HC Deb 29 June 1898 vol 60 cc516-91

Considered in Committee.

[Mr. J. W. LOWTHER (Cumberland, Penrith), CHAIRMAN of WAYS and MEANS, in the Chair.]

(In the Committee.)


I should like to make an appeal to the right honourable Gentleman to consider the unfortunate position in which we are placed under the present circumstances. None of the leading Members who have Amendments on the Paper are here, and this is a Bill essentially of much detail. The first clause in particular is a matter of detail on which we have not had the opinion of honourable and learned Members, and it is absolutely necessary for the adequate discussion of this question that these legal gentlemen should be here. There is scarcely a Member who has put down an Amendment who is able to be here. The right honourable Gentleman knows what the necessities of lawyers are, and many of them are obliged to be absent. The honourable and learned Members for Leamington, Pontefract, East Carmarthen, and Dublin University are obliged to be absent. Therefore, we are really under circumstances which will absolutely prevent an adequate discussion of the various clauses in this Bill. I admit that proper notices have been made, and it is a strong measure to take a Bill of this kind under the circumstances. I understand there are only two laymen and one learned gentleman present who wish to amend the Bill now before the Committee, and all the others are absent. I am sure that the Attorney General will see that it is extremely important that the gentlemen of the long robe ought to be present, and it would be a convenience if he could postpone this Bill, and allow the other Orders of the day to come on. Having been formally in the Chair, and the proceedings laving commenced, the Committee might agree to a Motion of that kind. Of course, I do not propose to make that Motion unless the right honourable Gentleman agrees to it. Under the difficult circumstances in which we are placed, I ask him to consider seriously whether he could not manage to take the discussion of the details of this Bill. upon another day.


I would venture to point out to the honourable Member that due notice was given, and I am afraid it is impossible for me to accede to the appeal of my honourable Friend, although no one is more sorry than I am that we have not the presence of my honourable and learned Friends, who are members of my own profession. Due notice was given last week, and it was in consequence of the remonstrance and the protest that Wednesday had been fixed that it was not put on the Paper for the previous night. Therefore, there really has not been until now any objection raised to taking this course. Nobody is more sorry than I am, but I hardly think it is possible to accede to the honourable Member's request.


Of course, I do not feel, under the circumstances, justified in making the Motion myself; therefore, I shall proceed to deal with the difficulties, so far as I am concerned, as best I can. Now, Sir, I am afraid I shall have to trouble the Committee with an Amendment which is not on the Paper. It is taken from the Summary Jurisdiction Act.


That Amendment would not be in order at this stage of the proceedings; it is quite clear that it is not an Amendment at all to the clause under consideration, for it is substituting something totally different. I therefore cannot accept that as an Amendment to this clause.


Then I will proceed with my Amendment as on the Paper, and I beg to move— Page 1, line 5, after 'person' insert 'if of the age of 16 years or upwards.' Sir, this Bill as it stands makes no distinction in respect of age or sex or condition as to the new rule—the entirely new rule, the revolutionary rule I may say—which it proposes to apply to the treatment of persons arraigned on a criminal charge. Sir, I believe that the proposal which has really been made is one of very wide scope and great importance, and the fact that it is so is shown by the subsequent paragraph of the Bill, which I should not now be in order in referring to, which makes very careful provisoes as to the exercise of this right of the Crown to hang a person on his own evidence. Well, now, Sir, at any rate it seems to me that when you come to the new condition of things some respect should be paid to the intelligence of the person charged as to whether he is competent to understand this provision and the altered position which this Bill will place him in if it becomes law. What will be the effect of the Bill itself? A person will be brought up in court before any court which is competent to place upon him this liability, and be called upon to furnish himself the evidence on which he is to be condemned. In the court before which he is brought his position will be this he will come before that court charged with an offence, and he may be suddenly called upon to give evidence against himself, and be put in the witness-box. He might indeed be the first witness called.


That would not be possible.


Of course, I am assuming that his consent has been obtained. The essence of it is that the prisoner will be put into the witness-box, and I do not know that there is anything to prevent the prisoner being the first witness put into the box. He is the man who knows most about the circumstances, and he may perhaps be the only man who does know the circumstances; therefore, as I said before, he may be the first man to be put into the box. Now, what, will be the man's position? He will have heard the charge made against him, and he will be called upon to give his evidence. It will be bad enough if he is a full-grown man, and even then he may not be able to understand the gravity of the charge and the intense importance attached to the evidence he is called upon to give. He may realise the situation that by his evidence he will practically have his own neck in his own hands. But, surely, with a child under the age of 16 years it is different, and it is very hard to apply this rule to such a person. A child cannot be expected to be aware of all those consequences which I have but lightly sketched out. Surely some exception ought to be made in the case of a child of 16. The Attorney General and the Government themselves propose to make an exception in the case of Ireland, for they do not propose that this Bill should extend to Ireland. Why I do not know, because I think that what is good for England and Scotland in this respect is equally good for Ireland. Surely if it is right and humane to exempt the unfor- tunate Irishmen from the stringent provisions of this Bill, it is still more humane to exempt a child. Children are very liable to be brought up and charged with criminal offences, and I think it would be an added cruelty to such charges to force that child to become liable to be put into the witness-box to give evidence against himself, the importance of which he would be scarcely able to understand. Although there are several other considerations which will probably affect the judgment of the Committee on this clause, there is a strong case to be made out for the exemption of children even if all other persons are to be included. Of course, as I have said before, these may not perhaps be the best words applicable to the case. I am only a layman, and I am placed in a very great difficulty indeed through the absence of every lawyer who has taken a leading part in this matter and who has Amendments down on the Paper. But, if my words be not applicable, I shall be very glad to accent any others which the Attorney General would be prepared himself to suggest, or any Amendment which he would propose. All I want is that if this new change is to be made, if a man is to be dragged into the witness-box to give evidence against himself, and subjected to the cross-examination of astute counsel engaged in hunting down a prisoner, then I say that such a law should not be applied to children of a tender age. I beg leave to move my Amendment.


The honourable Member has hardly done himself justice on this occasion by suggesting that any prisoner can be called as the first witness. That is, if he would pardon; me, an absurdity. The object of the Bill is to enable the prisoner to give evidence in his own defence, and it is an essential condition of our criminal law that the prosecution have to prove their case, and unless there is a primâ faciecase the prisoner could not be called upon to give evidence at all. It is provided that every person charged shall be a competent witness, but shall not be called as a witness without his consent. If the Bill does not make that clear I will undertake to make it clear. With regard to the Amendment, there are many cases in which children now are allowed to give evidence, and it seems to me that it would be ridiculous if a boy or a girl were excluded from this beneficial provision simply on the ground that he or she has not reached the age of 16 years.

MR. M. HEALY (Cork, City)

I do think Sir, that at this stage of the Measure the Government ought to argue this question upon the grounds upon which it certainly ought to be argued. Everybody who knows anything about this Bill knows that it is a Measure intended to secure further convictions, and I accept the right honourable Gentleman's own assurance that that is his own personal view. Now, no man who has any real knowledge of what goes on in courts of law can possibly imagine that any innocent person will gain in the smallest degree by this privilege of putting himself in the witness-box and submitting himself to cross-examination. Of course, if the Bill is only to be argued on the lines which the Attorney General put it, then this Amendment would be absurd. But even if the right honourable Gentleman still takes that view, as certain possibilities may arise in some cases, he ought at any rate to appreciate the fact that in some cases it may work in the other direction. Does the right honourable Gentleman think that this Bill will always have that effect, and that it is not possible that an innocent person may go into the box. If that is so, then I may congratulate him upon his faith in legal forms, which I confess after my long experience I do not share; I am perfectly satisfied that in nine cases out of ten any person who avails himself of this Bill will do himself a mischief instead of a good. Therefore, I shall support the Amendment of the honourable Member for King's Lynn. Now, everybody knows that the effect of the Bill will be to compel every prisoner to give evidence. The right honourable Gentleman says that the Crown must first prove their case, and that unless a primâ faciecase is made out the prisoner need not give evidence at all. But a primâ faciecase means that there must be some evidence on which the jury may act. It does not necessarily mean evidence on which the jury are likely to acquit a prisoner. It means such a case as that in which the judge is not bound to direct an acquittal. In 99 out of 100 similar cases unless there is some evidence against the prisoner he would not go into the box at all. A prisoner is not indicted unless there is strong evidence on which he can be charged. He cannot be returned for trial unless there is some evidence against him. As the case is presented to the Court of Assize or to the Central Criminal Court, there must be some evidence to go to the jury, and therefore there is no substance whatever in the argument which the right honourable Gentleman used Unless a primâ faciecase is made out. It must be assumed that there is in every case a primâ faciecase, and in that case the prisoner will be practically bound in every instance to give evidence. By this Bill the right honourable Gentleman does not safeguard the prisoner. I think it is the law in some of the States in America that if a prisoner is not willing to give evidence the prosecution—


Order, order! That is not the Question now before the Committee.


Perhaps I was going more at large into the Bill than I ought to have done; but I was replying to the argument used by the right honourable Gentleman, and, taking the view which I do take, that this is a Bill which will injure prisoners instead of serving them, and that it is a Bill which compels the prisoner to give evidence, therefore, I am bound to support the Amendment which the honourable Gentleman opposite has moved. I do think that it is a cruel thing that persons of a tender age who cannot appreciate the nature of the trial they have to undergo, or understand the effect of what they say, or the evidence which is given against them, should be compelled to go into the box in this case. The Bill in that respect is a trap for inexperienced persons, and I hope the honourable Member opposite will press his Amendment to a Division.

