the formation of probation officers and that all the work would be given to the new society. In justice to myself I should tell the House that we had a letter from one of the Home Secretary's officials, which we considered of a dangerous character in regard to the work that the society has been doing so-long. However, if the Home Secretary will say to the House that the words "or is already in existence" will be included, and the very great work which the Church of England Temperance Society are doing so long will be preserved, we will be satisfied.

I think it is very unfair to the Committee that the Church of England Temperance Society did not bring this matter forward during the Committee stage. Surely that was the time to have Brought it forward, and not at this period of the Session when we want to get this Bill through. I sat through all the sittings of the Committee, which were very prolonged, and we had long discussions, and I think it is rather unfair to come down to the House with a point of this sort, which the society knew all about long ago. I hope hon. Members will not find it necessary to take up a lot of time on points of this kind.

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

Further Amendment made: After the word "Act" ["In pursuance of this Act"], insert the words "or some one or more of such objects."—[ Mr. Joynson-Hicks.]

I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the word "officer" ["any officer provided by a recognised society"], and to insert instead thereof the word "person." I hope the Home Secretary will not insist upon the retention of the word "officer." There is a good deal of voluntary work done in these cases, and if the powers of the magistrates are limited to officers of a recognised society, I think the usefulness of this provision will be very much restricted. Frequently the officers of these societies are fully occupied and have not sufficient leisure to undertake the duties of a probation officer. Again, their work may not be quite of that kindly nature which a voluntary worker might give to it. I hope the Home Secretary will allow an opening for the voluntary worker in this connection.

I am quite in sympathy with the object of my hon. Friend, but I am not so sure that the word which he has proposed to substitute will have the effect he desires.

The Clause reads at present, "the Court may appoint any officer provided by a recognised society," so that it must be an officer of some recognised society.

That does not in any way interfere with the discretion of the Court to appoint a probation officer, and it does not interfere with the powers of the magistrate. Our intention is, by giving the society financial assistance, to enable it to provide persons who might be appointed as probation officers in every town. It would not be of any use, however willing the magistrates might be to appoint them, if they were not on the list, and we wish to have them available in order that societies supplying officers of that kind may receive a State subsidy. The Court may appoint anybody, and the Clause does not withdraw any existing power which the Court has got.

Do I understand that a person who is not really an employed officer of a society, but who is nominated by a society, may be appointed by the Court?

Yes, or anybody else. The Court has to be satisfied as to the status and character of the probation officer. A society can recommend suitable persons, and the discretion of the magistrates is left unfettered.

I have listened to the special pleading rather carefully, and I feel certain that if this Amendment were adopted there would be a little more freedom on the part of the Court. It is no answer to the argument in favour of freedom of choice to say that they have fairly good freedom of choice in electing probation officers. A suitable person might turn up in the Court eminently suitable for appointment, but unless they were on the staff, and unless they had previously been put on the list and selected, they could not be appointed in a particular case. I think this Amendment can do no harm, and the magistrate would have an additional choice.

I think there is a risk of the word "officer" being read in too narrow a sense. I am rather afraid that some magistrate would think he only had the power to appoint a person who is an officer. The changing of the word "officer" to "person" may do good and cannot do harm, because the discretion of the Court remains, and we can assume that the Court will not appoint an improper person. This Amendment would give a little more flexibility to the Clause, and I hope the Home Secretary will accept it.

The word "officer" in this Clause is a term that may be construed as it is at present construed in the case of the Probationer Offenders Act. In that case it is strictly construed as a person who is on a list for a given Petty Sessional Division. The flexibility could be met and the area of selection widened if, instead of using the word "officer," the Clause read, "The Court may appoint any person provided by a recognised society to act as probationer officer in the case." I know that would not meet all the views which have been expressed, but it would make certain that the person provided would be a person of integrity and known to some recognised society. The word "officer," as it now stands, is too strict and should not remain.

I have no particular objection to this word, and I will accept the substitution of the word "person" for "officer" now, on the undertaking that I must be given an opportunity for reconsideration of this point, in case I find that it restricts the complete freedom of choice of the magistrate.

Question, "That the word 'person' be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (2), to insert the words "Provided that in the case of a probation order made in respect of a female the probation officer so appointed must also be a female."

This Amendment would have a much wider effect than is generally imagined, and I think it would be most undesirable to put a provision of this sort in the Bill.

I hope my hon. Friend will not press this Amendment, because it is very often very difficult to get a female probation officer.

I think this Amendment contains a principle which ought to be extended. There are reasons why in certain cases the probation officer should be a female. This is a question of a far reaching character, and I believe this Amendment is in line with certain other reforms in which the House has recently agreed to extending the use of women in various directions in work of this kind. Though I think it is perhaps too wide a proposal to insist upon a woman being appointed in all cases, I think some modified form of this Amendment might be accepted.

I think the figures I gave just now show the impossibility of carrying out an Amendment of this sort. I pointed out that out of 133 probation officers under the Church of England Temperance Society only twenty of them are women.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 10—(Tower To Send Youthful Delinquents To Borstal Institutions)

(1) Where a person is summarily convicted of any offence for which the Court

has power to impose a sentence of imprisonment for one month or upwards without the option of a fine, and—

  • (a) it appears to the Court that the offender is not less than sixteen nor more than twenty-one years of age; and
  • (b) it is proved that the offender has previously been convicted of any offence or, that having been previously discharged on probation, he failed to observe a condition of his recognizance; and
  • (c) it appears to the Court that by reason of the offender's criminal habits or tendencies, or association with persons of bad character, it is expedient that he should be subject to detention for such term and under such instruction and discipline as appears most conducive to his reformation and the repression of crime,
  • it shall be lawful for the Court, in lieu of passing sentence, to commit the offender to prison until the next Quarter Sessions, and the Court of Quarter Sessions shall inquire into the circumstances of the case, and if it appears to the Court that the offender is of such age as aforesaid and that for any such reason as aforesaid it is expedient that the offender should be subject to such detention as aforesaid, shall pass such sentence of detention in a Borstal institution as is authorised by Part I. of the Prevention of Crimes Act, 1908, as amended by this Act; otherwise the Court shall deal with the case in any way in which the Court of Summary Jurisdiction might have dealt with it:

    Provided that if the offender consents, the Court by which he is convicted, instead of so committing him for sentence, may itself pass such sentence of detention in a Borstal institution as aforesaid.

    (2) A Court of Summary Jurisdiction or Court of Quarter Sessions, before dealing with any case under this Section, shall consider any report or representations which may be made to it by or on behalf of the Prison Commissioners as to the suitability of the offender for such detention as aforesaid, and a Court of Summary Jurisdiction shall, where necessary, adjourn the case for the purpose of giving an opportunity for such a report or representations being made.

    (3) Where a person is committed to prison under this Section his treatment in prison shall, so far as practicable, be similar to that in Borstal institutions, or he may, if the Secretary of State so directs, be transferred to a Borstal institution.

    (4) The Costs in Criminal Cases Act, 1908, shall apply in the case of a person committed to prison by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction under this Section as if that person were committed for trial for an indictable offence.

    I beg to move the omission of this Clause, which gives large additional powers to magistrates dealing with juvenile offenders. I am in a difficulty in moving this Amendment, because by far the larger number of the hon. Member.; of this House are magistrates and have had great practical experience, which I have not had in these eases, because I am not a magistrate. For that reason they have a sort of vested interest, which, I think, they ought to wipe out from their minds This Clause gives them, not judicial powers, but I must call them grandmotherly powers. Every magistrate naturally thinks he is not only gifted with judicial powers, but has the power of knowing far better than the person in the dock what is good for him, knowing far better than the parents of the person in the dock what is good for that prospective criminal. I must, therefore, ask the House to clear their minds of the idea that they are heavenly gifted or heavenly inspired with the knowledge of what is best for the prisoner. A bench of magistrates ought to be judges, pure and simple. That was their original business, and that is still, in my mind, their principal duty. It is to decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty, and what the punishment for guilt is to be. Gradually more and more we are converting benches of magistrates into sort of philanthropic institutions, who are trusted, not to punish, or not to let off, or not to fine the innocent, but to decide, after having heard a sort of smattering of evidence, generally from the police, and without knowing anything in detail as to the case, what is the interest of the person before them. You have put into their hands powers over these people brought before them which are enormous. Clause 10 gives to benches of magistrates powers to deal with persons between sixteen and twenty-one, or people whom they believe to be between sixteen and twenty-one.

