HC Deb 03 July 1820 vol 2 cc155-6

The House having gone into a committee on this bill,

Mr. Chetwynd

said, it was his intention to propose three additional clauses to this bill. The first of them was, to enable judges to pass sentence upon defendants at Nisi Prius, instead of bringing them up to the court of King's Bench.

The Attorney-General

said, that an objection in limine existed against the clause proposed by the hon. member. When defendants were brought up to the court of King's Bench, they had a right to move for a new trial, for a writ of error, or in arrest of judgment. The effect of the clause would be to deprive them of these advantages. Whatever opinion the House might entertain of the expediency of such an alteration if introduced to them as a specific measure, there could be no question as to the impropriety of entertaining it in the crude shape in which the hon. gentleman had brought it forward.

Mr. Chetwynd

observed, that in offences against the revenue not a single instance of a new trial had occurred in the last year.

Mr. G. Bankes

thought that the clause proposed would be more properly made the subject of a specific measure.

The Attorney General

was of opinion, that in the cases which had been pointed at, it might be very important to the parties to possess the right of moving for a new trial. He therefore could not consent to adopt the clause. He explained and justified the increased amount of law charges for the last year, and proceeded to show that the statement recently made by the late member for Colchester receiving briefs and counsel being paid for all prosecutions throughout the country whether they attended them or not was erroneous.

The clause was rejected, and as Mr. Chetwynd did not press his other clauses, the House resumed.