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Juvenile Offenders (Sentence, Huntingdon)

Volume 237: debated on Friday 4 April 1930

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the conviction of two schoolboys, Basil George Fletcher and John Clark, each aged 13 years, by the St. Ives magistrates on the 24th February, 1930, and the Quarter Sessions at Huntingdon on the 1st April, 1930, for stealing an oil lamp and oil can whilst playing at a game of den in an old disused malt kiln at St. Ives, and who were sentenced to receive six, and later three, strokes of the birch each; and whether, having regard to the fact that this was the first time the boys, who are given exemplary characters, had come into a Children's Court, he will have the penalty remitted?

The hon. Member has called my attention to this case and I have had an opportunity of considering all the relevant facts. The boys were brought before the Court on two charges of larceny. They pleaded guilty to the first charge and were bound over for six months. In respect of the second charge of stealing a hurricane lamp and oil can they were sentenced to receive six strokes with the birch. They exercised their right of appeal to Quarter Sessions who, on the 1st instant, reduced the sentence to three strokes of the birch, After the most careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that the circumstances would not justify me in advising any interference with the sentence.

Recommendations.Action taken.
1. The attention of port inspectors should again be called to their powers to slaughter rejected horses.This has been done. The standing instructions of the ministry to its inspectors also deal with the point.
2. The time has now arrived when the Ministry should insist on its full requirements as regards the fittings of vessels and that exemption should be for a definite period, and that the question of renewal should depend on the record of casualties, and on the number of vessels engaged in the traffic which fully comply with the Order of 1921.This is being carried out where practicable when exemptions of particular vessels come under review. Only small variations from standard are allowed and some of the exempted vessels have already been withdrawn from the traffic. During the last few years many vessels have been built for the Continental traffic alone, the fittings of which comply in their entirety with the standard regulations.
3. Opportunity should be taken by Order of the Minister of making it an offence to carry horses on a vessel when there are reasonable grounds for supposing that rough weather will be encountered on the passage.This has been done.
4. Local authorities at ports should be required to provide a suitable place at which rejected horses could be slaughtered.The Committee acknowledge in their Report that most of the horses rejected on examination at the ports are so rejected on account of the high standard of fitness required for all exported horses and not because they are in such a physical condition as to necessitate slaughter. During the five years 1925–29, inclusive, out of 52,857 horses presented for examination, 7,800 were rejected, but none were ordered to be slaughtered by the veterinary inspector as being unfit to be kept alive. It is considered unreasonable, therefore, to require local authorities at ports of shipment to provide special abattoirs for the purpose in view.
5. Efforts should again be made to get the Belgian and Dutch Governments to amend their regulations with respect to the importation of horse carcases.Efforts have already been made, without success, to secure amendment of the Belgian and Dutch regulations in respect of the importation of horse carcases. It is considered that no useful purpose would be served by renewing these representations in present circumstances.
6. Inquiries should be instigated by the Ministry into the trade in the export of horse flesh (dead), with particular reference to chilling of flesh and improvement of transport facilities.The Ministry has used every effort to persuade shippers and shipping companies to improve the conditions under which the carcase trade is carried on, but it has no statutory control over the trade.
7. Port inspectors should be under the direct control of the chief inspector.This has been carried out.