MR. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)

The only point I desire to raise is that upon which the Attorney General said that unless there was primâ facieevidence the case of the Crown was closed, and the prisoner would not give evidence. Now, what I would say is this: he made a statement as to the conduct of cases that unless a primâ faciecase is made out, the prisoner would not be called upon, but nowhere in this Bill do I see any clause that would protect the prisoner in that respect. Now, I am going to state my own experience in London. I remember a case tried before one of the stipendiary magistrates in London, where, after the witnesses for the prosecution had been called, the magistrate declined to say whether he intended to commit or not, until I made the statement that I was going to put the prisoner in the box, and then he decided that he would send the case for trial. Now, the judge at the Criminal Court stopped the case on the ground of the absence of confirmatory evidence. Now, I am one of the few Members who have had any experience of the new working of the Act, under which prisoners can give evidence on their own behalf. I understand that simply the assent of the House has been given to the principle, and they have refused to consent to the appointment of a Select Committee. Therefore, I ask the Attorney General if he can see his way to accept the Amendment, which will carry out the principle that no prisoner should be called upon to elect whether he shall give evidence until a primâ faciecase has been made out.

MR. BROADHURST (Leicester)

I must support this Amendment. When one remembers the fearful consequences which might occur to poor people under the operation of this revolutionary change in our criminal procedure, and when one remembers that it is to apply to children under 16 years of age, one naturally trembles at what fearful consequences might ensue. What I understand is that the law protects no persons who contract debts with persons under 21 years of age, and if a young person has fallen into the meshes of some money-lender, it is a defence in law that he is under 21 years of age. Well, you are going now to make it possible to put a poor labouring boy or girl, who has not perhaps passed Standard 4, perhaps not Standard 3, a poor boy or girl belonging to the agri- cultural class, into the witness-box, to be cross-examined on the question, perhaps, of stealing game eggs. Now, if all these matters were to be decided in a court over which one so large-hearted and generous as the Attorney General is always to preside, then it would be another matter. But then you must remember that this Act is to be administered by hundreds of county justices in petty sessional courts, where there is frequently practically no public opinion and where many of the justices have had very little experience of the world or of the administration of the law or the intention of it, or of the spirit of this new Act of Parliament. I do not think that the case of this country is so serious that we ought to protect the infants of the country; at any rate, if we are going to allow poor people to run the risk of convicting themselves in court, as they undoubtedly will do under this Act, which I think they will find will do far more harm to themselves than it can do good. If the prisoner, as a rule, is represented by a competent legal adviser, it is always far better; at least, that is my experience—my very small, insignificant experience, yet still an experience accompanied by pretty close observation of the working and the effect of this procedure, and my experience goes to show that in 99 cases out of 100 a prisoner who is not defended by a competent legal adviser makes a great and grievous mistake if he should open his own mouth in defence of his own case. That is nearly always the case, and I think the learned Attorney General will agree to that extent. If that is so in the case of adults, how much more so will it be in the case of infants or of a poor half-taught or wholly untaught boy or girl in our petty sessional courts! I think the Attorney General thoroughly believes that this is a good reform and a sound Measure, and, therefore, he naturally says, "Extend it to as many people as possible." But I wish the Attorney General for once would have some doubt as to his own view of this matter, and to remember again that this Act will be in the hands of thousands of persons—of magistrates, of petty sessional magistrates, many of whom are not at all qualified to administer such a serious Act of Parliament as this is. If, of course, it was always in the hands of persons so competent to protect the prisoners as the Attorney General, then, of course, one would not be so alarmed at what the dreadful effect of this Measure might be. I sincerely hope the honourable Member for King's Lynn will take a Division on this Amendment, because I consider it is one of really great importance to the poor and uneducated people of this country.

MR. ABEL THOMAS (Carmarthen, E.)

My opinion on this question is that if it is a good Bill for people over 16 it is a good Bill for people under 16 years of age. The object of the Bill, as I understand it, is to enable a man who is innocent to give evidence in favour of himself. I have known cases in my own experience where men have been charged with offences against women, in some instances old men, and the same thing would apply to young boys, when at the end of the evidence for the prosecution I have felt that there was not a ghost of a chance of the prisoner getting off. The prisoner has, however, gone into the witness-box and told his own story in such a way that the judge and the jury have come to the conclusion that the man was not guilty. I have known certainly two instances of that kind where there was not even a chance of getting off if they had not been able to give evidence themselves. If a man is guilty, and if he gives evidence, he will probably convict himself. If he is innocent, and he gives evidence, he will have a very great chance of getting himself off. And, really, I do not see why the laws of our country should, at any rate, try and get people off, and I am glad to say—I do not know whether I ought to say I am glad—but I know very often people do get off who are guilty who are not able to give evidence by themselves. Now, the laws are made for the purpose of convicting the guilty and of letting off the innocent. One may in an extreme case find an instance in which the power of giving evidence may be, even if he is innocent, against himself, but it is extremely difficult to imagine such a case in a court of justice. One can imagine a man in the higher position of life saying that if he does give evidence he certainly will not give evidence which will throw blame upon other persons, although he may be in a very different position if he gives evidence against himself. I have never met with such a case, and those engaged in criminal work cannot say that they know of one single instance of that sort arising. But again and again one sees innocent men and innocent boys and girls getting off because they are able to say exactly what took place under the circumstances when nobody else has been able to give such evidence. In my opinion, if this is good for older people, it is equally good for children, and it has been found to work as successfully against women and children, and those who will suffer will be those who have to defend guilty people, and I do not see that we should be allowed to suffer on this account.


I think the experience of the honourable Member is second to that of no other Member of this House. As to the point raised by the honourable Member below the Gangway, I am prepared in line 7 to insert after "competent witness" the words "for the defence." I think this will make the matter perfectly clear.

MR. BILLSON (Halifax)

The point which I think we have now to consider is whether this provision should be extended to children or not. Many Members object to the Bill altogether, but I firmly believe that it will do a great deal of good, and will end in the elucidation of the real facts of the case. The main point in the whole thing is not, as has been improperly stated, the conviction of innocent people, but taking care that the conviction of innocent people shall not take place. Some honourable Members seem to argue that there should be no prosecution of children at all. Well, we have the prosecution of children now, and we know that it is necessary. Because I believe that this protection should also be extended to children as well as to others I shall oppose this Amendment.

MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)

I think this is rather a serious matter. A child will have to decide whether it will give evidence or not. Now I ask whether that child will be given any assistance in coming to such a decision. Surely it is absurd to ask a child of nine or ten years of age to decide for itself whether it should give evidence or not, for a child of that age is not competent to judge as to whether it ought or ought not to give evidence. Even if the child were an innocent child, desiring perhaps to tell the truth and state the full circumstances as to the offence, it might do it in such a way as to make the jury believe that it was guilty. If the right honourable Gentleman has decided that this Act is to apply to children, I would ask whether he can see his way to insert in the Bill some clause that the child shall have the assistance of some legal or other person in deciding this question.


Such children are always safeguarded, both by the judges and magistrates, and I am quite satisfied that no child will ever be put into the position which the honourable Gentleman suggests.

MR. ROBSON (South Shields)

I desire to meet the objection to this clause which has been raised by the honourable Member for King's Lynn. My honourable Friend below the Gangway has pointed out that there are cases in which the evidence of the prisoner himself has been efficiently proved, but that is altered by instances from one class of case which does not go far to support the principle of this Bill. But he did not push his illustration so far as to say in the case which he cited that the prisoner gained anything by cross-examination. I think if it were permitted in the case of children the argument against cross-examination would be stronger than in any other case. If it were permitted to children either to make a declaration or to give their own evidence in their own way, as the children's story, it cannot possibly be said that anything will be gained if they are subjected to cross-examination. Now, Sir, I think that undoubtedly the Attorney General should try to meet us in our desire to give some special protection to children under the age of 16. It has been pointed out that in the first instance in the courts, where the proceedings were of somewhat less importance, the magistrates and counsel took care that no injustice was done to a child. But, notwithstanding the truth of that statement, it is very desirable in such cases that too much should not be left to the magistrate, and the law should also protect the child before it comes into court. There can be no objection to letting the child tell its own story in the ordinary way without cross-examination; but it is absolutely impossible to lay down any rule in this Bill regulating cross-examining. I defy the ingenuity either of the judge or the Legislature to put any definite and practical limits upon the licence of cross-examination, and you must leave that to the counsel. He has to say in what way a child is to be cross-examined. An advocate may be carried away by his own personal feeling. I do not care who he is; he may be the best advocate and the most courteous gentleman in the world, but when once he is put into a court of justice, and told to cross-examine a witness, the tendency is to assume a hostile attitude and employ against that witness all the arts which his profession has given him, and by which the witness may perhaps be led to make injudicious admissions without knowing exactly what he is doing. The jury may be affected by the attitude and the indignation of the counsel himself, as he is throwing out his insinuations and innuendoes against the prisoner. Certainly at this moment you ought to protect children under 16 years of age from such an ordeal when it is you who are bringing them into court They are not claiming any right if they are put there by society, and it is the duty of those who put them there to see that they are not subjected to any disadvantage whatever.

*MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

The honourable and learned Gentleman who has just addressed us from below the Gangway made allusion to certain cases. Now, it is clear that those cases have no bearing upon the Amendment. My honourable and learned Friend laid down a proposition which I think is not justifiable, and which I respectfully beg to controvert. He told us that what was good for people over 16 was good for people under 16 years of age. Well, Sir, I do not agree with that at all. It is part of the case of those who support this Bill that the act of going into the witness-box would be a voluntary one. If that is so, then it will be for the defendant to exercise his option. But clearly there ought to be some security that the person to whom this option will be given shall be of sufficient age and discretion to determine for himself whether or not his interests will be served by going into the witness-box. The learned Attorney General gave a very inadequate answer to the very pertinent question raised by my honourable Friend below the Gangway on the other side. He said that children of the age of nine or 10 years are not indicted, but he seems to have forgotten that this Bill is not, unfortunately, confined to persons charged on an indictment, but it also applies to all legal proceedings, and it must be a matter of common knowledge that every day children of nine or ten years of age, and even of a still lower age, are brought up before metropolitan magistrates. Well, now, who is to decide that in these cases the child shall or shall not give evidence? It does seem to me that the question raised by my honourable Friend upon the other side is a particularly pertinent one, for it goes to the root of this matter, and the learned Attorney General has given no answer at all to it.

*MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthen, W.)

I hope that the Attorney General will see his way to exempting children at least from cross-examination, because it seems to me that there are very strong reasons why he should do so. The great disadvantage which prisoners will be put to under this Bill when they give evidence is that men who are ignorant of the law go into the witness-box and say what is untrue. It may be that they are not guilty of the offence, but the criminal class think that by saying what may seem to the ordinary observer an obvious untruth they are going to derive some benefit from it, and there is no doubt that that is bound to tell against them. It will be urged against them that they have lied in the witness-box, and that that goes to show their guilt. Those of us know who have had experience in these matters that that is one of the most difficult things with which a counsel has to deal, that is in cases where prisoners have to give evidence on their own behalf. That, in my opinion, is all the more reason why children should be exempt, because they are most likely to go into the witness-box, and when cross-examined by the prosecuting solicitor or counsel, who tries to lead them into some kind of a trap, they readily go on from one lie to another. Now that is bound to tell against them, and I can well see that boys who ought not to be convicted will get convicted because of the cross-examination to which they will be subjected, and it is perfectly ridiculous to tell me that an advocate will deal gently with boys. Advocates almost unconsciously become partisans. They desire to be fair, but the professional instinct comes in, and they assume a hostile attitude, sometimes against their will, and it does not matter whether it is a boy or a man that they happen to be cross-examining.


I acknowledge the good feeling of the Attorney General in suggesting that he will accept an Amendment which, to some extent meets some of my arguments, but I should like to point out that the words he suggests will not quite meet the case.


I think the honourable Member had better wait till that is moved before referring to it.


My object is to prevent children, from being persecuted, and the suggestion, you will see, Sir, made by the Attorney General, does not really meet my case, which is this: if you want to try this new experiment, for God's sake don't try it upon the children. You won't even try it upon Irishmen, and it is ridiculous. It is said that a prisoner can only be examined with his own consent, but what is the use of the consent of a child of 11 years of age? Take a child, and subject it to the excruciating vivisection of a hunting Attorney General, and what would be the result? I do appeal to the Committee not to accept this clause as it stands.

MR. T. W. NUSSEY (Pontefract)

I think, Sir, that in the case of children it is particularly desirable that there should not be cross-examination. If a child is convicted of a lie in the box, his evidence is at once discredited; and not only that, he produces in the mind of the jury and the judge, or magistrate, the impression that he was more likely to have committed the crime with which he was charged. I think, therefore, that it would be advisable not to allow children to be cross-examined. It says in the Bill that there is an option whether the child should give evidence or not, which is hardly the case, because, if the child is asked before the whole court whether he will go into the box and give evidence he has practically no option. If he refuses it creates a great prejudice against him before the court. When he is once in the box, and in the toils of counsel, thirsting, perhaps, for a conviction—and some counsels are very keen about their cases—I think he ought to be protected by means of the law, and not made the subject of such legislation which has not proved successful in other countries where it has been tried.

*MR. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)

I hope the Attorney General will not give way upon this proposal of my honourable Friend. This Bill will not put youthful prisoners in any greater difficulties than they are in at the present time. When a child is brought up in a case in which he would be liable to be sent for trial he has two occasions upon which he can make his election as to disclosing his defence. He has to say whether he will make a statement when he is called upon by the magistrate to say in answer to the charge read over whether he will or will not say anything. Then he has to consider whether he will call witnesses or not, and that is another important point. The difficulty is a forensic one, and exists quite independently of the age of the accused. In cases before justices guardians of children and others are often allowed to assist the child by making it clear what the effect of his decision will be, and by giving him the amplest assistance in the arrangement of his defence. I do not think for one moment that there is any real danger that children will be put to any disadvantage. Children constantly give away their case before they come into court. They often, when arrested, make statements to the police constable, and the prosecution make use of that statement in the court as evidence against the prisoner. I have known children injure their cases by admitting to the policeman that they had done it, or by making some statement which is ambiguous. I have often felt that it is a cruel injustice to the prisoner that he may hear stated by the witness something which is said to have been an admission by himself, and not be able to say, "No, that is not true." That state of things will be corrected now under this Bill, and the child will not so often have the opportunity of giving away his case hopelessly before it comes into court. At the assizes children are protected by the judge. I remember six children came up and pleaded "Guilty" of various offences for which they stood charged. The judge was much struck with this, and the matter was investigated. It was discovered that the chaplain had interviewed these children, and they had made admissions upon which he got a promise from them that they would plead guilty. The judge postponed the case, and each one of them was separately and properly tried. I do not believe that there is before the High Courts the slightest danger of children being put to a disadvantage, and with respect to the cases at petty sessions I do not think any difficulty will arise. There is a logical difficulty which arises out of the Amendment. Why fix the age at 16? Why is a boy of 16 years and a day to be liable, or of 16 years less a day to be exempt? It seems to me to be very arbitrary fixing the age at 16; it is without reasonable foundation, and it would involve very considerable difficulty in the trial of cases, because there would be side issues raised to his true age. If we ought to make a difference as to age, and. there is any exception to be made, it should be to 21 years of age. If you are going to have some definite line drawn, why not draw it higher than 16?

MR. S. EVANS (Glamorgan, Mid)

I am sorry that I cannot support the honourable Member opposite in the Amendment he has made. There may be one reason, and that is, if it is to be carried in any form at all, I fail to see any valid argument in favour of the anomaly of making a difference between children and grown-up persons. I am- perfectly certain that the dangers pointed out from time to time in the discussion upon this Measure will be smaller with reference to children under 16 than with older persons. I have heard it said, and I think there is some foundation for the statement, that the most honest witnesses are the younger people. I feel sure that the danger which is pointed out by my honourable and learned Friend, which might exist in the case of grown-up people, will not exist in the case of children. I have not known the advocate yet who would, out of zeal for the cause he is advocating, deal harshly with the child. Now, if there is any risk, that would be much more likely to exhibit itself in dealing with witnesses who must be cross-examined with some severity, but with a child I am perfectly certain that this would be impossible, for every judge—

AN HONOURABLE MEMBER: And every magistrate.


Every judge would protect a child under such circumstances. With reference to magistrates, that will come on under another Amendment. Upon an indictment every advocate, I am sure, would deal most fairly with a child. Sir, I think the danger is certainly one which is fatal which may arise from making such a great change in the law as is proposed by this Bill, which may exist in the case of adults, but I am perfectly certain that these dangers are almost at the vanishing point in the case of children, and I shall have to vote against my honourable Friend's Amendment.

Question put— That those words be there inserted.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 51;. Noes 159.—(Division List 174.)

Allan, Wm. (Gateshead) Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Reckitt, Harold James
Austin, M. (Limerick, W.) Healy, Maurice (Cork) Rickett, J. Compton
Baker, Sir John Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H. Robson, William Snowdon
Barlow, John Emmott Holburn, J. G. Schwann, Charles E.
Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire) Horniman, Frederick John Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Brigg, John Lambert, George Steadman, William Charles
Broadhurst, Henry Leng, Sir John Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Caldwell, James Macaleese, Daniel Tully, Jasper
Colville, John McKenna, Reginald Ure, Alexander
Daly, James Maddison, Fred. Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Doogan, P. C. Mount, William George Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)
Dorington, Sir John Edward Nussey, Thomas Willans Wilson, J. W. (Wore, N.)
Duckworth, James O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal) Yoxall, James Henry
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Pease, A. E. (Cleveland)
Galloway, William Johnson Perks, Robert William
Goddard, Daniel Ford Pickard, Benjamin TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Gibson Bowles and Mr. Lloyd Morgan.
Gold, Charles Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Goulding, Edward Alfred Power, Patrick Joseph
Gourley, Sir Edward T. Price, Robert John
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Brassey, Albert Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse
Arrol, Sir William Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.
Ascroft, Robert Bullard, Sir Harry Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Cameron, Robert (Durham) Cranborne, Viscount
Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson- Crombie, John William
Bailey, James (Walworth) Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Cross, Herb. S. (Bolton)
Baird, John George Alex. Cawley. Frederick Cubitt, Hon. Henry
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch.) Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W. Denny, Colonel
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. Chamberlain, Rt. Hn, J. (Birm.) Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l) Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton
Bill, Charles Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)
Billson, Alfred Coghill, Douglas Harry Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Cohen, Benjamin Louis Finch, George H.
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Rentoul, James Alexander
Fisher, William Hayes Leuty, Thomas Richmond Richards, Henry Charles
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a) Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
FitzWygram, Gen. Sir F. Lockwood, Lt,-Col. A. R. Royds, Clement Molyneux
Flannery, Fortescue Loder, Gerald Walter E. Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'm)
Fletcher, Sir Henry Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Flower, Ernest Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)
Folkestone, Viscount Lowe, Francis William Seely, Charles Hilton
Garfit, William Loyd, Archie Kirkman Sharpe, William Edward T.
Gibbons, J. Lloyd Macartney, W. G. Ellison Simeon, Sir Barrington
Goldsworthy, Major-General McIver, Sir Lewis Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)
Gordon, Hon. John Edward McKillop, James Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Maden, John Henry Stanley, Lord (Lanes)
Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Malcolm, Ian Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'T.
Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury) Mildmay, Francis Bingham Stock, James Henry
Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs) Monckton, Edward Philip Stone, Sir Benjamin
Gretton, John Monk, Charles James Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Gull, Sir Cameron Morrell, George Herbert Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier
Gunter, Colonel Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Hamond, Sir C. (Newcastle) Muntz, Philip A. Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)
Hardy, Laurence Murray, Col. W. (Bath) Tollemache, Henry James
Heath, James Myers, William Henry Tomlinson, W. E. Murray
Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down) Newdigate, Francis Alex. Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent,)
Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol) Nicholson, William Graham Warr, Augustus Frederick
Hobhouse, Henry Nicol, Donald Ninian Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)
Howard, Joseph Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S. Wedderburn, Sir William
Hudson, George Bickersteth O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Oldroyd, Mark Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Johnston, William (Belfast) Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex) Parkes, Ebenezer Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'ld)
Jolliffe, Hon. H. George Philipps, John Wynford Wortley, Rt.Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Jones, D. B. (Swansea) Phillpotts, Capt. Arthur Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.
Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Pollock, Harry Frederick Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U. Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Kenyon, James Pryce-Jones, Edward Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth Purvis, Robert Younger, William
Knowles, Lees Randell, David TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther,
Lawrence, Sir E. D. (Cornw.) Rankin, James
Lawson, John Grant (Yorks) Renshaw, Charles Bine

