HC Deb 11 February 1887 vol 310 cc1217-8

Before putting the following Question, I desire to say that the bad grammar in it is not mine. The Question is—To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether the right of the Crown in criminal cases to direct jurors to stand by is in England seldom or never exercised; and, that the only procedure by which particular jurors are in England excluded from the jury box by the Crown in any case can be equally availed of by the accused.


By way of preface I may take the liberty of pointing out to the hon. Member that the Home Department is not a legal department of the Government; therefore, in answering Questions of law, I cannot undertake to be always correctly informed. I beg to say that the right of the Crown to which the hon. Member refers is practically exercised. The accused has a peremptory challenge to six jurors; whereas the Crown has no right to a peremptory challenge without showing cause. To any other challenges the accused must show cause; but need only state the grounds upon which he challenges the six jurors.

MR. R. T. REID (Dumfries, &c.)

wished to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether he had ever known a case in England in which more than one or two of the same jury had been ordered to stand aside?

MR. J. E. REDMOND (Wexford, N.)

inquired whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman was acquainted with the passage in Sir James Stephen's History of the Criminal Law, in which he said— Practically speaking, this—the exercise of rights by the Crown—is a matter of hardly any importance at the present day in England. In the course of my experience I do not remember more than one or two occasions on which there have been any considerable number of challenges?


I have never read that passage.

MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)

asked whether the Home Secretary's reply referred also to cases of misdemeanour?


I expressly said "in cases of felony." In cases of misdemeanour, as far as I know, nobody has a right of peremptory challenge—neither the Crown nor the accused.

MR. B. COLERIDGE (Sheffield, Attercliffe)

wished to ask the Home Secretary whether he had read the law laid down in the case of "The Queen v.Blakeman?"—


The hon. and learned Member is now asking a Question which does not fairly arise upon the Question on the Paper.