HC Deb 05 July 1888 vol 328 cc425-6
MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the language reported to have been used by the Lord Chief Baron in the Dublin Exchequer Division on Monday last— The magistrates were in the habit of entirely mistaking their duties in the matter of stating cases. They should state the grounds of their decision, and not apply their functions to any particular objection. The whole of the proceedings were to come up for examination. And, above all, they should prepare the case themselves quickly, and without communication with any one. And by Baron Dowse— Unless the magistrates are made over again they will never do that, just because they could not do it. If you can get one of them that can do it himself he ought to be sent to the British Museum; whether Baron Dowse further remarked— I cannot understand why it has been so often said that this Act created no new offence. Why, this is a new offence; and, whether, in view of these judicial utterances, he proposes to take steps for securing better means of testing the legality of sentences in the Courts of Summary Jurisdiction under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act?


(who replied) said: The observations attributed to the learned Judges by the report in the case referred to were directed against a long-existing practice as to the mode of carrying out the preparation and settlement of cases stated for the Superior Court under the Act of Parliament. The Lord Chief Baron added— I have said what I have said deliberately, in order that no observations of mine could be tortured into a reflection on the magistrates. There is no reason to infer from anything that occurred in the case referred to that the existing means of testing the legality of sentences are in any degree inadequate.

MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether the answer which he has just given would apply equally to the remarks of Baron Dowse, where he is reported to have said that as to asking one of the Justices through the country to state a case to one of the Superior Courts, you might as well ask him to write a Greek ode?

[No reply.]


The hon. and learned Gentleman has not answered the second part of my Question.


I have no doubt that it is correctly reported.

MR. ANDERSON (Elgin and Nairn)

I wish to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, does the Government agree with the observations of the learned Judge?


Order, order! It is an irregular Question, to ask the Government whether they agree with the observations of the learned Judge.


I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury, whether, in view of the fact that the quotation is admitted to be a correct one, the Government still adhere to the opinion repeatedly expressed by them that the Act does not constitute any new offence?

THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)

Yes, Sir.