HC Deb 15 July 1837 vol 38 cc1915-6

Lord J. Russell moved that the Lords' amendments to the offences against the Person Bill be taken into consideration. The noble Lord said, that without expressing an opinion that the amendments of the Lords on the different criminal law Bills were improvements in those Bills, he proposed generally to agree to the amendments, as it was of the greatest importance that those Bills should pass during the present Session. Had those Bills been of less pressing importance, and had the Session not been so near its termination, it would have been desirable that the House should have considered more maturely than could then be done the various alterations which had been made. With respect to these Bills, the term of imprisonment had been changed from five years to three years; and with regard to solitary confinement, the clauses had been altered so as to limit that description of punishment to a month at any one time, and so as not to exceed three months in any one year. He did not say that he objected to these alterations, and he only doubted whether they did not interfere with the operation of an act which had been passed some time ago. There was another amendment which he thought was an improvement, as it took away the capital punishment for offences against the Riot Act. As it had long been his wish to effect that alteration in the criminal law, he proposed that the House should agree with the amendment of the Lords, although he doubted whether the subject had not better have been considered when a measure relating to the law of treason was brought before the House. However, as the object had been effected by the Lords in the present Bills, he should not object to it. Upon the whole, in regard to these Bills he rejoiced to find that the Lords had assimilated their views more nearly to those of that House in regard to reforms in the criminal laws of the country; and none of the alterations which had been made by their lordships were of such a nature, when the importance of passing the bills was considered, as to induce him to call upon the House to reject them.

The Lord's Amendments to the different criminal law bills were then severally agreed to.

Back to