HC Deb 05 July 1843 vol 70 cc731-2

On the question that the Coroners' Bill be re-committed.

Mr. Pakington

moved, that it be recommitted that day six months.

Sir J. Graham

was bound to state, that he should vote in favour of this bill going into committee. He attached great importance to the last clause of this bill, and thought that the objections to it could only be properly discussed in committee.

The House divided on the question, that the word "now" stand part of the question. Ayes 134; Noes 41; Majority 33.

The House in committee.

On Clause 2,

Coroner to receive 25s. for each inquest, and ls. 6d. per mile for travelling expenses.

Mr. Barneby

objected to any alteration in the remuneration of coroners, and moved an amendment embodying his objection.

Mr. Hume

seconded the amendment. It appeared that the increase of fees was only contemplated in consequence of the representations of the coroners themselves; but believing the amount already paid to be fully adequate, he thought that the House ought not to add to the burden on the various counties on such representations.

Mr. Wakley

thought, that if this amendment was agreed to, it would introduce economy without reason. He did not believe, that there was any class of officers so badly paid as coroners, and this was well known to all who were acquainted with their duties. The existing fees were fixed ninety years ago, and propositions for increasing them had passed this House no fewer than six times, but had been subsequently lost. In order to perform the duties of his office, he was compelled to keep four horses, and two carriages, the amount of mileage which he received was less than 1001. per annum. He maintained, that the existing remuneration to coroners, considering their painful and arduous duties, was inadequate, and that they were entitled to receive an adequate amount of remuneration.

The committee divided on the question, that the word fees stand part of the clause. Ayes 41; Noes 34;—Majority 7.

The committee again divided on the question, that the words twenty-five, to give the coroner a fee of 25s. stand part of the clause. Ayes 34; Noes 32;—Majority 2.

The committee divided on the question, that the word "sixpence" stand part of the clause, in order to give the coroners ls. 6d. per mile. Ayes 40; Noes 28;— Majority 12.

Clause to stand part of the bill.

On clause 3, coroners to be paid for attendance at assizes, and for adjourned sittings.

Mr. Barneby

proposed to omit the words which gave payment to coroners, when attending courts of justice in the ordinary routine of their business.

Mr. Wakley

thought that coroners were unnecessarily and improperly called upon to attend at Quarter Sessions and Assizes. If they had properly conducted an inquest, their documents ought to speak for themselves.

The committee divided on the question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question. Ayes 33; Noes 42;—Majority 9.

Clause rejected.

On the 4th clause, qualification of deputy coroner,

Mr. Hume

proposed, that in case of a deputy acting, he should receive three-fourths of the fees and allowances to which the coroner would be entitled, in case the coroner himself had attended.

The committee divided on the question, that the proposed words be inserted. Ayes 51; Noes 63;—Majority 12.

Mr. Roebuck

moved that the Chairman report progress.

The committee divided. Ayes 61; Noes 103; Majority 42.

After some further conversation,

House resumed, committee to sit again.