HC Deb 22 November 1830 vol 1 cc627-9
Mr. Curteis

moved the third reading of the Sussex Special Jury Bill.

Mr. Campbell

said, that he continued of opinion, that the measure was of an injurious character, and that it would tend to prevent a fair and impartial administration of justice. The Bill proceeded altogether upon a false assumption of the law with respect to where the Assizes were held, the places not being permanently fixed by law, but changeable at the pleasure of the Crown. He did not know what could be done in cases of remanets, if the Bill were to pass. In this respect the Bill was, in fact, opposed to what it pretended to accomplish; for as the Assizes were held alternately in the eastern and western parts of the county, and as the remanets from one Assize were tried at the next, the Special Jurors who had been summoned in such causes in the first instance from one division of the county, would have to attend the trial in the other. He thought the general system ought not to be broken in upon by any such local Bills.

Mr. O'Connell

thought, that as the learned Member's objections were technical, they ought to have been stated in the Committee. The cases of remanets were provided for in the Bill.

Mr. Curteis

had no wish whatever to exclude petty Jurymen from any advantages to be given to especial Jurymen under the Bill. It should be remembered that the county of Sussex was 100 miles long, and only thirty broad, and it was a great hardship to call upon Jurymen to travel such a vast distance. The Bill had been brought in with the approbation and at the desire of a very considerable body of the freeholders of the county. The districts for selecting Juries would be fifty miles long, by thirty broad, and it was not likely that Juries could be packed. He had seen an observation in another place than that House, that Special Jurymen were paid for their trouble, and consequently that it was not necessary to consult their convenience so much as that of petty Jurors; but the payment was only one guinea, and which was unworthy of consideration with respect to the distance they had to travel. If' the districts into which the Bill would divide the county were too small for the fair selection of Juries, what must be the case in Rutlandshire, Huntingdon, and Hertfordshire? and yet no complaints of partiality in the selection of Juries were made in those small counties. There was a special clause in the Bill, providing for remanets.

Sir R. Peel

thought the House under great obligations to the hon. member for Stafford (Mr. Campbell) for his observations upon the Bill, which certainly formed a precedent for circumscribing the districts from which Juries were selected, and therefore the Bill trenched upon the principles of the Jury Act. Practically speaking, Sussex was divided into two parts—the eastern and western, and they were separated more than parts of counties generally were. Upon the whole, he thought the local convenience of the county would be very much consulted by the Act, and he, for one, should not be disposed to offer it any opposition.

Lord George Cavendish

wished for a postponement of the measure, to facilitate the arrangement of its details.

Sir James Scarlett

did not wish to obstruct the Bill, if the gentlemen of the county, who must be the best judges of the matter, were favourable to it; but the question was, whether the distance from which Special Jurors must be summoned was such as to render it worth while to pass a law on the subject.

Mr. Denman

thought the Bill calculated to afford a reasonable degree of accommodation to the county, and anticipated no greater inconvenience in Sussex, when thus divided, than in other large divisions of counties, provided a sufficient fund of Special Jurors could be found within it. He thought, however, that the part of the Bill relating to remanets required further consideration, and therefore he hoped that the Bill would be postponed.

Mr. Curteis

postponed the third reading-till the 1st of February.