§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that, at the present sitting of the Liverpool City Sessions, during the trial of a female prisoner, the Recorder interrupted the deliberations of the jury by remarking that it did not matter whether they said "guilty or not guilty," as it was the prisoner's first offence he should sentence her to one day's imprisonment; and that thereupon the jury found a verdict of guilty; and whether he will call the attention of the Lord Chancellor to the matter?
§ MR. ASQUITH
I have been in communication with the Recorder with reference to the statement made by my hon. Friend, and am informed that the case referred to was a slight offence, and that the prisoner was defended by counsel. The jury had been deliberating some time, and appeared to be almost unanimous, one of their number apparently standing out. They were asked to make up their minds, as it did not matter whether they said "guilty" or "not guilty." They shortly after found her "guilty." The Recorder then, and not till then, explained to the jury that it was the prisoner's first offence, that she had already suffered a month's imprisonment, and he sentenced her to one day's imprisonment. The Recorder adds that he regretted having made the remark as soon as he had made it, but he is certain that no injustice was done.