§ MR. PERCY THORNTON (Clapham)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the case tried at the South Western Police Court, on Monday, the 13th instant, before Mr. Denman, in which two youths, named Cuddy and Pereira, were sentenced to six months' imprisonment with hard labour, for an alleged assault upon a woman on Clapham Common, and to the fact that at the same Police Court, on the following Wednesday, two other youths named Montague and Milstead were charged before Mr. Haden Corser with the same offence, and that, although 1496 the prosecutrix said that Milstead was the one who kicked her while she was down on the ground, these two latter were discharged, whilst the other two youths, who bear excellent characters, are sent to prison for six months for the same offence; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be made into the circumstances, with a view to Cuddy and Pereira being immediately released from custody?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
I have obtained Reports from the two learned Magistrates upon these cases, and find that in the case of Cuddy and Pereira the evidence of the prosecutrix was corroborated by an independent witness, whereas in the case of Montague and Milstead her evidence was uncorroborated, and as she appeared to have been drinking the Magistrate thought himself justified in giving the prisoners the benefit of the doubt, and discharged them. The prisoners Cuddy and Pereira made no serious denial to the charge when before the Magistrate, and called no witnesses. The assault was considered by the Magistrate as brutal and unprovoked. Under these circumstances I do not propose to take any action in the matter.