HC Deb 26 March 1895 vol 32 c177

On behalf of the hon. Member for South West Ham (Mr. J. Keir Hardie), I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the decision given by the stipendiary of West Ham, in the case of assault tried before him on the 13th instant, when a dock labourer named Charles Jordan, and William Harris, an official of the Dockers' Union, were each charged with assault; whether he is aware that a dock constable who witnessed the case testified that Jordan walked in to the dock and struck Harris without provocation, and then ran away; that the case against Jordan was dismissed, whilst Harris was found guilty and fined 20s. and costs; and whether he will cause an inquiry to be made into the circumstances of the case?


My attention has been called to the case. It would seem from the notes of the evidence that the dock constable did not identify Jordan as the assailant of Harris, and the magistrate was of opinion that the only blow proved to have been given by Jordan was given in self-defence after he was struck by Harris. The question was purely one of fact, and without saying whether I should or should not have come to the same conclusion as the magistrate did upon the evidence yet, as he had the advantage of seeing and hearing the witnesses, I do not feel justified in interfering with his decision.