HC Deb 05 March 1888 vol 323 c190
MR. M'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the sentence passed on the 29th of February by the Maidenhead magistrates on William Cartland and John Herbert, of £1 and 10s., or 14 and seven days' hard labour respectively, for the offence of trespassing on Pinkney's Green Common in search of game, with two dogs, the only evidence against them being that of one gamekeeper, who stated that they beat some bushes on the common, turned up a hare, and that when the dogs ran after it they did not call them off; whether the prisoners declared that they called the dogs off, and that they had no intention of searching for game, but were merely walking across the Common; whether, as the men are poor, Cartland being obliged to get a week allowed in which to raise the money, he will advise the magistrates to modify the sentence; or, if either of them go to prison in default, he will order their release; and, whether a freeholder and commoner on Pinkney's Green Common is liable to be arrested by a gamekeeper if, when walking over the Common with a dog, it raises a hare, and he does not at once call it off?


I have received a letter from the Chairman of the Maidenhead Bench, from which I gather that both men were seen by the gamekeeper of the gentleman who has manorial rights over the Common beating the furze bushes near the edge of the common with sticks for 20 minutes. They had two dogs with them. They found a hare, and both dogs and men gave chase, when the keeper showed himself. Neither of them was arrested by the keeper; but they appeared on summons in the ordinary way. Cart-land had several previous convictions against him. It does not seem to me to be a case which calls for any interference on my part.


asked whether commoners had a right to walk over a common with dogs?


Clearly they have—supposing there is a right of way.