HC Deb 09 May 1892 vol 4 cc368-9

I beg to ask the Attorney General what number of judgment summonses were heard before His Honour Judge Abdy at Waltham Abbey on Wednesday, 20th April, and what number of committals were made, and the reasons for each committal, and what time was occupied by the business; whether he is aware that a carpenter named Field was committed by the Judge for six weeks unless the whole of the debt, over £2, was paid in 14 days, although the evidence showed that Field had been out of work, and was still out of work at the time of hearing, and what evidence, if any, there was of means; whether his attention has also been drawn to the case of a debtor named Matthews, a machinist at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield, who was committed for six weeks in default of paying two instalments on a judgment order amounting to £4, although he had paid £2 on such order, and during the month of March it was proved that Matthews' wages since such payment of £2 were £1, 15s., 16s., 6s., and an additional sum of 12s.; whether he is aware that Matthews' debt was for costs in a libel action, in which he had succeeded in getting a verdict of £100 and costs against the publisher of such libel, but had failed against the printer, and that Matthews had failed to get a farthing either of such damages or costs; and on what grounds such a heavy order was made against Matthews, and the reasons for his committal, or what evidence of means was given other than those stated?


I am informed by the learned County Court Judge that on the occasion in question there were four judgment summonses for hearing, occupying about twenty minutes. In two of the cases the defendants bore the names mentioned in the hon. Member's question, and one of them had been previously heard by the learned Judge, on which occasion both parties had been represented by professional advisers. In both the cases the learned Judge was satisfied by the evidence before him that the defendants had had, since the date of the judgments, means with which they might have satisfied the debts, but had neglected to do so.