    The Clause in effect says as follows: "Where a young person, that is between sixteen and twenty-one, is summarily convicted of any offence, and the offender has previously been convicted of any offence, or has been discharged on probation and has failed to observe any condition of his recognisance, and if it appears to the Court that it is expedient that he should be subject to detention for such term and under such instruction and discipline as appears most conducive to his reformation," then they may send him to a Borstal institution for two years. [HON. MEMBERS dissented.] Well, they may send him to Quarter Sessions, and the Quarter Sessions may then do it instead of the magistrates. If the unfortunate youth consents, the Court by which he is convicted, instead of sending him to Quarter Sessions, may immediately send him to this institution. Put a boy of sixteen up there, and ask him whether he will elect to go to Quarter Sessions or to be dealt with on the spot. You are going to give this youth, who knows nothing whatever about the law, an option which he is not in a position to exercise. In effect you are giving to these Courts of Summary Jurisdiction powers to deal with youthful persons between sixteen and twenty-one who have been once convicted of a crime. It may be stealing apples. Associating with bad characters is a crime in the eyes of magistrates, but that is not the crime that has got to be proved against him. If it appears expedient to the bench that he should be subject to detention, and if he has been convicted of a crime previously, then they may send him for two years to a Borstal institution. This is done because the House and the Home Office believe that the Borstal institutions are admirable institutions for reforming boys. I dare say that they are. I do not know anything about them, but I do not believe that we have any right, when it is a question of some small crime, to give to the magistrates the power of sending these youthful people for two years away from their parents and their families to these institutions. It seems to me that you are giving them powers which you have no right to entrust to them. At present these cases would be dealt with by perhaps a, fortnight's imprisonment, and the alternative provided for them under this Bill is two years in a Borstal institution. The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Edgar Jones) thinks that it would be much better to send them to a Borstal institution for two years. Supposing he were the parent of a boy, would he think it would be better to send him there for two years?

    I dare say, but is it not hard upon those who do not agree? I should like to know if our constituents have heard of this provision. I undertake to say that this provision is unknown to ninety-nine out of every hundred parents in the country. We are merely passing this Bill and making this provision, because we know it will not affect our own children. We pass a good deal too much legislation for the lower orders which does not apply to ourselves. I will take another case. Take a youth between sixteen and twenty-one who has got into difficulties with the police over a picketing case. At the present time he might be sent to prison for a week or a fortnight, but under this Clause you give the magistrates power to say that he has been associating with undesirable characters, because he has got into touch with these labour agitators, and he would be much better in a Borstal institution. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] It is all in the Clause. "Where any person is summarily convicted of any offence." [HON. MEMBERS: "Go on!"] Have hon. Members looked at the Amendments of the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Steel-Maitland) who is so influential when these Bills are being drafted? His Amendments are to leave out all the subsequent qualifications. But even supposing the hon. Member for Birmingham does not carry his Amendment, then what is the Clause? "Where any person is summarily convicted of any offence for which the Court has power to impose a month's imprisonment without the option of a fine"—I suppose the Court has power to impose a sentence like that upon people who break the picketing law, people who come into contact with the police and are convicted of assault—"he can be sent to a Borstal institution for two years."

    I dare say that in ninety-nine cases out of 100 it would be better to send him to a Borstal institution, but I do not think that you have any right to make a bench of magistrates the judges whether something is in the interest of the prisoner. They are merely judges of what is right or wrong on the particular charge for which the prisoner has been brought before them. It is very desirable that this Section which gives these large additional powers to magistrates should be eliminated from the Bill. Certainly, if the Home Secretary wants a non-contentious Bill, he will pass it without this Clause. Simply because a lot of Members have been impressed with the idea of keeping boys between sixteen and twenty-one out of prison, they are going to do far worse by sending them for a long period to a Borstal institution. I dare say that it is an admirable institution, but still it is imprisonment in the sense that those who are sent there cannot escape, and that you are marking them for life from the very fact that they have been in the institution. I do not think that we ought readily to give to any body of men, however well intentioned, the power to inflict this stigma on people who would otherwise serve a small period of imprisonment.

    I beg to second the Amendment. I quite agree that the duty of magistrates is to inflict punishment sufficient for the offence which has been committed. Under this Clause a young person, between sixteen and twenty-one, instead as at present getting one month's imprisonment, could be sent to a Borstal institution for two years, unless the Court of Quarter Sessions decided that he was only to have the punishment that he would get under the present law. Those are very drastic powers to entrust to a bench of magistrates. It would be very hard on a young man to be punished with two years for an offence for which under the present law he would only get one month. I, therefore, have much pleasure in seconding the Amendment, and I hope that the Home Secretary will be able to accept it.

    My hon. Friend's statement that he knows nothing of the Borstal institutions shows that the good work which has been done in those institutions during recent years is to him a closed book. We should never have dreamed of putting this Clause into the Bill had we not experience and knowledge of individual lives of so many hundreds of youthful offenders who have been redeemed. My hon. Friend has entirely left that out of the account. The sole object of the Clause is to deal with young persons under twenty-one who, on account of their past history and surroundings, have no chance in life. We take them out of criminal surroundings, we give them education, better habits of life, health, and vitality, and in the great majority of cases when they have passed from Borstal they become honest citizens and earn their own livelihood. This Clause is founded on experience, and on the basis of experience I commend it to the House.

    That, of course, sounds all very well, and, as far as it goes, I do not challenge the views of the Home Secretary, but that is not the ground of opposition to this Clause. It is quite a secondary question whether the Borstal Institution is good or bad, and if my right hon. Friend had listened to the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment he would have discovered that. Many of us are seriously alarmed because you are undermining parental authority and seeking to raise up a State-nourished and institutioned race, and whenever you do that Old England will go to the dogs. It is all very well to say that particular boys may be better treated in certain institutions, but it does not at all follow. There has not been time with regard to these institutions to judge, and I am perfectly certain that when our Home Secretary preaches the doctrine that we are to look for our honest boys among those who have been in institutions like this it is a negation of Christianity and simply acknowledging that this is a pagan country.

    I have been listening to this Debate for an hour or more, and I have never noticed the slightest recognition of the Sermon on the Mount or the fundamentals of Christianity. The whole idea is that if we can get people into some kind of State machine, beneficent, of course, and bearing a very nice title, with some very kind ladies belonging to it—I grant all that—and beneficent Home Secretaries admiring them, it is all to the good. The idea is that unless we can get a large part of humanity into these admirable institutions, and so turn them out fit and meet to become taxpayers and soldiers, we are not on the right lines. Members come to this House determined to pass Acts and Clauses of some kind, and these must go in with the rest. I say quite candidly, as one who has given as much time as anybody else in working for the street urchins, both in town and country, that I have little hope of Clauses or schemes of this kind. There is no recognition in the arguments of the contra account. You may have one boy in ten who goes to this institution and is benefited, and you may worsen the lot in life of the other nine who do not go. As long as it is the doctrine that institutions, law, magistrates, enforcement by probation officers or people in uniform make for manhood and womanhood, so long shall we pass Clauses like this. I have no faith in them. I would very much prefer giving magistrates more latitude, and not limiting them to any particular kind of institution, if these young people are to go to institutions. I regret the whole tone of this legislation, and, if it comes to a Division, I shall vote against the Clause because I think it has a wrong tendency.

    I think the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) has done his share to bring about the institution of State regulation and State officialism.

    I rise in order to give the Home Secretary an opportunity to repeat his undertaking given in Committee with regard to the restrictive regulations enforced at Borstal, which now shut out a great many of those whom it is desirable to send there.

    Perhaps the hon. Member will allow me to intervene. He made a statement with regard to myself and I wish him to particularise it. He suggested that I was responsible for this Borstal institution.

