HC Deb 26 January 1897 vol 45 cc598-9

In moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said the object of the Measure was to make general, enactments which were already in force in London, Manchester, Liverpool, and other large towns.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

opposed the Bill. He was surprised that a Bill of the kind should be left in the hands of a private Member, however experienced. The Bill reversed the entire policy of the Criminal Law, throwing on a man arrested the duty of proving his innocence instead of throwing on the prosecutor the duty of proving the guilt of the accused. Was it because England and Wales were a separate entity that this Bill was to be confined to those parts of the Kingdom? If it was good for them, why was it not good for Ireland? The Bill did not seem to have the support of the Attorney General for England, for he flitted from the House when the hon. Member rose. The hon. and learned Gentleman had charge of the Amendment Bill, allowing prisoners to give evidence in their own defence. Why were they not provided for in this Bill? It was not proposed to apply the Bill to Ireland, yet the phrase "reasonably suspected" was stolen from the Irish Coercion Act. [Nationalist laughter and cheers.] It was quite foreign to the British Constitution, as far as his acquaintance with that instrument went. ["Hear, hear!" and laughter.]

The hon. Member was still speaking at midnight, when the Debate was adjourned.

Debate to be resumed to-morrow.