With respect to the next Amendment I have on the Paper, I feel that, under the disadvantage we are labouring in the absence of those advocates of the law who have put down Amendments, I should, I think, be arguing my Amendment under very serious disadvantages, and I therefore do not propose to move this Amendment.


I beg leave to move— Page 1, line 5, after 'charged' insert 'on indictment.' Now, whether we approve of this Bill or reject it, I think that it will be agreed that this is a change in the law of a very large and revolutionary character. I think it would be better if considerable limitations were placed upon the operation of this Bill; but the Government have proposed to proceed upon the contrary plan. They intend that this Bill should apply to every criminal pro- ceeding, at every stage of such proceeding. Now I desire to introduce a limitation in which the new principle may be applied. By the Second Reading of this Bill the House has accepted the general principle that a prisoner shall be allowed to go into the box in a criminal case. Now I think it will be obvious to this House that, even admitting that the principle might be applied without injustice or inconvenience before the High Courts, the same thing could not be said with regard to its operation before courts not having the same standing, and the object of my Amendment, therefore, is, in the first instance, to confine the operation of this Bill to what I may call the superior courts of criminal jurisdiction. I propose, therefore, after the word "charged" to insert the words "on indictment." Now I am not at all particular about the form of words. I do not think that I need delay the Committee with technical matters; so I will at once proceed with the substance of the case, which is, practically, not to permit the principle of this Bill to apply in courts of summary jurisdiction, or in any such courts, when they hear indictable offences with a view to committing the prisoner for trial. Well, now, Sir, in the first place, I should like to get rid of the suggestion that this is only a permissive Bill, which only gives the prisoner power to go into the witness box if he chooses. Now, everyone knows that in practice you will, in fact, compel the prisoner to go into the witness-box. That inference is to be drawn from the fact that his abstaining from giving evidence when he could do so would be dangerous, not to say fatal, to his case, so that, at all events, in the bulk, of cases, he would find himself constrained to go into the box. We also have the question to consider whether it would be right upon the first application of this principle to apply it in a general way, or whether upon the first occasion—and I submit that Parliament has really not up to the present time considered the question—it would be right to apply this principle to courts of summary jurisdiction. It is obvious that the circumstances differ in the other courts where you have a prisoner charged, for there you have some security, in that the judge or the magistrates will be persons of experience and position, and where—to which I attach still more importance—you have a strong and vigilant Bar, in which you have considerable security that the prisoner will not suffer injustice under the operations of this Bill. Now, all those circumstances, which are some security for the prisoner, are absent in the case of courts of summary jurisdiction. Now, I object, therefore, to applying this principle to such courts upon two grounds. In the first place, there may be a bias in the mind of the court against the prisoner. For instance, in a shipping town there are often shipping cases involving disputes between employers and employed. Now, in such cases, I do not think it wise or practical for the defendant to go into the box, when it would be open to the court to cross-examine him, which, I believe, would do him a serious injustice. I might cite other cases arising where you have game-preserving landlords, and where a person is charged with poaching, I think it would be a most dangerous practice to compel the defendant to go into the box, and permit a game-preserving magistrate to cross-examine him. Then there are other cases which I think, ought to appeal very strongly to the honourable Member for Leicester and other honourable Friends. I think there are a number of trades union cases where officials of trades unions or persons in some way or another connected with trades unions are charged with offences before a court of summary jurisdiction. In these cases the feeling is pretty general as to the danger of coming into a court of summary jurisdiction with an opportunity of cross-examining the prisoner. Those, Mr. Lowther, are some of my illustrations in connection with my objection of bias. Then my second objection is of a totally different kind, and it is this: it is an objection of the same nature as that which was very strongly urged against part of the Coercion Act some ten years ago, when it was said that under that Act you were imposing upon magistrates without much experience the duty of deciding critical points of evidence. I remember, at all events, on this side of the House a very strong objection was taken to that proposal, and, upon similar lines of argument I object to this proposal now. It is proposed by the Bill that the privilege which the defendant has of going into the box should be subjected to a number of conditions. Now, I submit to the Committee that under this clause of the Bill some very delicate points will arise as to whether certain conditions described in the Bill are present or not. Now, I do not think, that these are cases which the bulk of our courts of summary jurisdiction are qualified to decide. Now, what are the objections which I daresay will be raised to my Amendment? There are some honourable Members who are more willing that this Bill should apply to cases in courts of summary jurisdiction than to the higher courts, but I think, Mr. Lowther, that there is some little confusion in the minds of honourable Members on this point. Now, what they have in view is that the consequences arising from a conviction before a court of summary jurisdiction are much less serious than a conviction before the other courts. That is quite true, but my point in moving this Amendment is, there is more likely to be an injustice done, and that the prisoner will be more oppressively treated before the courts of summary jurisdiction than before the other courts. Then there is a further matter to be considered, and that is that the justices have not only to decide cases where they have summary jurisdiction, but the duty is also imposed upon them of examining witnesses. In these cases I think a very serious injustice might be done to the ends of justice, and I quite agree with those honourable Members who support the Bill that what we have to consider is how the ends of justice may best be served. Now, I desire to repudiate very strongly that suggestion, because I think it a very unfair one, that we want to provide some special safeguard for the guilty man who is charged. I repudiate that suggestion, for myself, for my only object is to secure the pure administration of justice, and that the man who is guilty shall be found guilty, and not to provide him with any improper defence to secure his acquittal. For these reasons I beg to move my Amendment.


I hope that the Committee will not accept this Amendment. I will ask the Committee to consider what might result from the adoption of the proposition made by the honourable Member. Suppose that against a man a charge is preferred of which he knows he is perfectly innocent. Naturally the accused is anxious to give evidence at the earliest possible moment. Evidence will be given by the prosecution in support of the charge which is absolutely unfounded, but if this Amendment is accepted the innocent man will not be at liberty to stamp the libel out at the earliest possible moment; he will only be able to give evidence after he is committed for trial, and in the meantime he will have to suffer all the ignominy of having been committed for trial, and of having full publicity given to all the unfounded details put forward by the prosecution, both in court and in the newspapers, and he would thus be deprived of that privilege which every Innocent man ought to have of destroying such a charge at the earliest possible moment. What possible reason is there why in a case which might be tried on summary jurisdiction the accused should not have the same right to give evidence as he has on indictment? Surely it was a rule of common sense that the same method of getting at the truth should be applicable in the one case as in the other. Surely that is all the more reason for giving every opportunity to the prisoner charged, who knows best all about the matter, to tell his own story fully, and be subjected to the usual test. Now, Mr. Lowther, for these reasons I hope that this Amendment will not be accepted, and before I sit down I wish to make only one more observation. The honourable and learned Member who moved the Amendment seemed to think that there was some danger of this power being used oppressively by the magistrates.


Yes, I do.


Well, I rely upon the sense of fairness of the English magistrates, and I do not think that any great difficulties will arise, or such as have been apprehended by my honourable and learned Friend, and I would therefore ask him to adopt the rule of common sense that the same principle should apply in all these cases.


