HC Deb 21 April 1846 vol 85 cc788-9

wished to ask a question of the right hon. Baronet the Master of the Mint. It appeared from a statement in The Times of the 14th of April that two cases of uttering base coin were disposed of by Mr. Powell, the Solicitor to the Mint, intimating to the Court, that by a recent regulation the Mint declined to undertake or aid prosecutions against individuals charged with passing bad money to women of infamous character. Now, such a resolution appeared to him to involve a very serious consideration and a very important principle; and he therefore wished to ask the right hon. Baronet whether the determination of the Mint to put the law in abeyance, and exclude that unfortunate class of women from all protection against the utterers of base coin, was acceded to by, and had the approbation of Her Majesty's Government; and, if that were so, then whether the same principle of non-protection was to be carried out in other offences against the same unfortunate persons?


said, that having observed in The Times newspaper the statement referred to by the hon. Gentleman, he had thought it his duty to lose no time in inquiring whether the statement was correct or otherwise, and whether there did exist at the Mint any form or regulation of the nature referred to. He was informed in answer to that inquiry that no such regulation ever did, or did at that moment exist. The report must have been founded on some mistake. He might add, that the paragraph in question having attracted the attention of his hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, his hon. and learned Friend had felt it his duty to make inquiry into it, and the result was the conviction that the report was a mistake. When cases were brought before the magistrate, the Solicitor to the Mint, in the exercise of his discretion, stated whether or not he thought there was sufficient evidence to justify him in bringing a prosecution against the parties, and as in these cases he thought there was not sufficient evidence, the magistrate at once discharged the parties accused.

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