HC Deb 05 March 1888 vol 323 cc163-4
MR. H. S. WRIGHT (Nottingham, S.)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether it is a fact that, at the last election of Poor Law Guardians at Nottingham, Mr. Metcalf was disqualified from serving by reason of his having been convicted of felony at the previous Winter Assizes; whether such act of felony was his having caused the death of a passenger in the street below by letting fall from a window of his warehouse a heavy tarpaulin, which was admittedly a pure accident; whether the Judge who tried the case (Mr. Justice Grantham) sentenced him to one day's imprisonment, to date from the opening of the Assizes, whereupon he was immediately released; and, whether, if under the present state of the law he is disqualified for life from serving again, he will take means to have the law altered, by giving the Judges the power of dispensing with the civil disqualifications in such cases as the above, where the felony has been one of a technical nature only, and making such alteration retrospective to provide for this and any similar cases?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

Mr. Metcalf was convicted for feloniously killing and slaying Thomas Searcy, and the sentence, as stated in the Question, was one day's imprisonment. Section 18 of 4 & 5 Will. IV. c. 76 enacts that no person shall be eligible to hold any parish office, or have the management of the poor in any way whatever, who shall have been convicted of felony. The Board are of opinion that Mr. Metcalf, by operation of this provision, is disqualified for again serving the office of Guardian. The Board issued an Order declaring their decision to this effect in order to afford Mr. Metcalf the opportunity of having the Order brought up by certiorari and a decision of a Court obtained on the question. No proceedings, so far as the Board are aware, have been taken with that view. The case is, undoubtedly, a hard one; but I am afraid I cannot hold out any expectation that an alteration of the law will be made.