HC Deb 18 February 1897 vol 46 cc706-7

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the fact that two prisoners, George Thompson and Thomas Pope, were tried and acquitted at the Maidstone Assizes on 19th November last, and that the former had been in prison five months and two weeks, and the latter in prison also awaiting trial over six months; what compensation are Pope and Thompson to receive for their incarceration; whether he is aware that at the Maidstone Assizes in November 1894 four prisoners were found not guilty; of these two were found to be not guilty by the Grand Jury and two after trial, and that one of the four prisoners had been in prison 5½ months, and each of the other three for over three months awaiting trial; also that at the Maidstone Assizes in November 1895 five prisoners had been found not guilty, two by the Grand Jury and three after trial, and two were in prison over four months, the other three for three months, awaiting trial; and whether he has any objection to granting a Return showing the number of prisoners sent for trial to assizes last year and acquitted, and the period elapsing between the committal and acquittal?


Yes, sir; I am aware of the long detention in prison before trial of the two prisoners named. It is a matter of great regret that the present Circuit arrangements necessitated this; but I am afraid a claim for compensation could not be entertained. I have not the means of verifying the statements in the third paragraph of the Question, but have no reason to suppose they are inaccurate. Returns for 1895, giving the particulars suggested by the hon. Member, will appear in the forthcoming volume of the Judicial Statistics, which will be presented within a few weeks.