§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether it is the case that several members of the Salvation Army were on Monday, May 1, convicted of an offence under the Procession Clause of the Torquay Harbour and District Act, and fined 40s. each or an alternative of imprisonment; whether 1815 they have refused to pay the fine; whether the alternative in one case, that of a man of very delicate health, is one month's imprisonment, the offence being the walking in a procession in which three or four musical instruments were played; whether it is the case that warrants have been issued for the arrest of these men; and, whether, in view of his recent statement of the views of the Home Office as to the inadvisability of the insertion of such a clause in Private Bills, he will cancel or mitigate the sentence on these men?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E)
I am informed by the Clerk to the Justices that on April 30 six Salvationists were convicted of an offence against the Act quoted. One man was fined 20s., which he paid. Four men were fined 40s., or in default three weeks' imprisonment. One man was fined £5, or in default one month's imprisonment. Of these five three are now in prison, and warrants have been issued for the arrest of the other two. I have no information as to the state of health of the man whose alternative was a month's imprisonment. I believe he has not yet been arrested; but I have asked for a Report as to his state of health as soon as he is received into prison. I should not be justified in interfering with the discretion of the magistrates in enforcing the clauses of a local Act merely because the Home Office objected that clauses of that character were matter for general rather than local legislation. If any special circumstances connected with the case of any of these men are brought to my notice, I will consider whether I can advise any interference with the sentences.