HC Deb 10 March 1884 vol 285 cc1027-8

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether in England counties are relieved from the expense of conveying prisoners from the time the magistrate signs the warrant of committal to prison, either on remand for trial or on summary conviction, whereas in Ireland counties are only relieved from these expenses from the time a prisoner has been actually received into prison, when he has been brought there on a warrant committing him for trial or on summary conviction; whether Irish counties have been deprived of the relief accorded to English counties only by a trifling technical difference in the wording of the sections of the two Prisons Acts of 1877, referring to both countries severally; whether Irish counties are liable to annual charges amounting in the aggregate to about fifteen thousand pounds for expenses in the conveyance of prisoners, from which English counties have been relieved; and, whether he can facilitate any measure of legislation for the purpose of assimilating the Law in Ireland on the matter of the expenses of conveying prisoners with that in England?


Sir, my right hon. Friend (Mr. Trevelyan) has requested me to answer this Question. The answer to the first part of the Question of the hon. Member is in the affirmative. There is a difference in the wording of the sections of the English and Irish Prisons Acts; and that difference was held sufficient in England, by the Court of Appeal reversing the Court below, to throw upon the Public Exchequer all expenses in respect of conveyance of prisoners incurred subsequent to the making of the order of committal. The annual charges to which Irish counties are liable, and from which English counties have been relieved, are considerably over-stated in the Question. The charge for the year 1883–4 is about £11,250; but this includes a very considerable sum not affected by the subject to which the Question refers. I think it would be very desirable that the law in England and Ireland should be assimilated on one basis or the other.