HC Deb 13 June 1872 vol 211 c1686

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, What is the result of the inquiry he has made into the conduct of the magistrates sitting in petty-sessions at Collumpton on Monday June 3rd, in the case of John Webber, a farm labourer?


, in reply, said, he had received explanations from the magistrates on this subject. In the first place, he might observe that the decision itself at which they arrived had reference to one of the most difficult questions with which magistrates had to deal—namely, what is and what is not a contract, and for what time was that contract made; and he was bound to say that, after reading the explanations, the decision was honestly arrived at, whether it was a correct decision or not. With regard to the scene that followed, the chairman of the magistrates denied, in warm terms, the accuracy of the statement made by the person who had described the scene. No doubt the conduct of the magistrates, if correctly represented by that person, could not be defended; but as the accuracy of the statement was disputed the course to be pursued, in case of further action being taken, was to make distinct charges to the Lord Chancellor, who was the officer deputed by law to deal with such matters.