If this Amendment is carried it will shut out from the accused person the right in his defence before the magistrate of getting evidence on his own behalf. Therefore, it might end in the prisoner being sent for trial, with all the expense and uncertainties attached thereto, and the possibility of his being imprisoned for a considerable time if bail were not found for him, when, if he had been allowed to go into the box, he might have succeeded in destroying the case made out by the prosecution, and gone away an innocent man. It is obvious if this Amendment is carried that the result will be as set forth in the answer which has been given by the Solicitor General, and this encourages me to hope that he will accept the Amendment which stands in my name, and which I cannot discuss at the present moment, but which I think is sufficiently distinct from the learned Gentleman's Amendment, as shown by the argument which the Solicitor General used in dealing with the Amendment now under discussion. But I am not going to labour that point at the present time, but I must say that I feel it extremely necessary that this power proposed to be given for the first time to a prisoner to give evidence on his own behalf should certainly be extended to those cases which are heard a first time before the magistrate or before a bench of magistrates. He cannot possibly be convicted there if he has committed an indictable offence, and they can only deal with it in cases where the prisoner pleads guilty, and he is in no worse position if he gives evidence, for he cannot be convicted on his own evidence in that court, and he must be returned for trial if he does not plead guilty. Therefore I cannot vote for this Amendment as it now stands. The proposal that the privilege of a prisoner giving evidence on his own behalf should be extended to petty sessions is one which I think requires a great deal more discussion than we have had upon it at the present time. We have had an enormous amount of opinions expressed on both sides quite as conflicting as only expert evidence can be. We have had the opinion of competent judges, recorders, chairmen of quarter sessions, and of other legal gentlemen. We have heard these opinions, but I would venture to point out that their opinions are mostly confined to cases tried in various courts where the prisoner has the advantage not only of a judge in the Court of Assize but often En experienced chairman of quarter sessions, and of one presiding over the court familiar with criminal procedure and practices, and possessing a legally-trained mind. Therefore I entirely agree that so far as the superior courts are concerned it is a very desirable and a very proper change in the law. I agree that an innocent man is very likely to be benefited by it, and a man who will go into the box and tell his own story is likely to profit by that opportunity. But I think that, Sir, depends very much upon the surrounding circumstances, which do not obtain at petty sessions, and which do not obtain before a bench of magistrates; but sometimes there is a very strong contention at the Bar. Members of the Bar are very fair and helpful wherever they can be, and I have never known them unduly pressing against a prisoner or taking undue advantage of him. Very often a police constable or superintendent of police gives evidence for the prosecution of what the prisoner has said, but I cannot help thinking that it is a very dangerous position to put a prisoner in, to allow him to open his mouth and give evidence, and be subjected to cross-examination under such circumstances. I believe in the great principle of giving a man a run of his money. If we extend this change I believe it will have a salutary effect upon the inferior courts and the magistrates of petty sessions. Let me point out that now prisoners generally do succeed in telling their own story: a prisoner generally tells his story in cross-examining a witness, so that he gets his story before the magistrate, and so far it may serve him better to have this opportunity without being subject to cross-examination by those who may not fully understand the case. My own experience is that in those cases in which a prisoner or a defendant can give evidence on his own behalf, for instance, in bastardy cases, the moment the defendant goes into the box and gives evidence he practically puts the rope round his own neck, and that man will be found guilty. I do think that it is advisable that this Bill should be extended to hearings before petty sessional courts, and on account of that omission in this Amendment I feel myself unable to vote for it.


It is not always in the interests of a man charged with some offence that he should have an opportunity at the earliest possible moment of making a case in the court below. The right honourable Gentle man the Solicitor General has been one of the most distinguished advocates at the Bar, and must have had a very large experience of criminal cases. Did he never know of a case in which an accused prisoner reserved his defence? It is very often done, and, without intending any offence, I regret that the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General should talk fustian about stamping out slander at the earliest possible moment. I am sure the right honourable Gentleman must frequently have secured the acquittal of his client by the expedient of reserving his defence in the lower court. On the other hand, the device called "stamping out slander" often had the result that the unfortunate prisoner practically puts into the hands of the prosecution the defence he intends to make. It is not the function of a magistrate in courts of first instance to decide on conflicting evidence. The prosecution make out the case, the defence is another matter. Although a magistrate may have a strong opinion on the merits of the case, it is not his business to usurp the functions of the jury. It is his business, if he thinks there is a question to be submitted to the jury, to send it to the jury, no matter what his opinion may be on the case. There are many honourable Members present who know something about the law, and they know that an advocate who attempted to conduct his case on the lines suggested would be doing his best to secure the conviction of his client. It is in many cases the interest of the prisoner not to make his case in the court below; it is to his interest in a good many cases not to indicate how he proposes to attack the prosecution, but to bottle up his case and spring it on the Crown. Even if this Bill is passed, a prisoner in these cases will not be foolish enough if properly advised, to submit himself to cross-examination in the court below. If a prisoner went into the box and told his own story, the result would be in nine cases out of ten he secures to himself, not the advantages which the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General has spoken of, but a substantial term of imprisonment.


There are cases where the change is slight, and which are likely to be sent for trial, and the prisoner will be indisposed to be examined. In these cases nobody will be any the worse, but there are many other cases which come under the Summary Jurisdiction Act, and in which the man who knows most about the facts will have the opportunity of telling what he knows. Not only will the man himself have the opportunity of giving his evidence, but his wife, who probably knows the facts best of all, will likewise have the opportunity. It is in cases like this I consider that the prisoner ought to have that opportunity, and I shall be disappointed if this Bill does not extend to courts of summary jurisdiction.


The argument is that in cases where you have a preliminary hearing, and where it is absolutely impossible for the justice to decide, they ought not to compel the defendant there and then to give his own story and submit himself to cross-examination. Honourable Members appeared to assume that the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General had an exceedingly great experience of criminal cases, but the truth was that the right honourable Gentleman had not had that experience which was attributed to him, probably because, early in his career, he had attained an eminent position at the Bar, and was drafted into the more lucrative part of the legal profession. I trust my honourable Friend the Member for Bethnal Green will withdraw his Amendment in favour of the Amendment of the honourable Member for Horsham.

*SIR J. DORINGTON (Gloucester, Tewkesbury)

I understand the Amendment in the opposite meaning to that which has been put upon it by the honourable Member who has just spoken. The Bill is going to be a very great, experiment, and one which I do not at all willingly accept. But I shall not be indisposed to see it tried in those superior courts where we have the advantage of the training of the judges in those courts. The right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General has spoken of the conspicuous fairness of all English courts. I believe they are fair, and they are fair because the custom has grown up in this country of giving the prisoner a fair chance; but there is some risk in the inferior courts under this Bill. If the Bill is passed as now drawn, perhaps for some time to come things may go on as they are, but gradually, I believe, both in the inferior and superior courts you will have a declension of the present custom, until we arrive at the position of French courts, where a prisoner is treated as a person from whom the judge can extract, in any way he thinks fit, evidence of his guilt. That is the danger of this Bill, and I ask the Government, if they are determined to pass it, to limit it to the experimental stage by trying it first in the superior courts, leaving the inferior courts as they are. If it is found that no evils ensue, we can take a further step and apply it to the inferior courts.


I hope this Amendment will not be accepted. It seems to me that everybody should be placed on the same footing, whether they are tried in the inferior or the superior courts. It seems to me that, so far as the principal part of the present law is concerned, this Bill will make very little difference indeed. There will be, as the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General says, occasional cases where it will be an undoubted advantage to a man that he should be called straight off, and so clear himself when he has an absolutely clear and safe case. So far as that part of the Bill is concerned, it is to the advantage of the prisoner, and I cannot understand the arguments of honourable Members behind me when they say that we ought not to apply summary jurisdiction in such cases. I am surprised that honourable Members behind me apparently think that the whole world will go wrong if counsel are allowed to cross-examine a prisoner. On the contrary, I think that if a man is innocent his cross-examination will prove his innocence, and not his guilt. In the case of offences against the game laws, very much depends upon the Bench. If they are strong game preservers, and if the prisoner is known in the neighbourhood to be a poacher, I think he runs a very poor chance of getting an acquittal; but he will not be in any better or worse position by the fact that the justices can ask him questions about what he was doing or where he was on the particular occasion when the alleged offence was committed.


I understand that, although the Government could not accept the Amendment of the honourable Member for Bethnal Green, there was a possibility of their accepting a modification in the direction of that Amendment. If that is so, now is the time to state it, because time would be saved, and the Committee would be able to proceed with the other Amendments. We all admit that the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General is a great authority on law, and it would be an impertinence on my part to disagree with him; yet, although we are not all lawyers, we have our own views of the administration of justice in courts of summary jurisdiction. Where I differ from the views of the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General is, that I say it would be a most dangerous proceeding to hand over such an instrument of torture as this Bill may be construed into the hands of game-preserving justices. A more dangerous weapon cannot be well conceived. I agree with the honourable Member for Gloucestershire that we are importing into our judicial procedure such revolutionary methods as render it necessary to depart from the usual custom of legislation; and that, if we are to make this serious experiment, let us limit it to those courts where by practice and custom and training we can be sure that this new law will be administered in the spirit in which it is intended to be administered. I agree with the right honourable Baronet the Member for Gloucester that we do not desire to import into this country such proceedings between judge and prisoner as we have read of recently in France. That will probably be the case in a large number of petty session courts if this Bill becomes law. I am making no reflection on the gentlemen who preside over courts of summary jurisdiction, in one of which I had the privilege of sitting for some years, and in which we were blessed with an exceptionally wise and judicious chairman, who kept us all in order, and conducted the business on strict lines of equity and justice. These are the right lines, but it is not always easy to follow them, and I have the greatest fear that in many hundreds of cases in rural districts, if this Bill is passed in its present form, some undesirable results will follow. Reference has been made to trades union, cases, and I hope I am not travelling out of order when I say that one of the reasons why I have been opposing this Bill from the commencement is that it may prejudice the working man. I have known, during 40 years' experience, many cases where a labouring man would have been, in my opinion, a great sufferer under the proposed procedure, by becoming his own advocate at the bar. It is not sufficient to say that in two or three trades union cases the men are capable of holding their own with a magistrate, and with the magistrate's clerk. They might be if they had equal opportunities. But the position of the man charged and the position of the magistrate are very different. The advantages are so enormously with the magistrate that, however intellectually capable a man charged may be, he has no opportunity in the circumstances of displaying his capability. This argument about the intellectual capability of trades union men is, therefore, no safeguard in such cases. Whatever intellectual capability a man may have, he has not the same opportunity as the magistrate, backed up by the legal person who advises him, called the justices' clerk. On this ground I oppose the Amendment, and I sincerely trust that, if the Government do intend, or can see their way, to accept some modification of it, the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General will tell us as soon as possible. The right honourable Gentleman has the advantage of the Leader of the House in his immediate neighbourhood, and we can give them five minutes for consultation on this matter; so that, if possible, they may remove this objection. This is not Party legislation, it has the support of honourable Members on both sides of the House. There is not a truer Tory or a better representative of Conservatism in the whole of Great Britain than the honourable Member for Gloucester, and I hope the right honourable Gentleman the Solicitor General will listen to the terrible words of warning which Sir John Dorington has addressed to the House as to the dangers to which we may be subjected unless this Bill is modified.

