§ LORD ELCHO (Ipswich)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that, although there is no prison accommodation at Bury St. Edmunds, Assizes are still held there; whether it has been brought to his notice that untried and often innocent prisoners are publicly taken by rail in chained gangs from the Court Gaol at Ipswich to the Assizes at Bury; whether William Cocker, an Ipswich labourer, with other similar cases, was last November taken backwards and forwards in chains on three successive days before he was finally acquitted, the crime of which he 1281 was accused having been cutting the moorings of a tug; and whether Her Majesty's Government would take immediate steps to put an end to such practices, either by doing away with the Assizes at Bury, or by seeing that prison accommodation was provided there?
§ MR. MATTHEWS
The fact is as stated in the first paragraph. I have some time back called the attention of the Prison Commissioners to the subject of the conveyance of prisoners to Bury, and the Prison Commissioners have lately entered into arrangements with the Railway Authorities which I hope will prevent the prisoners brought from Ipswich from being exposed to the public gaze in the future, either on leaving or entering the railway carriage. I have no information with regard to the case of William Cocker. There are difficulties in the way of doing away with the Assizes at Bury, and I have lately received a Resolution of the West Suffolk County Council protesting against any such change. The subject is still under consideration.
§ LORD ELCHO
I beg to give notice that I will repeat the question in another form at the earliest possible opportunity.