§ MR. J. G. TALBOT
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been drawn to the case of William Cleary, charged on the 26th instant, before Mr. D'Eyn-court, with violently assaulting his wife, whom he twice knocked down and struck several times; and to the case of James Stroulett, charged on the same day, before Mr. Lushington, with violently assaulting Mary Thompson, whom he struck in the face, on the arm and shoulder, and again in the eye; and, whether, considering that the punishment awarded in each case was of three months and two months imprisonment respectively, and that the Offences against the Person Bill has been withdrawn, he will give such instructions to the stipendiary magistrates as will insure better protection to Her Majesty's subjects in London and other large towns?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
, in reply, said, he had put himself in communication with the magistrates in question. With regard to the first case, he was informed that, although it was apparently a bad case, yet no serious harm had been done. The magistrates were under the impression that in this class of cases it would not do to inflict too heavy punishments, because there was great difficulty in getting women and others to prosecute; and if such cases were sent for trial prosecutions would be still more rare than they were. He (Mr. Cross) must confess that he did not quite agree in that view; but it would be impertinent in him to send round instructions such as his hon. Friend had referred to. Indeed, he had no power to do so. He had no hesitation, however, in saying that, in his opinion, these serious assaults were far too leniently dealt with. The Home Office would take great care in watching the sentences passed upon the perpetrators of brutal 173 assaults, in order that, if necessary, the Government might bring forward a Bill on the subject next year.