HC Deb 07 April 1892 vol 3 cc830-1

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to a case tried at the Sheriff Court in Nairn on the 29th ultimo, when the son of a crofter pleaded guilty to night poaching, the facts being that the accused, being the only support of an aged father, and having failed to get work during the recent severe frost, had been forced by want to take a few rabbits, hundreds of which were running near his door, and that he was sentenced to imprisonment for one month, and to find caution for £20, or to suffer imprisonment for another month; and whether, in view of the fact that the law as it stands leaves the Judge no power to inflict a fine or reduce the amount of caution money, Her Majesty's Government feel disposed to take steps with the object of amending the law in the direction indicated?


The statement of facts in this question is wholly inaccurate, except that the accused pleaded guilty, and received sentence as stated. The following are the facts according to my information: The case was a bad one, without any redeeming circumstance. The accused is 40 years of age. He had on a previous occasion been charged with night poaching, and forfeited his bail. The offence now in question was committed three miles from his home. So far from being the support of his father, the accused has been a source of continual anxiety to him. There was no lack of work. His father is a hardworking, industrious man, and was actually at work on the day in question; and the accused might have shared in the work if he had been so inclined. The law as it stands gives the Judge complete power over the sentence, and he may either fine or imprison as he thinks proper.