HC Deb 07 December 1888 vol 331 c1411
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been drawn to the following observations of Mr. Justice Mathew, at Chelmsford Assizes on Tuesday, upon the acquittal of a lad charged with striking another lad with a piece of iron in a fight:— It is most discreditable that this boy should have been looked up since his committal. Bail should have been accepted for him. It is a desperate punishment to inflict upon a boy of 16 to be shut up even for a week in almost solitary confinement. Over and over again the Judges keep imploring the magistrates to grant bail to persons who are charged under circumstances like these; and, whether, in view of these observations, and of the large number of children committed to prison, he will issue a Home Office Circular upon the subject?


I have seen the remarks of Mr. Justice Mathew in regard to the prosecution of a boy. In the case of boys or girls under 14 committed for trial, it has been the practice of the Home Office to urge the committing magistrates to allow bail. This boy being 16 would not fall within the rule. There is no objection to a Circular pointing out the expediency of allowing youths committed for trial to go out on bail; and I will have one issued accordingly.