HC Deb 21 June 1847 vol 93 cc761-2

wished to ask whether it was the intention of the Government to provide any remedy for an evil which had grown up and prevailed in the Central Criminal Court—a court which ought to be an example to all other criminal courts in the kingdom. He alluded to the practice of not giving briefs for the prosecution to counsel in cases of felony or misdemeanour; or of giving a fee which was so small that no respectable counsel would take it. By this means the Judge, who was very frequently quite ignorant of the previous facts of the case, was obliged to examine the witnesses, and, contrary to his proper office, was literally a counsel against instead of for the prisoner. A similar evil practice prevailed in the courts in the northern districts of the country.


said, that the attention of the Government had been called to this evil, as existing in the Central Criminal Court, and arrangements were in progress to obviate the inconvenience complained of. He could not, however, undertake to say that the Government was prepared to take measures for giving fees in all cases.