HC Deb 05 May 1864 vol 175 c23

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, On what grounds the convict Hutchinson, sentenced to four years' penal servitude for perjury, in the case of conspiracy against Mr. Bewicke, of Threepwood Hall, had been released on a ticket-of-leave, after sixteen months imprisonment?


said, in reply, that the hon. Member had made a slight mistake. Hutchinson had not been indicted for a conspiracy, and he was released at the end of eighteen months, and not sixteen, as stated by the hon. Member. That commutation of his sentence took place upon the express recommendation of the Judge by whom the sentence was passed. Very soon after the conviction, the learned Judge informed the Under Secretary of State that though he had deemed it to be necessary at the time of the trial to pass a severer sentence upon Hutchinson than upon the other prisoners, yet the evidence was not so conclusive in his case as it was in that of Dodd. But for some circumstances which had occurred, the Judge said he believed the jury would have taken that fact into consideration in deciding upon their verdict. There was a great difference between four years' penal servitude and the other two terms of imprisonment, in the one case twelve months, and in the other two years, and he had intended after a time to recommend a mitigation of the sentence he had passed. He subsequently expressly recommended that Hutchinson should be discharged, and, in accordance with that recommendation, he was liberated after undergoing eighteen months' imprisonment.


But was the Judge aware of the character of the man?