HC Deb 14 April 1864 vol 174 cc968-9

said,!would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been directed to the charge of the Chairman of the Quarter Sessions for Cumberland, showing the cost of prosecutions at the Sessions and Assizes to be an average of rather more than £12 for each prosecution; while under the Criminal Justices Act the average was rather more than £1 6s. per head; whether his attention has been called to a case tried at the last Assizes at Winchester, in which the prisoner had elected to be tried at the Assizes, where, after lying nearly two months in prison, at the cost of the county, he was sentenced to fourteen days' imprisonment, his companion in crime having agreed to be tried at Petty Sessions, and having been there sentenced to fourteen days' imprisonment; and whether it is in contemplation to propose any course tending to a more uniform mode of proceeding and to the extension of the Act?


in reply, said, he had not seen the charge of the Chairman of Quarter Sessions until a copy had been sent to him by the hon. Baronet. He had no doubt that the statement of the hon. Baronet was correct—that the expenses of a prosecution at the Sessions or Assizes were very much higher than under the Criminal Justices Act. With regard to the case tried at the Winchester Assizes, he supposed that the Judge in passing the sentence of fourteen days' imprisonment must have taken into consideration that the prisoner had been already two months in gaol, which would account for the apparent disproportion between the sentence being nominally the same as that passed upon his associate in crime. He had no doubt that the Criminal Justices Act had been very beneficial in its operation. The Government, however, had no intention at present to extend its provisions.