    No; what I said was that the hon. Member has assisted in the creation of State officials galore since he had been a supporter of the Government, and this, in my opinion, is a far more useful institution than many of the branches of State officialdom which have been set up in recent years. I wish to direct attention to what I would call the too strict administration of this institution. I gave the Home Secretary instances in Committee, and on looking up the report I find it is perfectly true that over and over again, as the result of the stringent regulations which the Home Office has prescribed for this institution, a number of boys for whom its treatment would be most desirable have had to be excluded. Indeed, it is very difficult, when looking at the regulations, to find a case that can be considered really suitable for admission, and, so far as my experience goes, only one in four or one in five who are thought suitable by the magistrates are regarded as eligible for admission by the prison authorities. I have in mind the case of a boy who, be cause he had a narrow chest, was declared physically unfit for admission to Borstal, whereas that is just the place where his chest might have been developed. In another case a boy was objected to because one of his feet was shorter than the other. Surely that dfficulty might easily have been got over by giving him proper boots! These are matters which the Home Secretary promised to inquire into with a view of making the regulations sufficiently elastic to prevent these boys being shut out in the future. I hope he will be able to tell us that something is being done in that direction. So far from desiring, as this Motion does, to cut this Clause out, I would like to give my testimony to the value of this institution. An hon. Member opposite has interjected a remark to the effect that I am a magistrate, and therefore in favour of such an institution. But I would like to say that I know something about the working of this institution, and have come in personal contact with the administrators. I have also seen the report of the good work done, and I am aware that in at least 80 per cent. of the cases in which boys have been sent to Borstal they have, as a result, become perfectly good citizens.

    I have seen letters from across the sea from former inmates who are now occupying excellent positions, and only a little while ago I was assured by the director of Borstal Prison that he had just received from a former inmate who prior to his committal there was in a bad way, and, owing to his past likely to degenerate into a confirmed habitual criminal, and who through the treatment had got a fresh start on the other side of the Atlantic, and is now earning substantial money. This is only one of a great many cases. The boys are not treated as though they are in a State institution or in a reformatory, but they are made to feel their responsibility, and they are taught a trade. I hope the Home Secretary will be able to extend this system, and will provide more opportunity for outdoor pursuits, and for teaching these lads trades, thereby largely increasing their usefulness. So far from objecting to the Clause, I support the maintenance of the Borstal Institution because I am convinced of its value to the community at large.

    I am rather sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for New-castle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) has not had some experience of the Borstal Institution. I was not on the Committee which dealt with this Bill, and therefore I am at some disadvantage in considering the effect of this Clause. I do not speak as one who desires to restrict in any way, but rather as one who would extend the influence of the Borstal Institution. Keep boys out of prison if you can. I expect this Bill will do something towards effecting that, and when there is a criminal taint, when a boy shows he has a tendency to become an habitual criminal, then, I am quite sure, the Borstal Institution, with its longer sentence, is very much better than a short sentence to be served in a prison. I cannot think anyone can be worse off under the Clause, and I feel that frequent short sentences are a step towards paganism rather than from paganism. But I am inclined to criticise the Clause from the fact that it rather increases the amount of imprisonment not under Borstal conditions. It is proposed to send juvenile adults to prison for an indeterminate period until the next Quarter Sessions takes place. That may frequently mean quite a number of weeks, and surely that detention for a crime or offence which is punishable with a limit of one month's imprisonment, and for which, in fact, only a week's or a fortnight's imprisonment might be imposed, cannot be beneficial to the boy. It might be a boy had committed an offence for which under ordinary circumstances he would be awarded seven or ten days' imprisonment. I know he must have been previously convicted, but you are actually putting him under the conditions which you actually want to save him from. Your object is to save him from becoming an ordinary prisoner. I would like to ask the Home Secretary why it is necessary to interpose Quarter Sessions in this matter? Does he think the Court below is not to be trusted with the committal? I have an Amendment on the Paper to leave out the necessary reference to Quarter Sessions, and that would avoid this intermediate sending of the boy to prison until next Quarter Sessions, and until inquiry has been made.

    I know that if the boy agrees his case can be dealt with by the Court below. You do not think it advisable that that Court should be able to send him to Borstal without his consent, and it will involve his being in prison for, it may be, four or eight weeks, and on the top of that he may have two years' imprisonment added.

    I do not want to prolong this Debate, but I do desire to say a word or two in favour of a Clause which I think is one of the most important in the Bill. I happen to have had a good deal of experience of the Borstal Institution. I have watched the progress of youths there, and nothing has more impressed me than the fact that the place is not a prison at all. It is merely a teaching and training institution. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, I am sorry to say, insists on using terms which are really not applicable. These boys are no more in prison than army recruits can be said to be in prison. They are merely under training, teaching and discipline. There are certain conditions of admission. The first is youth. In the second place, there must have been a previous conviction, as showing that the former punishment had failed to have a deterrent effect. In the third place, he must have criminal tendencies, and must be known to associate with bad characters. What is the use of the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) complaining that the Bill takes away parental responsibility when dealing with a boy like that.

    I think that the hon. Member is under a misapprehension. The word between "criminal tendencies," and "associate with bad characters" is "or," and not "and."

    I am not going to bandy words with the hon. Gentleman. The consensus of opinion, and the good sense of this House, I am quite sure will be found to be in favour of this Clause. The question is, whether we shall punish boys or teach them? These are cases in which punishment has failed to act as a deterrent, and therefore we want, not two years' imprisonment, but two years' training in Borstal, in order that these lads may be protected against themselves.

    7.0 P.M.

    I hope the Home Secretary will accept my Amendment depriving the magistrates of the power to deal with offenders by consent. I have seen a good deal of this practice of asking prisoners to give their consent. As a rule, the boy really knows very little of what is going on, and he is very much inclined to say, "I consent." If he does so he can be put away for three years. He gives his consent in ignorance of what the bench is going to do. I am strongly in favour of this Clause as a whole, because if a case goes to Quarter Sessions, it gives the boy a right to appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, sitting in London, against the sentence imposed, whereas if he is persuaded to say, "I consent, and I will allow the magistrates in Petty Sessions to deal with my case," he loses that right of appeal. I am very strongly in favour, too, of the Borstal system. I have had the privilege of seeing it working, but I really must dissent, as I did on the Second Reading, from what has been said by the last speaker. A number of people connected with the Borstal Institution have written thanking me for the remarks I then made. It is a delusion to say that Borstal is not in any sense a prison. It is a place of punishment, as well as a place of detention. It is meant to be so, and there is not the slightest doubt about it. I think it is wrong to give power to magistrates in Petty Sessions to deal with cases of this kind. One object of this Clause is to commit to Quarter Sessions in order that further inquiry may be made. These are not cases which should be dealt with offhand. You may have a couple of boys brought before the Court for an offence for which, under ordinary circumstances, before the Borstal system was instituted, a sentence of a month or two's hard labour might be given. One does it still if you think the boys have respectable parents or people who are likely to give them a fresh chance in the world after they come away. In certain cases you find that the boys have a good home and are strong, but need discipline and punishment. In those cases you use the Borstal Institution.

    If the hon. Member underwent the first six months of the treatment in a Borstal institution, it would certainly alter his appearance very considerably. I do not want to go into these details. There is not a person who, having been in a Borstal institution, and who comes before you again who will not tell you that the first six months in a Borstal institution is no joke and is not meant to be. It is a serious thing. Before you make up your mind to send a boy to one of these institutions, you have to make-inquiries of those who know the boy and his tendencies. It is a thing which requires careful inquiry of the governor of the gaol where the boy has been, and other persons. The sentence should not be passed by a magistrate in Petty Sessions. It is a very serious responsibility before you take upon yourselves, although no doubt it is for the good of the boy, and you have to think twice before you pass a sentence of two or three years' incarceration on any human being for an offence for which the ordinary person gets six months' hard labour. I have frequently gone into the Police Court and seen the way in which it works. I am frequently shocked by the way these matters have been conducted. The Police Court is not the atmosphere in which persons ought to be asked to consent to three years' incarceration in a Borstal institution. Although I am strongly in favour of this Clause, I am also of opinion that if a magistrate thinks a case is one for Borstal treatment, he should commit the boy to Quarter Sessions. I suggest that the words "provided that if the offender consents, the Court by which he is convicted, instead of so committing him for sentence, may itself pass such sentence of detention in a Borstal institution as aforesaid," should be omitted.

    May I suggest that we should first dispose of the Motion to omit the Clause, then we can discuss that matter?

    I agree. I hope the hon. Member (Mr. Wedgwood) will support me when I come to move that Amendment, and will allow the Clause to go through in a form in which it will be of use to the country, instead of being, as it now is, a great danger. It would be easy to bring Borstal institutions into disrepute if you have hasty sentences passed in this way, and once you get public opinion against you, you will experience great difficulty in getting people sent to them. I shall support the Clause.

