HC Deb 03 February 1891 vol 349 cc1621-2
MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has remitted the remainder of the sentence of five years' penal servitude, passed on a woman who was convicted at the last Chester Assizes, before a Court which had been sitting for over 14 hours; whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that similarly protracted sittings frequently occur in Crown Courts at Assizes; and whether he will take such steps as will render unnecessary the continuance of this practice?


Yes, Sir; I advised the remission of this sentence, not on the ground that there had been a long sitting of the Court, but on a careful review of all the facts of the case, and with the concurrence of the learned Judge. The attention of the Home Office has not been called to any frequent occurrence of protracted sittings at Assizes. They are sometimes rendered necessary, in order to dispose of the Crown cases before the Judge of Assize is obliged to proceed to another town; and I doubt whether it would be possible to make any arrangement which would prevent this necessity occasionally arising, unless the time allotted to each assize town were much prolonged, with the consequence that judicial time would be frequently wasted.