HC Deb 08 June 1891 vol 353 cc1821-2
MR. JORDAN (Clare, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that five officers of the Salvation Army, one of them a woman, have been ordered by the Eastbourne Magistrates to pay £5 and costs or go to prison for a month, and are at present in prison rather than pay the fine; and whether he will inquire into the circumstances of the case, and consider whether a remission of the penalty might be granted?


I am informed by the Clerk to the Justices that five members of the Salvation Army were convicted of an offence against the Eastbourne Improvement Act, 1885, which forbids processions on Sundays in the streets accompanied by instrumental music. They were sentenced to pay a fine of £5, to be recovered by distress, and in default of distress to be imprisoned for a month. Warrants of distress have been issued, but at present none of the defendants have been committed to prison. The defendants by their Counsel intimated their intention of continuing to defy the Act, and the Magistrates, having reason to believe that from the excited feeling in the town a serious breach of the peace would ensue were these processions continued, and having found by previous experience that the imposition of a nominal penalty had no deterrent effect, felt it their duty to impose the full penalty with costs. I can discover nothing in the circumstances which would justify me in interfering with the Sentence.

MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

Similar circumstances occurred some time ago at Torquay, when the Local Act was brought before this House, and this provision was repealed as being an improper one.


I am aware of that fact. But in this case special legislation exists, and I am unable to interfere.