HC Deb 25 April 1882 vol 268 cc1400-1

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is true, as stated in the "Newcastle Daily Chronicle" of the 22nd instant, that, at the Newcastle Police Court, Patrick Murray, a boy of 13, was, on the 21st instant, sentenced to receive twelve stripes of the birch for having stolen four scarfs, value one shilling and sixpence, from the door of a shop, the committing magistrate, Alderman Milvain, observing that the lad had been twice whipped before, and it was evident that he had not been whipped severely enough, or he would not have come back, and he therefore ordered the police to lay on the strokes till the blood should come from the boy's back; and, if the statement be true, if he will recommend the removal of Alderman Milvain from the Bench?


, in reply, said, that the matter had been under the consideration of the Home Secretary for some time. He received a letter from Mr. Alderman Milvain stating that the report in The Newcastle Daily Chronicle was substantially correct; that the police reported the boy to be the associate of boys of bad character, some older and some younger than himself; that in October, 1881, he had been convicted of larceny from a dwelling, and sentenced to receive 12 stripes; that in November, 1881, he was convicted of larceny from a shop, and was again sentenced to receive 12 stripes; and that it was on the third conviction—the subject of the Question—that the language was used. The Alderman went on to say that an officer superintended the whipping; and he reported that, although the boy was more severely whipped than on previous occasions, no blood was drawn. In reply, the Home Secretary expressed his regret that the Alderman had used language which had shocked public feeling; said he was glad to learn that the sentence had not been carried out with the severity which had been enjoined; and expressed the opinion that punishments of this kind could not be employed with safety, unless they were administered with moderation and with regard to humanity, especially in the case of children of tender years. Believing that these words would not be without effect upon the Alderman, and that the strong public opinion which had been expressed in reference to this case would have a salutary influence, the Home Secretary did not deem it necessary to adopt the course suggested by the Question.