HC Deb 21 February 1873 vol 214 cc789-90

asked the Home Secretary, Whether his attention has been called to the penalties mentioned in sec. 2 of 35th and 36th Vict., c. 78 (Wild Birds Protection Act), wherein the first offence is to be visited by a reprimand and discharge on payment of "costs and summons," and for every subsequent offence the penalty is to be one, including costs of conviction, not exceeding 5s.; and, whether the effect of this enactment was not (even by statutory official fees) to make a person (except in the metropolitan district) liable for a sum of 6s. 6d. at least—and probably 9s.—for a first offence, while for a second or subsequent offence he could not be made to pay more than 5s. altogether; and, whether, seeing that the Act came into operation on the 15th of March next, the Home Secretary thought it necessary to provide a remedy for this anomaly previous to that date?


in reply, said, that his attention had been called to this subject. No doubt, under the operation of the words as they stood in the Act, it would be in the power of a magistrate to inflict for a first offence a heavier penalty than for a second, although such was obviously not the intention of the Legislature. There had, no doubt, been a mistake in the printing, by which the words "payment of costs of summons" had been altered to "payment of costs and summons." The magistrates, however, had a discretion with respect to imposing costs, and he felt satisfied they would exercise that discretion so as to obviate the anomaly to which the hon. Gentleman referred. It was, he thought, hardly worth while to introduce an amending Act for the purpose of remedying so palpable a mistake.

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