§ Order for Third Reading Read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."1278
§ MR. AYRTON
said, he would more as an Amendment, that the Bill should be recommitted, in order that he might propose the addition of a clause providing that where any court or Judge refused to issue a writ of Habeas Corpus there should be a right of appeal to Her Majesty in Council.
To leave out from the words "That the" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "Order for the Third Reading of the said Bill be discharged.
§ MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE
said, the provision proposed to be inserted by the hon. and learned Gentleman was entirely novel in its character; and as it seemed to him altogether unnecessary, he felt bound, on the part of the Government, to oppose it.
§ MR. CRAUFURD
said, he would support the Motion of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Ayrton). As he read the Act, it would apply not only to the colonies, but it would deprive all the Queen's subjects of the advantage of a prerogative writ. He objected to the Bill in toto.
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, he wished to point out that in all the colonies proper there was no appeal in criminal matters to the Privy Council. The effect of the clause would be to give such an appeal, and the result would be that the due course of justice in the colonies would be seriously impeded.
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said, he thought his hon. Friend Was singular in his opinion that the act would be attended with inconvenience. The object of the Bill was to place the supreme courts in the colonies to which it would apply on the same footing as the superior courts at home. Nothing could be more inconvenient than to sent out writs of Habeas Corpus from this country. During the period which must elapse between the issue and the return of the writ the proper time for trying the prisoner might have occurred, and then would arise the question whether he ought to be tried in the interval, or whether he ought to be kept untried. If the former, of what use would be the writ? If the latter, the object of the writ would be altogether defeated.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, he could not but express great doubts as to the wisdom both of the Bill and of the Amendment. It was a very grave question whether they ought not to continue the supreme protection which the Queen now had the power 1279 of extending to all her subjects whenever their freedom might be put in jeopardy by a wrong decision. There would be no great harm in leaving the law as it stood.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 62; Noes 24: Majority 38.
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 3°.
§ Bill passed.
§ House adjourned at a quarter after One o'olock.