HC Deb 15 May 1877 vol 234 cc989-90

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Thomas Yarwood, of Knutsford, auctioneer's clerk, arrested there on or about the 23rd ultimo, and charged with being drunk and assaulting the police, kept there that night, and removed in handcuffs the following morning to Altrincham, and there sentenced to two months' imprisonment with hard labour; whether the removal to Altrincham or the handcuffing was justifiable; whether the man was wounded and ill-used by the police to the extent that the doctor in the prison in consequence, after sentence, advised that he was unfit to undergo hard labour; whether Yarwood requested an adjournment to prepare his defence and it was refused; whether there is not evidence now forthcoming that the man was not guilty of the offence; and, whether, considering that local feeling is greatly aroused on the subject, he will deal with the case by inquiry, or otherwise, at once?


in reply, said, his attention had been called to the case alluded to by the hon. and learned Member. He had no reason to think that the treatment of the man was illegal in any way. He had more than once expressed his own opinion that handcuffs ought never to be used except when absolutely necessary to prevent escape. In the present case he did not think there had been the slightest necessity for using them. He must also say that, while there could be no doubt that the man had committed an assault upon the police, he had suffered more violence than was absolutely necessary and than was justifiable. The magistrates informed him that every opportunity had been given to the prisoner to produce witnesses and have his case properly defended. The prisoner had called one witness, but the evidence had not satisfied the magistrates, and the charge had been substantially proved. In the circumstances of the case, he had, after communication with the magistrates, decided that one-half of the sentence should be remitted.