    While agreeing with a great deal which my hon. and learned Friend has just said, I would point out to him that the consent of which he speaks is not a consent to be tried but a consent to a sentence, which is a very different kind of consent from that with which we are used in the Courts. It is not a question of being asked, "Do you agree to be tried by this tribunal or do you desire to go to Quarter Sessions?" The young person is actually tried and convicted, and then the question arises whether he will consent to being sent to the institution or to being committed to the Quarter Sessions for sentence.

    May I suggest that we should discuss that later? We shall have all this discussion over again. We are only now on the question whether the Clause be omitted from the Bill.

    It has a bearing on whether or not we should accept this Clause in its substantial form. There is the question whether magistrates should have this power. I am inclined to think that that power should not be granted on the consent of the boy, not because of the difficulty in which the prisoner is placed because of that election, but because the atmosphere is unsuitable. As to the interval between Petty Sessions and Quarter Sessions, the hon. Member for Bury (Sir G. Toulmin) spoke of it as if it were passed in an atmosphere with habitual criminals. That is not so. It may be desirable or undesirable that the period should be long or short, but the remanded prisoner is not sent to be associated with the habitual criminal. The hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) attributes to my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Nield) partiality in dealing with great social questions merely because he has had the benefit of experience in dealing with the administration of criminal justice. One would have thought it was rather an advantage to have an hon. Member who could bring to a question of this sort experience as to whether or not it was desirable in the interests of the people. Apparently, because my hon. and learned Friend knows something about the subject, therefore he is prejudiced. What are the qualifications of the hon. Member for New-castle-under-Lyme to deal with the Clause? On his own statement his qualification is that he knows nothing about it. He criticises the Member who knows something about it because he is prejudiced, and then admits that he has no knowledge of the subject with which he is occupying the time of the House. The statements of those who are familiar with the working of the Borstal system should be of greater value to the House than the opinion of an hon. Member who brings forward a Motion to delete a Clause on the confessed ground that he is entirely ignorant of the subject. Those who have experience of the working of the Borstal system know that it is a very valuable one, although there may be respects in which it could be amended. I shall certainly vote against a proposal which means the limitation of a possible benefit to young society, a benefit which is too limited already, and which should be more widely distributed.

    It is not necessary for me to reply to the hon. Member who has just sat down. It is possible to know why we should not send people to prison without ever having been in prison ourselves, and in the same way it is possible to object to give power to magistrates far in excess of what they have already without ever having suffered from them. I listened to the hon. Member for Ealing (Mr. Nield) with great respect. He, as a magistrate, has had dealings with these cases. He, and the hon. Member for Bury (Sir G. Toulmin), and the hon. Member for Stirlingshire (Dr. Chapple), one after another told the House that a Borstal institution was an ideal place, and that they all wished to send more people to such institutions, in fact, the Borstal institution was so admirable that they fancied the whole of the working classes could not do better than go through them and be trained. [An HON. MEMBER: "They said nothing of the kind."] None of them went so far as that, but they all meant it. The hon. Member for Ealing and the hon. Member for Stirlingshire certainly said it was desirable that more people should go through these institutions than actually did so. There is no limit to the desire and aspirations of these State bureaucrats.

    What I said was that owing to the rules of the Home Office, boys who were otherwise eligible were too closely excluded.

    The whole of the arguments of those who support the Clause go to show that Borstal institutions are so good that more ought to go through them. If that is not the basis of the hon. Member's argument, I fail to understand what it was. I realise, to my great regret, that there are certain classes of people who believe that the ideal prospect to put before the country is that of the State looking after children and straight-waist-coating them from their cradle until they reach manhood. I am up against them all the time, even if they are magistrates themselves. I would call the attention of the House to the fact that three Members of this House, all of them magistrates,

    Division No. 186.]

    AYES.

    [7.14 p.m.

    Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)Bridgeman, William Clive
    Acland, Francis DykeBeauchamp, Sir EdwardBrunner, John F. L.
    Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)Beck, Arthur CecilBryce, J. Annan
    Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)Burn, Colonel C. R.
    Arnold, SydneyBenn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)Burns, Rt. Hon. John
    Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas
    Baldwin, StanleyBethell, Sir J. H.Buxton, Noel
    Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)Black, Arthur W.Byles, Sir William Pollard
    Barnes, George N.Boland, John PlusCarlile, Sir Edward Hildred
    Barnston, HarryBowerman, Charles W.Carr-Gomm, H. W.
    Barran, Sir John (Hawick Burghs)Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)Cassel, Felix
    Barrie, H. T.Brady, Patrick JosephCave, George

    have declared that the Borstal treatment is so good. Does the House think that people who believe that a Borstal institution is an ideal institution are the sort of people who ought to have given to them increased powers to send children to these institutions? They are the people who believe in the admirable education given, and who are to decide whether a youth of sixteen should be sent for seven days to a prison or for three years to a Borstal institution. I know these people are actuated by the very best of motives, but I differ from them. We are handing over to the people who have these powers the liberties of the young man of this country. [An HON. MEMBER: "Criminals!"] If we all had had the opportunities they had had, how many of us would be criminals? We happen to be well off and can escape these Courts. The one thing in this Debate which affects me is that the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) is not against this Clause. When I listen to him I always feel that the Universities should have a representative in this House. I always listen to him with the greatest possible respect and gain great advantage from his arguments, but, although he proved conclusively that part of the Clause was thoroughly bad, he said ho was going to vote for it, although he did not give one reason in favour of it. That was a little weakness on his part. I do not think he is a magistrate who has a vested interest in increasing their powers. A bulwark of the liberties of the subject, such as the hon. and learned Member, ought to be with us in the Lobby when we are defending the rights of the people of this country, and protecting them from the servile state to which they are being committed by the Home Secretary and those behind him.

    Question put, "That the words, 'Where a person is summarily convicted of any offence,' stand part of the Bill."

    The House divided: Ayes, 299; Noes, 36.

    Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)Hayden, John PatrickOrde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.
    Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)Hemmerde, Edwkard GeorgeO'Shaughnessy, P. J.
    Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)O'Sullivan, Timothy
    Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)Palmer, Godfrey Mark
    Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.Henry, Sir CharlesParry, Thomas H.
    Chapple, Dr. William AllenHewart, GordonPearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
    Clancy, John JosephHibbert, Sir Henr F.Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
    Clay, Captain H. H. SpenderHickman, Colonel Thomas E.Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)
    Clough, WilliamHigham, John SharpPerkins, Walter Frank
    Clyde, James AvonHills, John WallerPhilipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)
    Clynes, John R.Hinds, JohnPhillips, John (Longford, S.)
    Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)Hoare, Samuel John GurneyPirie, Duncan V.
    Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.Holt, Richard DurningPollock, Ernest Murray
    Cooper, Sir Richard AshmoleHope, John Deans (Haddington)Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
    Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
    Courthope, George LoydHorner, Andrew LongPringle, William M. R.
    Cowan, W. H.Hudson, WalterPryce-Jones, Colonel E.
    Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)Hughes, Spencer LeighRadford, George Heynes
    Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)Illingworth, Percy H.Randles, Sir John S.
    Craik, Sir HenryJohn, Edward ThomasRawlinson, John Frederick Peel
    Crocks, WilliamJones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
    Crumley, PatrickJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
    Cullinan, JohnJones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)Reddy, Michael
    Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
    Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)Redmond, William (Clare, E.)
    Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)Joyce, MichaelRedmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
    Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)Joynson-Hicks, WilliamRendall, Athelstan
    Delany, WilliamKellaway, Frederick GeorgeRoberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
    Denniss, E. R. B.Kelly, EdwardRoberts, George H. (Norwich)
    Devlin, JosephKenyon, BarnetRoberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
    Dewar, Sir J. A.King, JosephRobertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
    Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
    Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. ScottLambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)Robinson, Sidney
    Dillon, JohnLane-Fox, G. R.Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
    Donelan, Captain A.Lardner, James C. R.Roche, Augustine (Louth)
    Doris, WilliamLaw, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)Rowlands, James
    Duffy, William J.Leach, CharlesRunciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
    Duke, Henry EdwardLevy, Sir MauriceRussell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
    Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)Lewis, Rt. Hon. John HerbertRutherford, John (Lancs., Darwen)
    Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)Lewisham, ViscountSamuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
    Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
    Elverston, Sir HaroldLundon, ThomasSanders, Robert Arthur
    Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)Lynch, Arthur AlfredScott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
    Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, S.)Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.Shoehy, David
    Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.MacCaw, William J. MacGeaghSherwell, Arthur James
    Falconer, JamesMacdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)Shortt, Edward
    Falle, Bertram GodfrayMcGhee, RichardSimon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Ailsebrook
    Farrell, James PatrickMackinder, Halford J.Smith, H. B. Lees (Northampton)
    Fell, ArthurMacnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
    Fenwick, Rt. Hon. CharlesMacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
    Ffrench, PeterMacVeagh, JeremiahStanier, Beville
    Field, WilliamM'Callum, Sir John M.Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)
    Fitzgibbon, JohnM'Curdy, Charles AlbertSteel-Maitland. A. D.
    Flavin, Michael JosephMcKenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldStewart, Gershom
    Forster, Henry WilliamMalcolm, IanStrauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
    Furness, Sir Stephen WilsonMarks, Sir George CroydonSutherland, John E.
    George, Rt. Hon. D. LloydMarshall, Arthur HaroldTaylor, John W. (Durham)
    Gilmour, Captain JohnMeagher, MichaelTaylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
    Ginnell, LaurenceMeehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)
    Gladstone, W. G. C.Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John
    Glanville, Harold JamesMillar, James DuncanThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
    Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.Molloy, MichaelToulmin, Sir George
    Goddard, Sir Daniel FordMolteno, Percy AlportTrevelyan, Charles Philips
    Goldman, C. S.Montagu, Hon. E. S.Verney, Sir Harry
    Goldstone, FrankMooney, John J.Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
    Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)Morrell, PhilipWason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
    Greig, Colonel James WilliamMorison, HectorWatson, Hon. W.
    Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir EdwardMorton, Alpheus CleophasWatt, Henry A.
    Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis JonesMunro, Rt. Hon. RobertWebb, Henry
    Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.Weston, Colonel J. W.
    Gulland, John WilliamNeville, Reginald J. N.Wheler, Granville C. H.
    Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)Newton, Harry KottinghamWhite, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
    Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
    Hackett, JohnNield, HerbertWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
    Haddock, George BahrNolan, JosephWhitehouse, John Howard
    Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)Nugent, Sir Walter RichardWiles, Thomas
    Hancock, John GeorgeO'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Wilkie, Alexander
    Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
    Hardie, J. KeirO'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)
    Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)O'Doherty, PhilipWills, Sir Gilbert
    Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)O'Donnell, ThomasWilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
    Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)O'Dowd, JohnWilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)
    Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)Ogden, FredWilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)
    Haslam, LewisO'Malley, WilliamWinfrey, Sir Richard
    Havelock-Allan, Sir HenryO'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)Wing, Thomas Edward

    Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)Yeo, Alfred WilliamYoxall, Sir James Henry
    Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)
    Worthington Evans, L.Young, William (Perthshire, East)

    TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.

    Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-Younger, Sir GeorgeGeoffrey Howard and Captain Guest.

    NOES.

    Agg-Gardner, James TynteJessel, Captain Herbert M.Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
    Ashley, Wilfrid W.Jowett, Frederick WilliamSmith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'pool, Walton)
    Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
    Bird, AlfredMacdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)Sutton, John E.
    Booth, Frederick HandelMarkham, Sir Arthur BasilTerrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)
    Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)Murphy, Martin J.Thomas, James Henry
    Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)Newman, John R. P.Thorne, William (West Ham)
    Dalrymple, ViscountOuthwaite, R. L.Wardle, George J.
    Fiennes, Hon. Eustace EdwardParker, James (Halifax)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
    Flannery, Sir J. FortescuePratt, J. W.Wood, John (Stalybridge)
    Henderson, Arthur (Durham)Raffan, Peter Wilson
    Hodge, JohnRichardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)

    TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.

    Hogge, James MylesRutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)Wedgwood and Mr. Goldsmith.
    Hope, Harry (Bute)

    I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "for which the Court has power to impose a sentence of imprisonment for one month or upwards without the option of a fine, and."

    The effect of leaving out these words will be to enable the Court to deal with certain classes of cases which, as the Clause stands, will not come within its purview. The classes of cases are really two, one general and one special. There is a general class of case which I think most people, at any rate, with certain exceptions, know really require treatment of this kind, and that is the class of boys or girls, as the case may be, who as they are growing up are of an entirely unsettled character, commit petty offences and are quite distinct from the boy or girl who may commit one more serious offence for which they may be sent to prison for punishment and come out again. It is almost the invariable experience that where you get boys of a criminal tendency who are always unsettled—continuous small lapses and continuous irregularities—they are really the boys on whom treatment of this kind will in the end confer more benefit than upon any other class of case. There is one special case which ought to be dealt with in this way and which at present, under the Clause as it stands, cannot be dealt with, and that is young girls from the age of sixteen up to the limits of the Bill who solicit in the streets. At present under the Bill they cannot be dealt with, and yet almost every police magistrate and every authority, I think, is of opinion that this is really a particular class of case which more than almost any other wants to be trained in regularity of habits, and not to be exposed to the continual temptation of going and soliciting in the streets day after day and week after week. The extension which I propose really enables the Court to deal with these two cases. I wish to say one thing, especially to hon. Members who share the opinions of the hon. Member (Mr. Wedgwood). I should be willing to agree to any Amendment which would carefully hedge about the power of dealing with these cases. I think any Amendment might well be made which would see that if these cases are dealt with they should only be dealt with after scrupulous care, and where it is quite certain that it is really for the good of the person whom it is proposed to put into a Borstal home under treatment.

    I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Rawlinson) that we have to regard a Borstal home as a home which is not necessarily an easy and a light case of detention. Of course it is a strict place of detention, and of course the detention there is in the nature of punishment. It is not exactly like a prison, because on the whole education there forms a much more prominent feature of it than it does in a prison, and punishment forms a less prominent feature; but still, there it is, a strict place and a place of detention and punishment, and therefore I should be only too glad for any provision to ensure that these cases are not dealt with loosely. In the first place, the two paragraphs (b) and (c) that follow make it clear that if these cases are to be dealt with at all or sent to a Borstal institution, there must be some added characteristic besides the actual offence which has been committed and for which they are sentenced. If the hon. Member moves an Amendment later on I should be perfectly willing to have the power of dealing with these cases confined to Quarter Sessions only. There may be certain benches of magistrates which deal with such cases very carefully and in every way that could be desired, and it is quite possible that with other magistrates dealing with the cases quickly, or without sufficient care, you may not get the best results, and therefore hedge about the treatment with every care that is possible, but once you hedge it about with care I think the two cases which most need this kind of treatment are the two that I have just stated. My experience, although perhaps not as great as that of other Members of the House, has been considerable. I have lived and worked with them, and so also have some of my friends, and our experience has been that what is more a curse to boys when growing up than anything else is not the commission of a single grave fault—that may be punished and done with—but the tendency to get into irregular habits, and to commit many minor offences. Under our modern system of industry there is more chance of that in the case of a boy than in almost any other circumstances. It is by enabling the boy to be put to training that I think this Bill may have the best results, and it is for that reason I ask the House to enable this class of offences to be dealt with. I, in my innermost conviction, believe that it has not for its tendency the curtailment of individual liberty. You put a young boy or girl under these temptations, and the whole tendency of modern industrial occupation is to give them opportunities of committing offences. It is precisely that kind of boy who may go from bad to worse. It is really from knowledge of the case, so far as I have been able to analyse it, that I say we are not really interfering with individual liberty. We are enabling these persons to get real liberty afterwards as independent citizens.

    The hon. Member who moved the Amendment spoke with his accustomed lucidity and precise-ness. We can appreciate the importance of the demand he has addressed to the House. The hon. Member has three Amendments put down by which he proposes to extend the power of committal to Borstal institutions. This Clause, as it now stands, restricts the power of committal to those who have been committed to prison for one month without the option of a fine. The object of this Amendment is to enable the magistrates, in the first instance to suggest a Borstal institution in respect of an offence, however trivial, provided the other part of the Sub-section has been complied with. I am sure the hon. Gentleman must have observed from the trend of the discussion that there is considerable difference of opinion as to how far we can trust the magistrate. We thought, and the Committee thought, that where the offence was one for which imprisonment could not be imposed, a Borstal institution was not suitable for such a case, and that we must wait until the offender had committed an offence for which he was liable to a month's imprisonment without the option of a fine. I appreciate what the hon. Member said about boys or girls who commit a series of small and trivial offences. As regards girls, under the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, there is a specific provision introduced to deal with that class of case. Whether that is satisfactory or not, we shall consider in due course; but I submit to the House that when you commit to a Borstal institution for two years or three years, as the case may be, the sentence ought not to be imposed unless the young person has committed an offence for which he is liable to a month's imprisonment without the option of a fine. Let us draw the line somewhere. I submit that we ought to leave the Clause as it is.

