HC Deb 12 July 1844 vol 76 cc759-60
Sir J. Graham

said, the Bill which he begged leave to introduce, was for the better administration of Criminal Justice in Middlesex. The effect of this measure would be to give the Middlesex magistrates jurisdiction throughout Westminter, and a control over the Bridewell, as well as the Middlesex Prison. It proposed also, that the adjourned Quarter Sessions should be held at least twice every month in Middlesex, the effect of which would be that every fortnight there would be a gaol delivery in Middlesex. When the necessary arrangements should be made, and a prison provided, it would be the duty of the metropolitan magistrates to commit for trial to the Middlesex Prison generally, except for heinous offences. The effect of this delivery would be to relieve Newgate from its present crowded condition, to diminish the expenses of the city of London and the costs of the county of Middlesex, and to confer incalculable benefit by more frequent gaol deliveries. He should not have felt himself justified in recommending this change, unless he had made provision for a competent judge to preside at these Sessions. A measure similar to this had been contemplated by his predecessor, but a difficulty had arisen as to the appointment of a chairman, his predecessor thinking it improper to call upon the public to pay the salary of the Chairman, if he was to be elected by the Middlesex Magistrates, instead of being nominated by the Crown. The Middlesex magistrates had, however, now consented to leave the appointment of the Chairman to the Crown if the public would consent to pay his salary. He would not then trouble the House with any further details of the measure; he had brought forward the measure as soon as its details could be satisfactorily adjusted, and he was anxious that the Bill should pass without delay.

Mr. Hawes

did not doubt that the measure was a valuable one in a public point of view. He could, however, have wished that the right hon. Baronet had also looked to the Surrey side of the water, where there was an enormous gaol delivery. A similar provision for that portion of the county of Surrey would have been most valuable, and the whole jurisdiction of the Central Criminal Court would have been brought into something like uniformity. He could have wished also, when this Bill was under the consideration of the right hon. Gentleman, that he would have considered what were the claims of those who administered justice in the Central Criminal Court. He thought the learned Solicitor General would concur with him in thinking that the system of the Central Criminal Court might have been reviewed. He could not recognize the justice of providing for Middlesex the great advantage of a Judge to be appointed by the Crown, and to be paid by the Crown, without extending similar privileges to the county of Surrey; and if the Bill should be found to work well in Middlesex, he hoped the county of Surrey would be considered in a future Session.

Leave given. Bill brought in and read a first time.

House adjourned at one o'clock.