HC Deb 13 July 1875 vol 225 cc1379-80

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been directed to a report of the case of Sarah Chandler, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, aged thirteen years, who on a visit to her aunt at the almshouses in the town had plucked a flower from a geranium, for which she was charged at the petty sessions at Spalding on Tuesday last, and sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment and four years in a Reformatory; and whether, if the facts of the case are as reported, he proposes to take any steps in the matter?


I think, Sir, that there are some very small inaccuracies in the way in which the case is stated in the Question; but I am sorry to say that substantially the facts as there given are actually true. The only steps which I thought I could possibly take in the matter were immediately to discharge the girl from custody, and to write to the magistrates to express my entire disapproval of the sentence which had been passed upon her.


asked whether it was true that two clergymen were on the Bench when the girl was examined, one of them being the presiding magistrate?


I believe there was one. I cannot say whether there were more.