HC Deb 09 February 1897 vol 46 cc13-4
MR. J. A. JACOBY (Derbyshire, Mid)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been directed to the case of Mr. William Bird, who prosecuted an organ grinder at Westminster Police Court on the 2nd instant, in which case it transpired that, on the prosecutor requiring the man to remove and giving his reasons for so doing, he was met in the first place with gross insult, and secondly had his life threatened by the offender; and, whether, as the case was dismissed, he will consider of strengthening the law in these cases?


asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he had seen the report of this case in The Times, and that there was not a word about "insult," gross or otherwise, or of the utterance of threats?


I don't think I have seen the report in The Times. In answer to the Question on the Paper, my attention has been called to this case. The summons, which was for playing an organ to the annoyance of the prosecutor, was dismissed, so I understand, by the magistrate, on the ground that, in his opinion, the prosecutor had failed to prove that any of the conditions existed which are required by the Statute before a musician can be ordered to depart. I cannot interfere with this decision, nor do I think that it affords a sufficient ground for amending the law. The use of threatening, abusive or insulting language is a different matter entirely, for which provision is also made by the Police Acts; but I do not gather that any charge was made by the prosecutor in regard to this.

MR. R. PIERPOINT (Warrington)

asked the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the decisions which had been given recently, he was aware that the majority of the people who grind these organs in the streets were foreigners, and—


Order, order! That does not arise out of this Question.