§ SIR WALTEE FOSTER (Derby, Ilkeston)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If his attention has been called to the case of a delicate little boy, named James Smith Buckbury, aged seven years, of Ilkeston, who was sentenced on July 11th, at Ripley Petty Sessions, to receive four strokes of a birch rod for stealing a watch; whether he is aware that the child was severely injured by the strokes, more than 50 wounds penetrating through the skin of the back and abdomen, having been counted by the medical man called in to attend the child; and, whether he will take steps to prevent the administration of such punishment for the future to delicate children, and cause an inquiry to be made into the conduct of the police officer who inflicted the punishment?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I have, as yet, received no Report on the subject from the Justices, to whom I wrote on the 19th instant, I have, however, a Report 1761 from the Chief Constable, enclosing, among other statements, one from the constable who whipped the boy, and one from a friend of the boy's mother, who, at her request, witnessed the whipping. The general effect of these statements (which are too long to read, but which I shall be happy to show the hon. Baronet) is that the whipping was not a severe one; but having regard to the information I have gathered from the hon. Baronet and from the Press, I have directed further inquiries. I cannot give an opinion on the propriety of the sentence until I hear from the Justices, from whom I shall expect to receive full explanation of all the circumstances.