    I would like to point out in opposition to the Amendment that it would render boys liable to be sent to a Borstal institution for playing football in the streets and for other offences of an equally trivial character. It seems to me that this is the wrong way to proceed. We ought first to have a development and extension of our educational system, for I believe that in that development and extension is to be found the true solution for many of the cases to which the hon. Gentleman referred in moving the Amendment. It is because I think the remedy proposed by the Amendment to be a very serious departure in social science that I trust the House will reject it.

    I wish to point out that the hon. Member who moved the Amendment is acting strictly on Conservative views. He believes that the State ought to mould the individual in the best form to serve the State. My own point of view is that we should look after the individual and give him the best possible chance without paring him down to make him suit the classes of this country.

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

    I beg to move to leave out the words—

    "Provided that if the offender consents, the Court by which he is convicted, instead of so committing him for sentence, may itself pass such sentence of detention in a Borstal institution as aforesaid."
    This point has already been referred to by the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson). Perhaps it will interest the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood) if I state that I do not ask that the magistrates of Petty Sessions should have this power. I think it is undesirable. In cases of committal to Quarter Sessions it is not always possible that the information required by the Section could be forthcoming without a remand. Take the case of offenders brought up on night charges at Courts next morning. You want to avoid a remand, and you ask under this Section power to send a child to a Borstal institution. After all, in sentencing a child it is difficult to get satisfactory conditions, because I am perfectly sure that in most cases the parent, if consulted, will not consent to the child being sent away. I therefore think that on the original charge you will not have got the information as to previous convictions, and still less likely are you to have got the information on which to act with respect to a criminal's character. You could not get that in a few hours, especially if the case arises at night. There seems to be a misapprehension as to the method in which remand prisoners are treated. They are not allowed to exercise in the same yard with convicted prisoners. The rules which appertain to recreation and other matters in the case of remand prisoners are wholly different from the rules which apply in other cases. They are detained in different compartments, not necessarily cells, and everything is done to prevent the prisoners from feeling that they suffer anything but restraint of liberty. It is a total misapprehension to say that you are bringing these prisoners into contact with convicted criminals. Inasmuch as you must remand for some time in order to get the information which alone qualifies for getting an order, it can be no objection to the remand extending to Quarter Sessions. From Quarter Sessions you can appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, but from Petty Sessions you cannot.

    I beg to second the Amendment. I have already indicated strongly my reasons for putting my Amendment before the House. I wish to make it quite clear that in regard to Petty Sessions, and certainly in regard to Police Courts, where matters have to be done with a great rush, the magistrates should not be allowed to pass a sentence of more than three years under any circumstances. The Government will spoil the Clause if they put in these words. It is a dangerous precedent. It is a step in the wrong direction to give magistrates this tremendous power of committing to a Borstal institution for three years persons between seventeen and twenty years of age. I say it is monstrous. I feel certain that a large number of Members will agree with me in that, and I hope pressure will be brought to bear on the Government to accept this very innocent Amendment.

    I must remind the House that these words were originally inserted in the Bill in order to meet the very serious difficulty to which my hon. Friend referred, that of persons being kept in prison for perhaps six or seven weeks awaiting trial at Quarter Sesssions when the whole sentence might only be a month. In Committee the difficulty was, to a certain extent, met by introducing into the Bill Sub-section (3), which runs:—

    "Where a person is committed to prison under this Section his treatment in prison shall, so far as practicable, be similar to that in Borstal institutions, or he may, if the Secretary of State so directs, be transferred to a Borstal institution."
    The result of that was that if a person was committed for a period of four, five, or six weeks, he would be getting the benefit of Borstal treatment. Consequently, much of the ground which we originally had for including the proviso to give a prisoner the option, if he liked, of getting an immediate trial has vanished. I shall be glad to accept the Amendment.

    Perhaps this will save the next Amendment which was to omit the words "if the offender consents." In many ways there is something to be said for the proviso, but as it is evident that the feeling of the House is against it, it is useless to occupy further time with it.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move at the end of the Clause to add the words, "a person sentenced by a Court of Quarter Sessions under this Section to detention in a Borstal institution may appeal against the sentence to the Court of Criminal Appeal as if he had been convicted on indictment, and the provisions of the Criminal Appeal Act, 1907, shall apply accordingly."

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 11—(Amendment And Application Of Part I Of The Prevention Of Crime Act)

    (1) The term for which a person may be sentenced to detention in a Borstal institution under Section one of the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908, shall not be less than two years, and accordingly "two years" shall be substituted for "one year" in Sub-section (1) of Section one of that Act.

    (2) The period for which a person sentenced to detention in a Borstal institution is on the expiration of the term of his sentence to remain under the supervision of the Prison Commissioners shall be one year, and accordingly "one year" year shall be substituted for "six months" in Sub-section (1) of Section six of the same Act.

    (3) The maximum period for which a person so under the supervision of the Prison Commissioners may on recall to a Borstal institution be detained in such an institution shall be one year, and he may be so detained notwithstanding that the period of supervision has expired, and accordingly "one year" shall be substituted for "three months" in Sub-section (2) of Section six of that Act.

    (4) The provisions of Part I. of the Prevention of Crime Act, 1908, as so amended, shall apply to persons sentenced to detention in a Borstal institution under this Act in like manner as they apply to persons sentenced under that Part of that Act.

    This Clause seeks to prevent young offenders being sent to Borstal for less than two years, and thereby, in the generality of cases, it will increase the sentences from one to two, and from two to three years. The argument in favour of it is, that Borstal treatment for one year is not good enough, that you do not get the really perfect article under two or three years, and that, therefore, the short sentences are not right, From the point of view of the interests of society that is a strong argument. I do not think that we ought to look at this question simply from the point of view of the welfare of society, and the excellence of the product. We ought also to look at it from the point of view as to whether it is just to the criminal who has been convicted of an offence. I may have had no experience of these Borstal institutions, and may therefore be considered a person who should not utter a word as to the conditions in which poor people in this country can be sent to these institutions. But the House should consider the matter from the point of view of the individual sentenced by the magistrate, and not from the point of view as to whether it is in the general interests of society. You have enlarged the power of magistrates under Clause 10 of this Bill, and now you also wish to take away from magistrates the power to send anyone to Borstal for less than two years. If magistrates have these views as to the value of Borstal training, which were expressed to-day, I know perfectly well that there will not be fewer persons sent to Borstal, and that in nearly every case the minimum will be raised from one year to two years, and possibly from two years to three. I am against this increasing of punishment, and then saying that it is no punishment, and I am against this sort of State training of what are called the lower orders, because the yturn out such admirable products. I want to have fewer State institutions, and more justice before magistrates, and I would say that you should get a few more magistrates with proper Courts so that the people could be tried decently, and that that would be better than giving magistrates wider powers than they possess at present.

    Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    I beg to move, in Subsection (1), after the word "person," to insert the words "or youthful offender." This Amendment is moved at the suggestion of the London County Council and—

    To save time, may I say that the Government accept the Amendment of the hon. Member and also the two other Amendments which stand next on the Paper.

    As I have been asked what this Amendment means, I may explain in one or two sentences. Under the Prevention of Crimes Act there are two classes of young persons, those guilty of particular offences and others who have already gone to reformatories, and who may be subsequently convicted and liable to Borstal treatment. This second class is, I imagine inadvertently, excluded from the scope of this Bill. It is with the object of bringing in that second class that I move the Amendment standing in my name.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: After the word "one" ["under Section one"], insert the words "or Section two."—[ Mr. Hoare.]

    After the word "one" ["of Section one"], insert the words "and in Section two respectively."—[ Mr. Hoare.]

    New powers of Dealing with Offenders.

