HC Deb 16 July 1877 vol 235 c1327

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called by a Memorial signed by 250 of the attorneys, merchants, tradesmen, and others, of the town of Driffield, to the fact that two men, of the names of Styran and Crowther, in the employment of Taylor's Patent Sewing Machine Company Limited, were sentenced by the justices at the Driffield Petty Sessions, on the 14th June last, to a fine and costs, amounting to £2 17s. 6d. each, or, in default, to six weeks' imprisonment; and, further, that notwithstanding this sentence, and the tender of the money on behalf of the men within seventeen minutes of the decision, the magistrates' clerk refused to receive it, and made out the commitment to the Beverley House of Correction, omitting entirely that part of the decision which gave the men the option of a fine; and, whether he will recommend compliance with the prayer of the Memorial?


, in reply, said, that if the facts of the case were as stated by the hon. Member, he would at once have acted in accordance with the suggestion made in the Question; but he was assured by the magistrates that the facts were not as stated. The men did not get the option of a fine, but had been convicted of stealing, and that under an Act of Parliament according to which the magistrates had, in their judgment, no option but absolute imprisonment. Indeed, he was assured by the magistrates that even had they possessed the power, they would not have exercised it. The whole matter as to the fine and costs of each prisoner amounting to £2 17s. 6d., and the option, probably arose from some statement made by the Chairman of the Bench at the beginning of the proceedings, but which had nothing to do with the final determination which was arrived at.