HC Deb 24 July 1844 vol 76 cc1337-8

The Order of the Day for the second reading of the Appeal in Criminal Cases Bill having been read,

Sir J. Graham

said, he felt it incumbent upon him to make an earnest appeal to the discretion and sound sense of his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Kelly), with reference to his Bill, for conferring the right to an Appeal on persons convicted of criminal offences, and felonies of a higher degree of enormity. The question was, whether they would now recognise by the second reading of the Bill the principle of establishing an Appeal in cases of convictions for criminal offences and felonies of a deeper die. Ministers felt, that if they assented to the second reading, It must be taken to be such a recognition of the principle as would render it, sooner or later, necessary for them to introduce a Bill for that purpose into Parliament; and in this instance he must say, that the Government would be called upon to affirm a principle of the greatest importance in our law, without having had sufficient leisure or opportunity to give it that consideration which they were persuaded they ought to give to a change of so important a character. If his hon. and learned Friend would consent to postpone the subject until the next Session, he had no hesitation in saying, that in the recess the Government would give the subject their utmost attention. If, on the contrary, his hon. and learned Friend should press his Motion for the second reading to-night, he must, from a sense of duty, decline to give his support to the Motion. At the same time, he wished it to be understood, that in so acting, he did not preclude the Government from taking up the subject when they had examined it calmly, and at leisure. It was, from the advanced state of the Session, impossible now that the Bill could pass before the end of the Session, and it must be pregnant with great inconvenience if having recognised the principle, they should delay a measure of this kind for another year. Under these circumstances, he thought he was justified in requesting his hon. and learned Friend to suffer the Order to be discharged.

Mr. Kelly

had been most desirous that the measure should pass into a law in the present Session, because he believed that it was imperatively called for by the present state of the administration of the Criminal Law, He was not, however, insensible to the considerations stated by the right hon. Baronet. He had no doubt that in the interval between the present and the next Session Government would devote to the subject the degree of attention it deserved, and he trusted that when the measure was again brought forward, the principle would at once meet general concurrence.

Order for second reading of the Bill discharged, and Bill withdrawn.

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