HC Deb 17 March 1890 vol 342 cc1008-9
MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

I beg to ask the Attorney General whether his attention has been called to the fact that, on Sunday, 2nd March, one Hoyle, a bailiff of the Wakefield County Court, assisted by other bailiffs,, arrested Henry Ward on a commitment order for non-payment of 13s. 10d. costs, and handcuffed the said Henry Ward, and convoyed him thus handcuffed through the streets to Wakefield gaol; and whether such arresting and handcuffing is in accordance with law?


In answer to the question of the hon. Member I have to state that the high bailiff of the Wakefield County Court informs me that on August 8, 1889, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Henry Ward for disobedience to an order made on a judgment summons for the payment of 14s. 7d. debt and costs. On November 25 a bailiff of the County Court arrested Ward, who asked to be allowed to fetch his coat, and, being permitted to do so, took the opportunity of escaping from custody. Search was made, but without success, until Sunday, March 2, 1890, when two bailiffs entered Ward's house and told him they had come to re-arrest him. Ward threatened the bailiffs with violence, and attempted to seize a poker in the room. The bailiff warned him that if violence was attempted he would have to use handcuffs. Ward then assaulted the bailiff, who handcuffed him and took him to the police office, where, he was temporarily detained in order to give his wife time to get the money, so that it might not be necessary to lodge him in gaol. Upon the above facts the arrest was, in my opinion, in accordance with law, inasmuch as a person who has, wrongfully escaped from the custody of the law may be re-taken at any time, as well on a Sunday as on a week day. The bailiffs were also justified in handcuffing Ward, having regard to his previous escape and the violence he had shown. I should add that when, subsequently, the money not having been paid, it was necessary to remove the prisoner to gaol, the handcuffs were not used, as the prisoner no longer showed signs of violence.