    Clause 12—(Power To Order Detention For One Day In Precincts Of The Court)

    Where a Court of Summary Jurisdiction has power to pass a sentence of imprisonment, the Court, in lieu of passing a sentence of imprisonment, may order that the offender be detained within the precincts of the Court, or at any police station, till such hour, not later than ten in the evening on the day on which he is convicted, as the Court may direct.

    I beg to move to leave out this Clause.

    I wish to obtain some assurance from Home Secretary on the points raised in connection with this Clause. I object to the Clause, first, because I feel that it will not do very much good. The proposal is, that in certain cases the person who would otherwise be sent to prison is simply put under lock and key in the Police Court or police cell and let out later in the day. This is open to certain objections. The principle one is that there is no proper accommodation for this kind of custody, especially in the case of women prisoners. I understand that the Home Secretary is, on the following Clause, going to make some proposal which will ensure that the accommodation in the police cells shall not be made use of for this purpose, unless it is made suitable under directions issued by the Home Office. I am not sure whether these directions will apply to Clause 12, as well as to Clause 13, and I would like to have a statement on this point. Another objection is that in the case of women prisoners there are no female attendants for many of these police cells. I understand that the Home Secretary is going to move an Amendment which will ensure female attendants for women offenders dealt with under Clause 13. I am not sure whether this provision will also apply to Clause 12, and I would like this point cleared up. There is a third objection in reference to the hour at which prisoners shall be let out. The proposal is that they shall be kept in until ten o'clock at night,—or, rather, not later—and in all probability that hour would be the one chosen as a rule. That means that men and women would find themselves let out at an hour at which it may be difficult to get home, or, at any rate, which is not an hour suitable for the liberation of a prisoner. On that point I understand that the Home Secretary is going to meet us. It is in order to obtain some assurance on these points that I beg to move the Amendment.

    I beg to second the Amendment. I desire particularly to direct attention to the hour at which prisoners may be let out. As I understand the idea underlying the Clause is that it saves a man or woman the shame of a conviction. It is a kind of minor punishment, not the ordinary prison, but enough to frighten a person. There are two very great objections to it. One is that anyone who knows anything about the subject will agree that the whole atmosphere of the Police Court cells, so far from being a deterrent, is demoralising. There is a kind of stern discipline about prison which is frightening, and possibly reforming; but about the atmosphere of the Police Court cell there is nothing except what is degrading and demoralising. Turning to another point, I cannot conceive how it is considered desirable to turn out this type of petty offender, who is a weak person, and should be protected from temptation, at ten o'clock at night. Even those of us who sit at Petty Sessions know very well that ten o'clock is the worst hour which you could choose to let a person out. The public-houses are still open. The man, and, still worse, the woman, would go out alone, and be received as a kind of pothouse hero by boon companions, and probably get drunk. In the city it would be still worse, for the public-houses are open later there. I am very glad to know that the Home Secretary will consider the question of altering this hour. But it shows what strange ideas some reformers have of dealing with matters like this, for all who know anything of the subject must realise that you could have no worse provision than a provision by which a young girl or boy, or a petty offender of any kind, could be turned into the streets from one of these places at ten o'clock at night.

    8.0 P.M.

    My hon. Friend speaks of this Clause as if young boys or girls would be always let out at ten o'clock at night. This Clause gives a discretion which is to be exercised by the magistrate, and it is obvious that the magistrates could be trusted not to exercise such a discretion wrongly. But in order to remove anxiety on the point, I am quite prepared to accept an Amendment of my hon. Friend (Mr. Dickinson) lower down on the Paper to substitute eight for ten o'clock. I cannot conceive that any magistrates would wrongly exercise the power of detaining until ten. Though the magistrates would exercise their discretion in the use of their powers, I am prepared to accept the Amendments of my hon. Friends. If the places available at the police stations or Police Courts are not proper for the purpose, the magistrates must be aware of that fact, and they will not exercise their powers if the conditions are not satisfactory. What we propose now is to give the magistrates the opportunity of imposing what may be called a lenient punishment, and we propose in the next Clause to give the magistrates the power to inflict a penalty which will not necessarily send a person to prison for a period longer than five days. The magistrates have surely a full knowledge of the circumstances and of the character of the persons before them, and will exercise their powers reasonably. It must not be supposed that magistrates will necessarily exercise their powers in the worst possible manner. I hope my hon. Friend will be satisfied with the assurance I have given. I will accept the substitution "eight" for "ten," and I will even go further and accept a proposal in the name of my hon. Friend (Mr. King), if it is pressed, that an offender shall not by any order be deprived of a reasonable opportunity to return to his abode on the day on which such order of detention is made.

    I do not understand how there can be any strong objection to the Clause, which is only intended to apply to cases where a sentence of imprisonment might be imposed. It must be worse to send a person even for a very short time to prison than to detain that person in a room within the court-house, or possibly at a police station for a day or any part of a day. Sometimes on a conviction taking place, the magistrate knows that within a short time some friend is willing to come and take charge of the person convicted, but if you release the prisoner at once, he disappears, and the chance of handing him over to his friends goes. If you have the power to keep the prisoner in the courthouse, it may be for no more than some hours of the day, you can obviate that, and hand the person over to his friends. In regard to the hour of release, I think eight o'clock is nearly as bad as ten o'clock. Eight o'clock is not an hour at which to release young persons, especially women or girls. For myself, I think it would be better to extend the time to eight o'clock the next morning, making that the maximum time. It is far better to release prisoners in the morning than at any time at night. You have less danger of their falling into bad company. They start fresh in the morning, and may have a chance of finding work, and they will avoid the dangerous and perilous task of finding quarters at night, after conviction. For myself, while I do not of course mean that the power should be used in every case. I should like a discretion to be given to the magistrate to detain persons of this kind until next morning, when they might be released at six, seven or eight o'clock without any danger at all.

    I think my right hon. Friend has taken a perfectly genuine step to meet the various points raised. While I agree with the hon and learned Gentleman opposite that probably eight o'clock at night is not very much better than ten o'clock at night, I should like to say a word or two as to the state of the police-station cells, though perhaps that discussion might be taken more conveniently on the next Clause. As I understand him, the right hon. Gentleman desires in future, if possible, to level up the condition of the police cells. I think my hon. Friend has made a very substantial point in calling attention to the very dirty condition of the cells at many of the police stations. A person who may not be, a case-hardened offender should not be put into the company of drunken prostitutes and other prisoners in the police cells, and there is need of a levelling up of the condition of cells connected with Police Courts and police stations. I think we might have some more specific assurance on this last point, and that the powers of magistrates will be reasonably and not carelessly exercised.

    I desire to make one suggestion to the Home Secretary, who I think has gone a considerable way to meet objections to the Clause by indicating that he will accept eight o'clock instead of ten o'clock. But, as has already been pointed out by the hon. and learned Member opposite, eight o'clock being a very unsuitable time for young persons to be discharged, I propose that the difficulty might be got over by substituting six o'clock. It appears to me that the suggestion made by the hon. and learned Member opposite is open to this objection that the detention should be for reform and detention at the Police Court is not reform in any sense.

    I think that perhaps too bad a character has been given of the accommodation provided at Police Courts or police stations. The accommodation does not necessarily mean that the cells will be used, for at most police stations, especially at those with which I am familiar, there are rooms to which those persons could be sent. There is the charge-room, where any young person could be put, and it would not be necessary to use a cell at all. It is not incredible to suppose, in the year 1914, that even in remote parts of the country there are rooms and places connected with the Police Courts and police stations where these young persons could be provided with temporary accommodation; and, as to the police cells, which are under the supervision of the Home Office, they are obliged to put them into a sanitary condition, and they are wholly different from what they were in years gone by. The rooms at various places in the country would be furnished, and they would obviously be the proper places in which to detain anybody for a short time.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. I wish to substitute the word "eight," and may I ask whether that Amendment should not come before the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member opposite?

    I must take them in the order in which they appear on the Paper, but the difficulty could be met by striking out the word "ten" in order to insert the word "eight."

    I beg to move, to leave out the word "ten" ["ten in the evening"], and to insert instead thereof the words "eight in the morning on the day following."

    The assumption against the Bill is that, as the magistrate has the power to release the person at ten o'clock at night, which is regarded as a very unsuitable time; therefore, he will invariably exercise that power. That is the whole argument directed against the Bill.

