I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the language used by the Chairman at Penge Police Court, who, regarding a woman who was charged with being disorderly, stated that there ought to be some way of getting rid of people of this class permanently; that he did not know whether the means employed in the case of certain noble creatures—the lethal chamber—would be suitable; and subsequently imposed a fine of 10s. and costs, or 14 days; and, whether he will inquire into the case, and prevent the use of such language in future decisions?
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
I have inquired into this case, and find that the woman had already been convicted 14 or 15 times of similar offences. The Chairman of the Bench informs me 233 that the circumstances of the case were distressing, and that, though it is true he referred to the lethal chamber and expressed a wish that some less terrible, but equally suitable, mode of dealing with incorrigible cases of depravity could be suggested, no one who heard the remark could question that it was made as a result of earnest feeling for the unhappy woman who was before him. However much I may regret them, I have no power to prevent observations of this kind.
Will the right hon. gentleman take such measures in consultation with the Lord Chancellor as will prevent magistrates from using such language towards prisoners?
Am I to understand that the right hon. Gentleman approves of the observation1? [Cries of "Order."]