§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Pierce Hargreaves, who, after being detained three months in prison, was tried at Manchester Assizes on Friday last, on a charge of causing the death of his wife, when, at the close of the evidence for the prosecution, the learned Judge—Confessed that he was at a loss to understand how the case ever came before him, the evidence being compatible with the statement of the prisoner, and of the woman before her death, that the affair was the result of an accident;who was the committing magistrate; and, whether he proposed to take any action in the matter?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I have been in communication with the learned Judge and the committing magistrates (Messrs. Howorth and Higson) on the 1586 case of Pierce Hargreaves. The prisoner was committed to take his trial for manslaughter on the verdict of the Coroner's Jury. He was afterwards committed by the magistrates, who heard additional evidence, and who refused bail as the charge was a serious one, and the prisoner had been already committed, without bail, by the Coroner. The prisoner's solicitor only addressed the magistrates on the question of bail. The Judge, however, after the evidence had been sifted and tested at the Assizes, came to the conclusion that the man was innocent, and thought it his duty to do what he could to rehabilitate his character. He does not say that the magistrates were not justified in the course they took. There is no need to take any further action in the matter.