HC Deb 26 April 1897 vol 48 cc1120-1

THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY to THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. POWELL-WILLIAMS, Birmingham, S.) moved the Second Reading of this Bill. The object of the Measure was to provide that tines imposed on Volunteers who had undertaken to make themselves efficient and who had failed to fulfil their engagements, thereby putting their corps to expense which, was not covered by capitation, grants, should be recoverable in a court of summary jurisdiction. Hitherto it had been supposed that those fines were recoverable in a court of summary jurisdiction, but the Court of Appeal had decided that that was not the case, as the fines were civil debts, and the Bill only proposed to put the matter in the position it was supposed to have occupied before the decision of the Court of Appeal.


said the objected to the Bill, because it increased the powers of magistrates to send persons to prison in default of paying fines. At present a defaulting Volunteer could not be sent to prison for the non-payment of the fines imposed on him unless those prosecuting could prove his ability to pay since the date of the Order. There were over 7,000 persons at present in prison, not for criminal offences, but in default of paying lines, and he objected to any extension of powers which would lead to an increase in that class of persons.


said this was a question simply between the Volunteer corps and the individual, and not between the Volunteers and the nation. The Volunteer gave an undertaking that he would either do the service required of him or pay the equivalent of the capitation grant, which, however, he might earn by very small exertion on his own part. A man signed with an absolute knowledge of what he undertook, and it was in his power to carry out his undertaking. The pointed out that the Measure was a necessary and desirable one.

Bill read a Second Time, and committed for Thursday.