HC Deb 01 March 1886 vol 302 c1528

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether his attention has been called to the extraordinary delay in the discharge of criminal business that took place at the Liverpool City Sessions during the interval that elapsed between the death of the late Recorder, Mr. J. B. Aspinall, Q. C. and the appointment of the present Recorder, Mr. Hopwood, Q. C.; whether it is a fact that, as a deputy-recorder cannot act on the death of a recorder, the sessions in question had to be adjourned three times by the mayor, thereby causing great hardship to untried prisoners, some of whom might be innocent; and, whether, in view of this condition of affairs, if it be correctly described, it is his intention to introduce a Bill amending the Municipal Act in such a way that this anomalous state of things cannot again arise?


said, that before the hon. and learned Gentleman answered the Question he wished to ask him whether he was aware that all the prisoners remaining for trial at the City Sessions at Liverpool were tried at the Assizes which only concluded a week ago, and that, as a matter of fact, there were no prisoners remaining for Mr. Hopwood to try?


, in reply, said, his hon. and learned Friend opposite (Mr. Addison) was substantially correct; but it was true that some delays had taken place, by reason of the fact that in the existing state of the law the Deputy Recorder could not act in the event of the death of the Recorder. As a matter of fact, there was no one single prisoner awaiting trial who was retained in custody in consequence of the delay. At the same time, he quite saw that it was very desirable that some provision should be made for meeting the case by giving the Deputy Recorder power to act on the death of the Recorder.