    No, it was not the argument of the hon. and learned Gentleman, but I would point out that under the Amendment proposed by him, the magistrate would have the opportunity of discharging prisoners at two o'clock or one o'clock in the morning, or any hour he pleases, and as I understand it if I accepted his Amendment, I should have the whole argument against me. Perhaps the magistrate might send out young girls at ten, eleven, or twelve o'clock at night. The difficulty would be in working the Amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman in a great many places. At the Police Courts and police stations, in the majority of instances, there is no suitable place where a young person could be kept until the next morning. When we get to Clause 13 we propose to take steps to ensure that proper places shall be provided for the detention of young persons for one or more days. I hope, in these circumstances, that the Amendment will not be pressed.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Amendments made: Leave out the word "ten" ["ten in the evening"], and insert instead thereof the word "eight."—[ Mr. Dickinson.]

    At the end of the Clause add the words,

    "Provided that a Court of Summary Jurisdiction shall, before making an order of detention under this Section, take into consideration the distance between the place of detention and the offender's abode (if his abode is known to, or ascertainable by, the Court), and shall not make any such order of detention under this Section as will deprive

    the offender of a reasonable opportunity of returning to his abode on the day on which such order of detention is made."—[ Mr. King.]

    Clause 13—(Substitution Of Police Custody For Imprisonment In Case Of Short Sentences)

    (1) No person shall be sentenced to imprisonment by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction for a period of less than five days.

    (2) Where a person is liable to be sentenced to imprisonment by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, the Court may, if any suitable places provided and certified in manner hereinafter appearing are available for the purpose, order the person to be detained therein for such period not exceeding four days as the Court thinks fit, and the Order shall be delivered with the offender to the person in charge of the place where the offender is to be detained, and shall be a sufficient authority for his detention in that place in accordance with the tenour thereof.

    (3) The expenses of the maintenance of persons detained under this Section shall be defrayed in like manner as the expenses of the maintenance of prisoners in prisons to which the Prison Act. 1877, applies.

    (4) The Secretary of State may, on the application of any police authority, certify any police cells, bridewells, or other similar places provided by the authority to be suitable places for the detention of persons sentenced to detention under this Section, and may make regulations for the inspection of places so provided, the treatment of persons detained therein, and generally for carrying this Section into effect.

    (5) For the purposes of any enactment conferring a right of appeal an order of detention under this Section without the option of a fine shall be treated as though it were a sentence of imprisonment without the option of a fine.

    (6) For the purposes of this Section the expression "police authority," with respect to the City of London, means the Commissioner of City Police, and with respect to other places has the same meaning as in the Police Act, 1890.

    Amendments made: At the end of Subsection (4), insert the words "Provided that no place shall be certified unless provision is made for the supervision of

    female prisoners by female officers."—[ Mr. Dickinson.]

    Leave out Sub-section (5).—[ Mr. McKenna.]

    Clause 14—Provisions As To Malicious Damage To Property)

    (1) If any person wilfully or maliciously commits any damage to any real or per sonal property whatsoever, either of a public or private nature, and the amount of the damage does not exceed twenty pounds, he shall be liable on summary conviction—

  • (a) if the amount of the damage exceeds five pounds, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds; and
  • (b) if the amount of the damage is five pounds or less, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months or to a fine not exceeding five pounds;
  • and in either case to the payment of such further amount as appears to the Court reasonable compensation for the damage so committed, which last-mentioned amount shall, if the property damaged was private property, be paid to the party aggrieved:

    Provided that this provision shall not apply where the alleged offender acted under a fair and reasonable supposition that he had a right to do the act complained of.

    (2) So much of Section fifty-one of the Malicious Damage Act, 1861, as limits the cases which may be dealt with under that Section to cases where the damage, injury, or spoil exceeds five pounds shall be repealed, but a Court of Summary Jurisdiction shall not commit any person for trial for an offence under that Section unless it is of opinion that the damage, injury, or spoil exceeds five pounds.

    (3) Nothing in this Section shall be construed as preventing a Court of Summary Jurisdiction from committing a person for trial for an offence notwithstanding that the offence is an offence which the Court has power to deal with summarily under this Section.

    I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (2), to add the words,

    "Provided that a Court of Summary Jurisdiction shall not deal with any offence (in which the damage exceeds five pounds) charged against a person previously convicted of an offence of this nature."
    The object of this Amendment is to prevent a person who has committed a similar offence being dealt with at Petty Sessions, and to provide that the person should be sent on to Quarter Sessions. I have been asked by those responsible for the administration of the criminal law to submit this proposal.

    The difficulty is that the fact of a person having been previously convicted would not be proved until after conviction. The Amendment appeared on the Paper with a different part of the Clause and in that position seemed unintelligible. As it is now in its right place, I have not been able to give much study to it.

    There would be no difficulty in the matter. The case would have been completed and directly it became apparent that there had been a previous conviction the person would be sent to the Quarter Sessions.

    No more than now when the case is investigated before the person is committed.

    Suppose the Court of first instance was not aware of the previous conviction, then the conviction Mould be quashed on the prisoner proving that previous conviction.

    I hardly think the prisoner would be likely, after a Petty Sessions Court sentence, to inform the authorities and get a rule to quash the conviction to get a heavier sentence. It would be against human nature.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Imprisonment.

    Clause 16—(Hard Labour And Ci Ossification Of Prisoners)

    (1) Where imprisonment is imposed by any Court in respect of the non-payment of any sum adjudged by that or any other Court to be paid the imprisonment shall be without hard labour.

    Where a person convicted by or before any Court of an offence is sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine, the imprisonment may, in the discretion of the Court, be either with or without hard labour, notwithstanding that the offence is an offence at common law or that the Statute under which the sentence is passed does not authorise the imposition of hard labour or requires the imposition of hard labour.

    (2) If no direction is given by a Court in pursuance of the powers conferred by Section six of the Prison Act, 1898, as to the division in which an offender is to be placed, the offender shall, subject to the provisions of that Section, be treated as an offender of the third division unless the visiting committee on the application of the governor of the prison consider the case suitable for treatment in the second division, and direct that the offender be so treated. Sub-section (2) of that Section shall be amended by the insertion after the words "without hard labour" of the words "or committed to prison for non-payment of a fine."

    (3) A Court or visiting committee shall not direct an offender to be treated as an offender of the second division if his character and antecedents are such that he is likely to exercise a bad influence on first offenders.

    (4) The provisions of Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section six of the Prison Act, 1898, as amended by this Section, which relate to the classification of offenders sentenced to imprisonment for offences, shall apply to cases where the person is sentenced to imprisonment for failing to do or to abstain from doing any act or thing required to be done or left undone.

    (5) Sub-section (3) of the same Section (which requires that certain prisoners shall be placed in a separate division and treated under special rules and shall not be placed in association with criminal prisoners nor be compelled to wear prison dress unless their own clothing is unfit for use), shall extend to persons committed to prison for contempt of Court, and accordingly the words "for contempt of Court" shall be inserted in that Sub-section after the words "hard labour."

    I beg to move to leave out Sub-section (1), and to insert instead thereof—

    "(1) Without prejudice to the power of the Secretary of State to make rules with respect to the labour to which pri- soners or any particular division or class of prisoners are to be or may be put, no person shall be sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour, and the punishment of bard labour is hereby abolished."
    I move this Amendment to draw attention to a point in connection with the imposition of hard labour. I am informed one effect of the provision would be that the doing away with hard labour would increase the number of drunkards and persons of that sort, who would prefer imprisonment without hard labour.

    Old offenders know too well the difference between hard labour and imprisonment without it. In the great majority of cases imprisonment already cannot be with hard labour for the nonpayment of a fine. What we propose to do is to make the law uniform.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 28—(Provisions As To Evidence, 34 And 35 Vict C 112)

    (1) The record or extract by which a conviction may be proved under Section eighteen of the Prevention of Crime Act, 1871, may in the case of a summary con viction consist of a copy of the minute or memorandum of the conviction entered in the register required to be kept under Section twenty-two of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, and purporting to be signed by the clerk of the Court by whom the register is kept.

    (2) The provisions of Section thirty of the Children Act, 1908 (which enables the evidence of a child of tender years to be received though not given on oath), shall apply to proceedings against persons for offences not mentioned in that Section, in like manner as they apply in respect of proceedings against persons for offences mentioned in that Section.

    (3) The wife or husband of a person charged with bigamy may be called as a witness