MR. SEELY (Lincoln)

I think the Government does not quite understand the position in which a man charged with an offence is placed. If a prisoner's story of what has happened is so clear and straightforward that there can be no doubt it is true, and that everybody to whom he tells it believes it, my impression is that that man hardly ever gets put upon his trial. The man who is put upon his trial is the man who is more or less connected with the case, or was connected with a similar case. I can tell the Committee of a case which came under my own observation. A gang went out poaching and got into trouble with a keeper. Some were caught, others got away. A man was arrested next morning on the charge that he had been out with the gang. He said the moment he was arrested that he had been at home all night, but his story was not altogether believed by the police. They believed they had evidence against him—I forget what it was, but I think his boots were wet. He was tried for the offence, and was not able to give evidence on his own behalf, and his wife could not give evidence for him. The case was decided on the question of identification, but the identification was very weak. The man was acquitted. Under this Bill, if it had been the law, the man would have been practically obliged to give evidence, and in all probability his defence would have broken down altogether.




Because he was not at home that night at all. He was out poaching with another gang.

On the return of the CHAIRMAN after the usual interval,


Mr. Lowther, I rise to support the Amendment because I am anxious as much as possible to narrow the scope of the Bill. I entirely dissent from the view that, because a man gives his evidence on oath, therefore it carries a great deal more weight than it would otherwise do. The prisoner has the opportunity of making his statement; he can make that statement as soon as he likes, and he generally does make that statement at a very early stage of the proceedings; and if a man is innocent the knowledge of that innocence arms him with such strength and power as to carry conviction in the minds of the tribunal. He says just the same as if he were giving evidence on oath. Now, Sir, my main reason for wishing to narrow the Bill down, and to confine it to cases triable on indictment—i.e., cases at quarter sessions and cases before judges—is that I regard this Bill more or less in the light of an experimental Bill. It is perfectly true that the Criminal Law Amendment Act has been in operation for some years, and that a large number of cases have been tried under that Act; but these cases stand on a different footing. But with regard to making the practice universal, we have it that the judges in this country are in a majority against the proposals contained in this Bill. That, Sir, seems to me to be a reason why, if you are going to make this experiment, it should be made on narrow, instead of broad, lines. There can be no doubt that this change in the law is looked upon with very great apprehension by those who are best qualified to form an opinion, and that seems to me to be a very strong reason why the Government should concede this Amendment, and say that prisoners shall be allowed to give evidence only in cases where they are tried by a judge of assize or before a chairman of quarter sessions. I agree with the opinion expressed by a previous speaker that the proposed experiment would work with great severity upon prisoners What it will do in practice is to greatly change the law on the subject and to throw the onus of proof on the prisoner instead of on the prosecution. One of the principles of the existing law is that the prisoner is assumed to be innocent until he is proved to be guilty. You may tell a jury what you please, the fact that a prisoner who is able to give evidence and has not given evidence will be weighed in the balance by a jury, and they will draw conclusions from it against the prisoner. Mr. Justice Hawkins, one of the judges opposed to this Bill, has stated that this experiment will work very seriously in the direction of increasing the perjury committed in the courts of law in this country. Now, Sir, I am anxious, as far as I can, to diminish the amount of perjury which is committed, especially in cases where we know perfectly well that no criminal proceedings for perjury will ever follow. We shall have under this Bill, if it ever becomes law as it stands, in every police court in this country, in every petty sessions throughout the length and breadth of the land, day after day, month after month, men going into the witness-box and committing what is perfectly obvious and palpable perjury, and nobody taking the slightest notice of it. That, Sir, is bound to have a most injurious public effect, and I think the Government, by accepting this Amendment, will do something to obviate the very serious state of affairs which Mr. Justice Hawkins pointed out would probably arise if this Bill became law. I do not agree altogether with the suggestion made by some honourable Members, that there should be a difference made between cases tried at petty session—i.e., that in some cases a man should be allowed to give evidence and in other cases not. It seems to me that a strong argument against adopting that course is to be found in the anomalous condition in which the law is at the present moment. But to create this distinction again would be, to my mind, to get the law into a state of even greater chaos than it is in at present. I think the Amendment itself is a sound one, and I hope the Government will accept it.

MR. K. WALLACE (Perth)

My honourable Friend is supporting this Amendment because he thinks this is a bad Bill in itself, and he therefore wishes to limit its scope. I, Sir, oppose the Amendment because I think the Bill a good one, and I desire to extend, as far as possible, its operations. I trust that the Government will not be misled by any observations which have been made to-day into accepting any modification of the Bill in regard to this clause. Mr. Lowther, I dissent entirely from the observations of my honourable Friend the Member for Leicester. I agree that this Bill works a revolution if you like, but it seems to me to be a most beneficent revolution in the interests of the innocent. A great many speakers seem very much concerned for the fate of some who may be tried, and who may be convicted because called upon to give evidence on their own behalf. Sir, I always feel this, that, after all, it is not a game which we are playing in connection with prisoners. We are simply desirous that the innocent man should be acquitted and that the guilty man should be convicted. But a great many Members of this House are much more concerned in regard to the fate of the guilty man lest he should not be convicted according to the rules of the game. Now, Sir, for that I care nothing. Of course, if it be true that the innocent man will be more likely to be convicted by telling his own story, there is a great deal in the objection which has been offered, but I am not going to discuss at this stage the general principle of the Bill. The House has affirmed the principle that a prisoner ought to be allowed to give evidence on oath. I ask honourable Gentlemen opposite who are supporting this Amendment if it is right and proper in itself that the prisoner who is being tried should give evidence. Why should we create a distinction between the law of evidence which prevails in the superior courts and that which prevails in the courts below?


Because we object to the Bill altogether.

MR. R. WALLACE (Perth)

Yes; the honourable Member for Leicester at once admits the indictment I made against him. He says his reason for supporting the Amendment is that he objects to the Bill altogether. It is a most noticeable fact that every Member who has supported the Amendment is opposed absolutely to the principle of the Bill. But I am speaking to those who are in favour of that principle, and I am asking them whether they would desire to see such a modification as this Amendment would bring about. It seems to me most undesirable to create one law of evidence in the superior courts and another in the courts of inferior jurisdiction. One other question has been raised. It does seem to me, if we believe that the giving of evidence by the prisoner will tend to establish his innocence, that he ought to be allowed the very earliest opportunity to establish that innocence if he can, and I should have thought that in these courts of summary jurisdiction, before a man is sent to trial to the superior courts, and probably locked up for weeks and months even when innocent, he should be allowed the opportunity of telling his own story in the first instance, and avoid being committed to trial, and the consequent suffer- ing and injustice which would fall upon him by his detention in prison, if by telling his own story at the beginning the magistrate would have discharged him. I only want to say I quite understand the position of those who believe that this Bill is a bad Bill in itself, and they are, of course, right in, as far as they possibly can, limiting its application; but those who do not believe it is a bad Bill in itself will agree that an innocent man should have the earliest opportunity of telling his own story. I accordingly support the Government in this matter, and I hope they will not consent to any modification.

MR. CARSON (Dublin University)

