HC Deb 27 April 1826 vol 15 cc717-8
Mr. Secretary Peel

said, that he had already intimated to the House his intention to postpone the bill for consolidating the laws relative to Larceny till next session; but there was one law—that relative to stealing in orchards—which he could not consent to leave in its present state, even till that period. By the law, as it now stood, a school-boy stealing an apple, a passenger casually passing along a road and taking a little fruit, was guilty of a felony; and the magistrate had no discretion, but must commit for that offence. The severity of this law prevented its execution, and it failed in affording that protection to garden property, which it was intended to afford. He meant, therefore, to bring in a bill to amend the law, and give a power to the magistrate to levy a fine treble the value of the property stolen; and where the party was unable to pay this to leave the magistrate the power of committing the offender to prison. The right hon. Secretary concluded by moving for leave to bring in a bill to amend the law respecting the offence of stealing in gardens and hothouses.

Mr. D. Gilbert

expressed his approbation of the intended measure.

Mr. Sykes,

although he was glad to find that it was intended to repeal the act of last session, was nevertheless of opinion, that no new measure was necessary. The law which existed against malicious trespassing being adequate to the punishment of the offence in question.

Mr. Peel

was of opinion that the law against malicious trespassing would not extend to such offences as robbing in a garden. It was necessary to enact some other punishment than that which the law against malicious trespassing provided.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.