§ MR. ATKINSON (Boston)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether certain persons in Stamford have recently been sent to Leicester Gaol (on refusal to pay a fine), by order of the Borough Magistrates, for holding open-air services in the Market Square of the borough; if it is true that the said persons were dragged from their beds at half-past 5 o'clock in the morning, and taken to Leicester without being allowed to break their fast; and, if it is true they were handcuffed and marched through the streets as common felons?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
It is a fact that two persons were recently convicted by the Borough Justices, not for holding open-air services, but for wilfully obstructing the free passage of the highway, and refusing to move away when requested by the police. The police, anticipating disturbance, apprehended the two men between 5 and 6 in the morning, in order that they might take them to Leicester by the 6.40 train. They were not dragged from their beds; in fact, the constables did not enter their bed-rooms. It is true that they were handcuffed. I cannot say whether the sergeant had good reason for anticipating violence, or an attempt at escape; if not, in my opinion, handcuffs ought not to have been used.