HC Deb 24 April 1884 vol 287 cc451-2

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called by direction of any of the Metropolitan Police Magistrates, or by residents in Wimbledon or elsewhere, to the defects of the Law in regard to cases of wilful damage to property by boys under the age of sixteen years; whether boys under sixteen, who cause wilful damage to property with intent to steal, may, under "The Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879," be ordered by a magistrate to be privately whipped instead of being sent to prison, but when such boys cause wilful damage to property without intent to steal, the magistrate has no such alternative power unless the damage exceeds £5, and, in default of the offenders paying a fine and the value of the damage done, he is bound to send them to prison for a term not exceeding two calendar months; and, whether, under these circumstances, the Government will take steps to relieve magistrates from the obligation in such cases of sending boys to prison by extending "The Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879," to cases of wilful damage by boys under sixteen years of age, whether such damage does or does not exceed £5 in amount?


As my hon. and learned Friend is aware, I have long had this subject under consideration, and am anxious to deal with it. But the question has been postponed until action has been taken upon the Report of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Commission. All I can say is, that I entirely agree in the views taken by my hon. and learned Friend. I have also had communications with the Police Magistrates of London. I hope that effect will be given to the views of my hon. and learned Friend.