HC Deb 29 July 1834 vol 25 cc711-3
Mr. Hutt

rose to ask the hon. Gentleman, the Under Secretary of the Home Department, whether he had received any information as to the case of Major Pittman, a Magistrate, who had been found guilty of an offence against the law?

Mr. John Stanley

said, that he had received no information upon the subject, but, perhaps, his noble friend, the member for the county of Devon, could give the hon. Gentleman some.

Lord Ebrington

said, that he first heard of the matter on Thursday last, through what purported to be an extract from a letter, giving an account of an assault committed by a Magistrate of the county of Devon; and he then thought it his duty to wait upon the Lord Chancellor, when he found that the noble and learned Lord's attention had been already called to the matter, and received his direction to make further inquiry into it, and to inform him of the result. By the last post he had received an answer to a letter which he had addressed to the Chairman of the Petty Sessions, which stated, that the circumstances as reported in the paper were substantially correct. Perhaps, however, it would be right for him to state, that that Gentleman added, that it was his impression, and that he believed it to be that of his brother Magistrates, that a sufficient example had already been made for the ends of justice by the punishment inflicted by the Court. He had also received a letter from Major Pittman, expressing a hope, that a week's time would be allowed him to enable him to send up a statement, which he trusted would remove the unfavourable impression which the case had created. In this stage of the proceedings it would, of course, be improper for him (Lord Ebrington) to express any opinion in a matter so deeply affecting not only the office held by Major Pittman, but also his character as a Gentleman. No proceedings would, of course, be taken, until Major Pittman had had the fullest opportunity of explanation, and until the Lord Chancellor was fully in possession of the whole of the circumstances. When that period had arrived, no doubt such steps would be taken as were necessary to satisfy the justice of the case, and also to uphold the character of the Bench.

Colonel Davies

did not understand upon what ground the House had been referred to the noble Lord in such a case. He thought such an interference and explanation quite irregular, seeing that the noble Lord was only Member for the county.

Lord Ebrington

said, he was Vice-lieutenant of the county also.

The subject was dropped.