HC Deb 16 May 1892 vol 4 cc966-7
MR. BOWEN ROWLANDS (Cardiganshire)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the proceedings of the Justices of the Licensing Sessions for the Borough of Kingston-on-Thames, held on the 2nd and 30th March last, when six magistrates sat as a Licencing Committee to hear applications for licences, and granted two full provisional licences, notwithstanding strong opposition on the part of the inhabitants of the respective localities in which the proposed licensed houses are to be situated; whether he is aware that the same Justices, with the addition of two others, immediately after such licences were granted, sat as a confirming authority, and, without hearing evidence, confirmed the decision of the Committee; and whether it is usual, or in accordance with the provisions of the Licensing Acts, that in boroughs where there are no Quarter Sessions the confirmation of a Committee decision should be made by the same Justices with only two additional Justices sitting with them and deciding the question, without evidence or argument, within a few minutes of the decision of the Committee, thus preventing the opportunity of an appeal to, or a rehearing by, another body of Justices?


I an informed by the Clerk to the Justices that the case referred to in the question was not one of new licences, but was a transfer of two old licences from quarters of the town where they are not required to sites in the outskirts where considerable building operations have been going on for years. The opposition was mainly from members of the Total Abstinence Society and from one publican. The petitions for and against the applications were in several instances signed by the same persons. The confirming Justices had all been present in Court, and had heard the original application. They constituted a majority of the whole Borough Bench, and were unanimous. I am not aware that there was any illegality in the proceedings.