The honourable Member who spoke before my honourable and learned Friend asked why it was that this Measure, being revolutionary and experimental, was not drawn on narrow lines. The honourable Member must recollect that a Conservative Government is in power, and he must know from the legislation of the past two or three years that we are not proceeding with revolutionary Measures on narrow lines, but upon the broadest possible lines that could be conceived. The honourable and learned Member who has last spoken has been very severe in his criticisms upon those who have supported this Amendment, because he says they were making Second Reading speeches and supporting the Amendment solely because they disliked the Bill. I am one of those who cordially dislike this Bill. I do not know any Bill in relation to criminal procedure in our courts which has more detestable features about it than this Bill, and if for no other reason than my detestation of this revolutionary Measure, I should think I was perfectly justified in supporting the Amendment to limit its scope. But I think I shall be able to satisfy the House that, apart from any reason against the principle of the Bill, there are grave reasons for limiting its operation to prisoners being tried before a judge in the superior courts and to cases tried on indictment. My special objection to the Bill as it stands is that in cases of indictable offences the magistrates have no power to decide upon the evidence, and can only send the case forward when a primâ facie case is made out. A prisoner will be led into giving evidence which will afterwards be used against him on his trial in the superior court upon an indictment, the evidence being given at a time when the prisoner was not professionally represented at all, or had no opportunity of consulting those best able to guide him in his defence. Take the case of a man brought before a bench of magistrates on an indictable charge. I want to know, if you have a dozen magistrates or half a dozen magistrates, is every one of them to be entitled to question the prisoner? Are you to allow these six magistrates or these 12 magistrates to put their own peculiar views to the prisoner? That is what you are going to do by allowing this Bill to stand as it is, and you further enable the answer the prisoner gives to be used against him afterwards on indictment before a judge and jury. And for what? Is it with a view to the prisoner being tried? No, because he cannot be tried on indictment, as the magistrates have no power to say whether the prisoner, instead of being sent forward for trial, should be then tried. They have no such jurisdiction, as the law only allows them to send forward the case when a primâ facie case is made out, to be decided before a judge and jury. It is not at all unusual in our criminal code that there are matters which may be given in evidence before a judge and jury which could not be gone into before the magistrates. Take the case of a man tried for libel. In that case the law does not allow a man to plead justification before the magistrates, for the simple reason that the magistrates have not got the power of jurisdiction, and of trying whether the libel was justified or not. But when the matter comes before a jury justification can be pleaded, and the person charged has a perfect right to go into the question of whether the libel was right or whether it was wrong. In such cases you are really giving a power against the prisoner, who may be undefended, by questions by the magistrates or the prosecuting counsel, to get such information as they may think necessary for the purpose of completing the case for the Crown. When this Bill was before the House for Second Heading we were told again and again that the prisoner would have the pro- tection of the judge and the protection of the Crown counsel, who were always men of the highest calibre and character, selected by the Attorney General. That was one of the stock answers given to us. But what does this Amendment ask for? It asks that the prisoner should have that very protection, and that it should not be left to a particular solicitor, or whoever it may be, who is conducting the prosecution, or to a particular bench of magistrates, to take their own methods for the purpose of elaborating the case against the prisoner. There is one other grave reason. If a man is going to be tried on indictment, it is, above all things, necessary that no suggestion should be made against the prisoner before he enters the dock. When the Bill was before the House for Second Reading an inquest was proceeding in London, and a particular person submitted himself for examination. What was the use made of it? Questions were suggested over and over again by counsel to the Crown which could not possibly be evidence against him. I do not wish to pursue the concrete case, but under the Bill as it stands the counsel for the Crown would have an opportunity of making these suggestions, and they may be denied, but what would be said, "Oh, he is only the prisoner—the man in the dock trying to save himself," and the jury may be misled by these suggestions made in the inferior court. Surely, if we are going to make this change in the law at all, we ought to take care, at all events, that no injustice of this kind shall happen. In all serious cases men will be tried by indictment, and if this Amendment is carried the prisoner will yet possess the fullest opportunity of being examined and cross-examined on that indictment. Let us leave it there, and see how it works. Let us take care that the protection of our ablest judges and of counsel of the greatest responsibility may be brought to bear and influence this change, and let us not rush into a system of allowing a man to be brought forward unprotected before any haphazard bench of magistrates, and any class of counsel or solicitor, for the purpose of obtaining information which may afterwards be used against him. Sir, I think the Government ought to consent to this Amendment. It does not go to the root of the Bill, it is not hostile to the principle it wishes to affirm, it will not prevent the prisoner giving evidence, and I would ask my right honourable and learned Friend to meet the objections of those who have a great deal of experience, when he is proposing such a revolutionary change.


In supporting this Amendment I do earnestly hope the Solicitor General, in making his answer to the honourable Member who moved, will make it plain. Well, Sir, I say that the Solicitor General did not really deal with the merits of this Amendment. The theory upon which this Bill is founded appears to be this—namely, that the Bill cannot possibly do any injury to an innocent prisoner, because the theory of the Government is that every prisoner who is innocent is also spotless. The theory I should rather advance is that prisoners who are said to be innocent are very spotty, and far from being spotless. Take the story of the poacher who could not be found at home on a particular night. It turned out that although he was not out with the gang he was suspected to be with, he was out with another gang. Now, the honourable Member for Perth says it is not a game we are playing; and he objects to the principle of the Bill because it is unsportsmanlike, and does not give the prisoner enough law. We should be content with our knowledge of human nature, which must be believed. Then it is said that prisoners, being what they are, tainted and surrounded with suspicion, when put into the box and cross-examined will be placed under a great disadvantage. If that is the case, then give up all your laws of evidence. Certainly, it is a question of the circumstances of the rules under which the prisoner is examined; and this Amendment seems to me to be one of those Amendments which should form part of the Bill. What does it do? In the discussion to follow we shall not only hear Members' opinions of the Bill, but their opinions of each other. But, Sir, this Amendment, as I understand it, in the presence of the increasing legal know ledge of this House would leave the Bill to apply to all cases where there is a jury, and would prevent its applying to any case where a jury was not empannelled. Much as I object to the Bill itself—and I do object to it, partly because of its revolutionary character, and partly because I regard it as dangerous—I do think that the real effects of it cannot become known until it is brought into action. Much, I say, as I object to the Bill, I should be glad if the Government could see its way to limit the scope of it—that a prisoner might have the assistance of a jury. Then a prisoner could say for himself: "I have made a mess of my evidence, but I have the jury to fall back upon." In courts of summary jurisdiction he would not have that privilege. I want this to be taken into account—that in a large number of cases in courts of summary jurisdiction he would not be able to do that. There the prosecutor is a sergeant of police, or—


The inspector.


Well, he is a man who knows the prisoner. He is brought into the dock surrounded with suspicion. The statements of the Attorney General and the Solicitor General to the contrary are mere creations of their own imaginations. The prisoner is there. He goes before the magistrates, and the prosecutor, the sergeant or inspector of police, knows all about him, and immediately proceeds to cross-examine him as to his antecedents. Supposing the prisoner consents to the examination, but supposing the prisoner does not consent to be examined; is it not manifest that, having the opportunity, he deliberately refuses his assent as required by the Bill, the effect would be to raise at once a strong presumption of his own guilt? In these lower courts I say the prisoner should not be put to this cruel alternative, as it is simply inviting him to put a rope around his own neck. Now, Sir, the honourable and learned Member for Carmarthen drew a delightful picture of the kind of lawyers with whom his acquaintance is more general than mine. He regarded the lawyer much the same as the amiable lamb feeding on the pastures of criminal law. Now, Sir, in my opinion, when you put a lawyer on to a prisoner and the cross-examination ensues, it necessarily becomes a sort of duel between the two. The lamb becomes a sleuthhound hunting down his game. Thus the bond of sympathy between the lawyer and the prisoner is utterly broken. In dealing with this Bill, our objections spring from our knowledge of human, nature. When a lawyer comes into the Superior courts armed with the knowledge of a man's innocence or guilt, it puts the prisoner in an unfair position which the system of the laws of England never contemplated. In spite of the conservative instincts, in spite of the conservative principle whch always lies deep in the breast of every sound Radical, in spite of the warnings of other gentlemen who recite their country's traditions which have lasted for a thousand years, I say if you are determined to destroy one of the Bill's principal safeguards and principal ornaments, be limited in your experiment, and let it be confined to the superior courts. I am absolutely bound, Sir, to vote for this Amendment, which I consider to be of the utmost importance to the Bill.

*MR. HEDDERWICK (Wick Burghs)

It would be difficult, Sir, to exaggerate the importance of the Measure now before the House. It involves a very large experiment in a sphere of legislation where the stake at issue is the liberty of those of our fellow-countrymen who have the misfortune to be placed on their trial under allegation of criminal offences. This being so, it would seem, at all events, desirable that the Government should not rush rashly into an experiment involving consequences of such magnitude. I believe the law officers of the Crown are honestly convinced that if this Bill were passed it would enure to the benefit of innocent persons, but this, after all, is mere conjecture. It remains to be seen, should the Bill become law, to what extent, if any, their conviction will be justified by experience. So far as one can gather from the Debate, those who ought to be most competent to express an opinion are much divided in their judgment of the probable effect of the Bill. Under these circumstances, Mr. Lowther, it seems to me that the Government would be well advised if they were to limit their experiment—as has already been suggested by the honourable Member for Trinity College, Dublin—to those superior courts where there would be no chance of this Measure being in any sense abused. I observe, Sir, that the learned Solicitor General, in replying to this Amendment, paid a very high compliment to the magistrates who discharge the duties of our petty sessional courts. I do not desire to say anything to detract from the merits of gentlemen who discharge very onerous duties without fee or reward; but I cannot help asking the Solicitor General if, in the course of his eminent career, he has ever appeared before a court of petty sessions? I gather from his silence that he has never had that experience. There is no reason why the learned Solicitor General should blush for lack of an experience of which no one, so far as I know, who has enjoyed it is proud. At the same time, I must say, speaking from professional experience, that the administration of justice in courts of first instance is often of a rough and tumble order, and is too frequently characterised by a rapidity little calculated to inspire confidence in its capacity for experimental functions. I do not wish to make remarks offensive to gentlemen who are magistrates, but it is common knowledge that our unpaid magistrate knows little or no law, and is usually guided in his judgment by the clerk of the court. In too many cases that is so. There are, besides, those considerations which have already been advanced by previous speakers upon which I do not intend to dwell. Let me only, in passing, emphasise the point that where the prosecutor is the inspector of police danger of the innovation proposed is obviously increased. I say there is no foundation for the supposition of the Solicitor General that a person appearing before such a tribunal would have no opportunity of making a statement of his case. As a matter of fact, he can now make a statement. He is asked to do so. The only difference is that he does not now make his statement on oath. In like manner when he has been committed, and comes up for trial before a judge and jury, he can make his statement to the jury, who are called upon to consider their verdict upon the evidence after the prisoner has given his account of the matter, if he chooses to do so, in response to the invitation of the judge. Well, Mr. Lowther, under those circumstances it seems at the least questionable whether a man who is charged with an indictable offence should be absolutely compelled—because that is what it comes to—when he comes before one of those inferior tribunals to make a statement upon oath which must subject him to the rigorous inquisition of cross-examination, and so to arm the prosecution against him to an incalculable extent before his trial takes place. It is for these reasons that I suggest to the learned Attorney General that it is desirable that an experiment of so large a character, carrying with it consequences so grave and far-reaching, should be confined in the first place to courts where it may be tried with less fear of mischance or misuse.


