HC Deb 10 February 1844 vol 72 cc487-8
Sir J. Graham

would, with the permission of the House, trespass still further upon their indulgence, and ask leave to introduce the bill which stood next in order upon the Votes, for the more speedy trial of offences committed upon the High Seas, as it was one of very pressing necessity. It was a bill for securing the more speedy trial of criminals charged with offences on the High Seas. All these offences were now tried at the Central Criminal Court; the consequence of this was, that on the arrival of vessels at the outports, the depositions were taken there, and then sent up to London; witnesses were also obliged to be brought up to the Central Court at a great expense and inconvenience. By this bill he proposed, in the commissions of Oyer and Terminer, to give to Her Majesty's Judges of Assize the power of trying these offences, and that magistrates should have the power of committing to the gaol of the county in which such out-port might be situate, any person brought in there charged with offences on the High Seas, instead of its being necessary that the warrant for committal should be issued within the jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court. This would not only be a great convenience, but also a great saving of public expense.

Captain Pechell

thought, the only objection to the bill was likely to be made by the country gentlemen, on the ground of expense.

Sir J. Graham

said, he intended that the prosecutions should be conducted as heretofore, at the public expense.

Leave given, bill brought in and read a first time.