HC Deb 16 March 1891 vol 351 cc1066-7

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the following facts relating to the case of William Lay cock, recently imprisoned for an alleged poaching offence by Hon. Harbord Harbord, at the North Walsham Petty Sessions; that Laycock was only served at 4 o'clock on a Monday afternoon with the summons requiring him to appear the following morning at 10.30; that, owing to this short interval, he was unable to obtain legal advice or secure the attendance of several witnesses material to his defence, and his application for an adjournment was refused; that the alleged offence was committed in Antingham Wood, which is within the jurisdiction of the Cromer Bench, and not of the North Walsham Bench; that the summons averred that Laycock was, "about the hour of 7," in a certain plantation, the property of Right Hon. Charles, Baron Suffield, which averment was found at the trial to have been altered to the defendant's disadvantage to "10 minutes past 7;" that the Hon. H. Harbord is the agent of Mr. Mundy (lessee of his brother, Lord Suffield), who prosecuted Laycock; and whether, having regard to the above facts, and to the fact that Laycock is an illiterate man, unable to read, he will advise a re-hearing of the case to enable him to be properly advised as to his defence, and to bring all his witnesses into Court?


I am informed by the Clerk to the Justices that the summons was served at 4 o'clock the day before the hearing. The question as to time of service was not raised before the Bench, and no intimation was made by the defendant that he wished to procure legal assistance. Had he applied, an adjournment would undoubtedly have been granted for that purpose. The offence was committed within the jurisdiction of the North Walsham Bench. The summons averred that the offence took place about the hour of seven, and was not subsequently altered. I am informed that the Chairman is not the agent of the lessee. I have no power to order a re-hearing of the case. The man's imprisonment is now at an end.