MR. CONYBEAER (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is the fact that a man named Henry Skinner was, on the 23rd of August last, sentenced by Mr. Montagu Williams to two months' hard labour for an assault; whether at the trial, in consequence of the magistrate's strong expression of opinion in favour of sending the case for trial, the prisoner's solicitor declared his intention of reserving his defence, and of calling his witnesses at the Assizes; whether, in spite of that, and without giving the prisoner's solicitor any opportunity of calling his witnesses, the magistrate proceeded at once to deal with the case himself; whether, under any circumstances, a magistrate has the right to refuse to hear witnesses called for the defence of a prisoner; and, whether he will direct a further inquiry into the case?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
, in reply, 284 said, he was informed that in the case referred to the prisoner's solicitor asked Mr. Montagu Williams to send the case for trial. When told by the magistrate that he had no intention of sending the case for trial, the solicitor did not call any witnesses, though Mr. Williams said he would have heard any evidence that might have been produced.