HC Deb 01 June 1888 vol 326 cc885-6
MR. JOHN MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

said, that he wished to put a Question to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland, of which he had given him private Notice, with reference to a Return relating to the increase of sentences on appeal, which the right hon. Gentleman had laid upon the Table just before the Whitsuntide Recess. That Return contained no particulars beyond a number of figures. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman, whether he had any objection to supplement those figures by a statement in each of the 14 cases enumerated in the Return—(1) as to the offences charged; (2) as to the Act under which the proceedings were taken; (3) the penalty imposed in the first instance; (4) the amount of the increase in the sentence; and (5) the grounds, if any, that were assigned by the Court for the increase in each case?


, in reply: The right hon. Gentleman appears to be under some misapprehension with regard to this Return, which was not devised by me but by one of his own friends. The Government have done what every Government always does when a Return has been agreed to—that is, they have given the exact information which was asked for. The Motion of the hon. Baronet (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) was for a Return showing by counties the number of instances in which sentences in criminal cases were increased in Ireland during the year 1881, the following years, and that was the Return which was given. The right hon. Gentleman now asks me to supplement it, and I shall be very happy to do so; and, so far as I gathered from his Question, I shall be glad to give him all the particulars which he asks for, with the exception of the last. I do not think it would be proper to put in a Return the reasons given by a Judge for an increase of a sentence; but the character of the increase, and the character of the crime, I see no objection to giving.


All that the right hon. Gentleman has said with regard to the Motion of my hon. Friend is quite true; and I should not have pressed the matter further if it had not been that the right hon. Gentleman himself drew certain important political inferences, not from the figures, but from the nature of the proceedings. When I asked for the ground on which the increased sentences were based I did not wish to get any private statement, but simply the reasons which were assigned by Judges in Court.


I am afraid no record was kept of those reasons, and therefore it would be impossible.