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Poor Prisoners' Defence Act

Volume 245: debated on Thursday 20 November 1930

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asked the Home Secretary whether regulations have yet been drawn up with regard to the Poor Prisoners' Defence Act, 1930?

Regulations are in course of preparation, and it is expected that they will be published before the Act comes into operation on the 1st January, 1931.

Will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that these regulations fulfil the pledge given by the Government during the progress of this Bill, that King's Counsel should be provided in cases of exceptional difficulty?

I am sure that any pledge of that kind will not be overlooked by my right hon. Friend, and I can assure the House that all relevant facts will be taken into consideration.

With respect to a poor prisoner having the choice of his own solicitor, will the regulation which the Government promised be incorporated in the body of regulations?

I cannot answer the latter part of the question, but my hon. Friend may rest assured that all relevant facts will be taken into consideration.

But is it not true that the hon. Gentleman himself gave an explicit promise on the Committee stage of the Bill that such would be done?

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that my anxiety is caused by the fact that the Government opposed at every stage of the Bill an Amendment which contained the provision of King's Counsel?