HC Deb 17 July 1856 vol 143 c975

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether measures would be adopted for further mitigating the laws imposing capital punishment in the Colonies, in conformity with the laws imposing capital punishment in Great Britain?


said, it was quite true that, although generally the law of capital punishment in the Colonies differed little in practice from that which was established in this country, yet there were exceptions to the rule—in Ceylon, for instance, where the old Roman and Dutch law prevailed; some of the West India islands, where there were many obsolete laws yet in force; and in the Australian colonies, where capital punishments had very recently been carried out in cases of aggravated burglary. In the case of Ceylon and the West India Islands he was quite ready to consider whether it might not be advisable to remove those laws from the Statute-book, but the Australian colonies had their own local Legislatures, which were the best judges of the cases in which capital punishment ought to be carried out.