§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ MR. CHILDERS
said, he must repeat his objection to the Bill, that it transferred to the Consolidated Fund certain charges in connection with criminal offences hitherto borne by individuals without any of the forms prescribed by the House having been gone through. That was a proceeding which was of an inconvenient character and formed a precedent which the House ought to resist. He hoped the House would require the examination of the charges by a Committee of the whole House, and would not admit that, in consequence of an arrangement between the promoters of the Bill and the occupants of the Treasury Bench, that they were bound to include these expenses in the Estimates, and vote them year by year.
§ MR. HUNT
said, that the proceeding that was proposed by the Bill was in accordance with an arrangement suggested by Sir Robert Peel in 1846. He took it that they were doing nothing more than was done when the cost of prosecutions was first thrown on the means voted by Parliament, as was done by Sir Robert Peel in 1846. He gave great consideration to the suggestion of his hon. Friend, and though he was at first anxious to assent to such a clause, he had afterwards concluded that considerable difficulty would arise on the question of expense. He believed that if the Bill were passed into law, the expenses of prosecution would become considerably lessened; because under the present law there were often three or four witnesses summoned to one fact, and therefore the public would probably be materially benefited.
said, he thought there were reasons why they should not argue too rapidly from the precedent of 1846. The measure of that year was carried under circumstances of extraordinary pressure, and since that time a keener eye had been kept upon the public expenditure. He accepted the declaration of the hon. Member that the House would be as entirely free to consider the subject when the Vote for the expenses of criminal prosecutions was proposed as if the present Bill had not passed.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. CHATTERTON)
did not think that this Bill would decrease the cost of prosecutions.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read the third time, and passed.