HC Deb 07 June 1898 vol 58 cc871-2
MR. GILES (Cambridge, Wisbech)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, having regard to the fact that in some petty sessional divisions the justices deal with the cases of prisoners who have been previously convicted summarily, whereas in others they consider themselves precluded from so doing by section 14 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, he will take steps to make the same practice prevail throughout the country; and, in case the justices are so precluded, whether, having regard to the fact that prisoners are often charged with trivial offences after having been previously convicted summarily many years before, and having regard to the expense of sending a prisoner for trial, he will introduce a Bill to give justices jurisdiction to deal with such cases?


I believe that in reliance on a letter written from the Home Office in 1880 the view is held in some quarters that justices are precluded from dealing summarily with indictable offences when the offender has been previously convicted summarily of an indictable offence. The law officers, however, subsequently to that letter advised that section 14 of the Act of 1879 extends only to cases where the offender has been previously convicted on indictment, and this view has been followed by the Home Office since, and is largely acted on, I believe, by magistrates. A similar opinion of Sir H. Poland will be found in the issue of the Justices of the Pence for the 10th of May, 1884.