My right honourable Friend the Member for the University of Dublin made a special appeal to me to consider this Amendment, with a view to its being possibly adopted. Well, I attach great importance to any suggestion made by my right honourable Friend, but I attach less importance to this suggestion than I otherwise might, owing to the fact that he avowed that he cordially detests this Bill. He detests the Government of which he is a nominal supporter just now.


Only a nominal supporter?


The right honourable Gentleman said there was nothing he detests so much as the Bill.


Oh, dear no; I did not say that. This Bill does not apply to Ireland.


At all events the right honourable Gentleman used very strong and vehement language in expressing his dislike for this Bill, and I think it would be difficult to find more forcible language.


Not in the least.


Under these circumstances I am not at all surprised if my right honourable Friend is desirous of making the Bill, which he detests, ridiculous; and the effect of this Amendment would be to put the Bill on a basis on which it could not possibly rest. I would ask the Committee to realise the state of things this Bill would produce—that there is to be one law of evidence before the magistrate and another law of evidence when the man is on his trial before the jury; there is to be one law of evidence when the offence is punishable by summary jurisdiction, and another when it is punishable by indictment. I venture to submit that no reasons whatever have been adduced to justify such an extraordinary anomaly in the law of evidence. My right honourable Friend paid the Government the compliment of saying all their Measures are on broad lines. I hope so, and I hope that any Government, dealing with a matter of this sort, when it has once grasped the principle at its root, will have the courage to apply it fairly and fully and not fritter it away by such absurd restrictions as are imposed by this Amendment. I confess I was struck by the strength of language with which the right honourable Gentleman avowed his dislike for the Bill. What is the hardship upon the prisoner? He can reserve his defence, and if this Bill applies to the proceedings before the magistrate, that right is not in the slightest degree interfered with. It is said he can make his statement now before the magistrate, but I appeal to the learned gentlemen who have had experience of criminal courts whether a statement merely made in the form in which the prisoner is now invited to make the statement before the magistrate has at all the same effect as detailed examination by way of question put by his counsel or solicitor, answered by the accused and tested by the other side, if they desire it, by cross-examination. One word more, Mr. Lowther, before I sit down. It has been pointed out, and I do not think it is denied, that the present state of the law produces, and must produce, in a certain number of cases, hardship upon innocent people. The honourable Member for King's Lynn said there are no people charged whoso case is absolutely clear, but there are always some suspicious circumstances. If that be so, surely that is the strongest argument for giving them an opportunity of giving their explanation of

those suspicious circumstances at the earliest possible stage. The whole arguments in support of this Amendment have been in support of this fact, that we are to perpetuate an injustice in the case of innocent persons, in order that guilty persons may have undeserved chances of escape.

Question put— That the words 'on indictment' be there inserted.'

The Committee divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 216.—(Division List No. 175.)

Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.) Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H. Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Allan, Wm. (Gateshead) Holden, Sir Angus Steadman, William Charles
Allhusen, Augustus H. E. Horniman, Frederick John Stevenson, Francis S.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Jacoby, James Alfred Strachey, Edward
Barlow, John Emmott Lambert, George Stuart, James (Shoreditch)
Bayley, Thos. (Derbyshire) Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead) Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUny)
Brigg, John Lewis, John Herbert Tennant, Harold John
Broadhurst, Henry Macaleese, Daniel Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)
Caldwell, James McIver, Sir Lewis Tully, Jasper
Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow) Maddison, Fred. Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward Malcolm, Ian Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Causton, Richard Knight Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand Warner, Thomas C. T.
Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole Mount, William George Wayman, Thomas
Colville, John Norton, Capt. Cecil William Wedderburn, Sir William
Daly, James Nussey, Thomas Willans Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.
Donkin, Richard Sim O'Brien, J. F. X. (Cork) Wilson, Charles H. (Hull)
Doogan, P. C. O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal) Wilson, John (Govan)
Dorington, Sir John Edward O'Kelly, James Wilson, J. W. (Worc, N.)
Duckworth, James Pease, Alf. E. (Cleveland) Woods, Samuel
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Pickard, Benjamin Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan) Pretyman, Ernest George Yoxall, James Henry
Garfit, William Reckitt, Harold James
Goulding, Edward Alfred Redmond, William (Clare) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Galloway and Mr. Lloyd Morgan.
Harwood, George Rickett, J. Compton
Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale- Robson, William Snowdon
Healy, Maurice (Cork) Shaw, Chas. E. (Stafford)
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)
Allsopp, Hon. George Bigwood, James Cecil, Lord H. (Greenwich)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Billson, Alfred Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.
Arrol, Sir William Birrell, Augustine Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Blundell, Colonel Henry Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)
Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Mdsx.) Clough, Walter Owen
Bailey, James (Walworth) Brassey, Albert Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.
Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness) Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Coddington, Sir William
Baird, John George Alex. Bullard, Sir Harry Coghill, Douglas Harry
Baker, Sir John Burt, Thomas Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse
Baldwin, Alfred Buxton, Sydney Charles Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J.(Manch.) Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.
Banes, Major George Edward Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson- Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.
Bartley, George C. T. Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh) Cox, Robert
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. Cawley, Frederick Cranborne, Viscount
Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l) Cayzer, Sir Charles William Crombie, John William
Cross, Herb. S. (Bolton) Kenyon, James Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Cruddas, William, Donaldson Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm. Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Charles T.
Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P. Laurie, Lieut.-General Robinson, Brooke
Doughty, George Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool) Rothschild, Baron F. J. de
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lawson, John Grant (Yorks) Round, James
Doxford, William Theodore Lea Sir T. (Londonderry) Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'm)
Dunn, Sir William Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H. Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Dyke, Kt. Hon. Sir W. Hart Leighton, Stanley Rutherford, John
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Leng, Sir John Savory, Sir Joseph
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R. Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Loder, Gerald Walter E. Sharpe, William Edward T.
Finch, George H. Logan, John William Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renf.)
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham) Simeon, Sir Barrington
Fisher, William Hayes Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)
Fitz Gerald, Sir R. Penrose- Lorne, Marquess of Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Lowe, Francis William Smith, Hn. W. F. D. (Strand)
Flannery, Fortescue Loyd, Archie Kirkman Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Flower, Ernest Lucas-Shadwell, William Spencer, Ernest
Fry, Lewis Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
Gibbons, J. Lloyd Macartney, W. G. Ellison Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)
Gilliat, John Saunders Maclure, Sir John William Stanley, H. M. (Lambeth)
Gold, Charles McEwan, William Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'T.
Goldsworthy, Major-General M'Ghee, Richard Stock, James Henry
Gordon, Hon. John Edward McLaren, Charles Benjamin Stone, Sir Benjamin
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Maden, John Henry Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J.(St. Geo's) Mappin, Sir Frederick T. Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire) Thomas, All (Glamorgan, E.)
Gourley, Sir Edward T. Milton, Viscount Thorburn, Walter
Graham, Henry Robert Milward, Colonel Victor Tollemache, Henry James
Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Monk, Charles James Tomlinson, W. E. Murray
Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury) More, Robert Jasper Tritton, Charles Ernest
Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs) Morrell, George Herbert Ure, Alexander
Greville, Captain Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.
Gull, Sir Cameron Muntz, Philip A. Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Gunter, Colonel Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)
Halsey, Thomas Frederick Murray, Col. W. (Bath) Warkworth, Lord
Hamond, Sir C. (Newcastle) Myers, William Henry Warr, Augustus Frederick
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Newdigate, Francis Alex. Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-L.)
Hatch, Ernest Frederick G. Nicol, Donald Ninian Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)
Heath, James Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Helder, Augustus Oldroyd, Mark Willox, Sir John Archibald
Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down) Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol) Paulton, James Mellor Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead) Pease, Arthur (Darlington) Woodall, William
Holburn, J. G. Perks, Robert William Woodhouse, Sir J. T.
Hozier, Hon. James H. C. Philipps, John Wynford Wylie, Alexander
Hudson, George Bickersteth Phillpotts, Capt. Arthur Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.
Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice. Pierpoint, Robert Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Pirie, Duncan V. Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Powell, Sir Francis Sharp Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E. Pryce-Jones, Edward
Johnston, William (Belfast) Purvis, Robert TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Jones, D. B. (Swansea) Pym, C. Guy
Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire) Rankin, James
Kay-Shuttleworth,RtHnSirU. Renshaw, Charles Bine
Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H. Richardson, J. (Durham)

Amendment proposed— Page 1, line 5, leave out 'an offence' and insert 'a misdemeanour.'"—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)


My Amendment is at clause 1, page 1, line 5, to leave out "an offence," and insert "misdemeanour." That will restrict the Bill to cases of misdemeanour. I believe the difference between a misdemeanour and a felony is that for felony a man could be hanged, but that in no case of misdemeanour could he be hanged.


That is not so now.


I understood that that was so, and I thought I had good legal authority. Undoubtedly a misdemeanour is an offence of a different kind from a felony. It is a specific class of cases, and it is as regards felony of a lower order and very often what might be called of a meaner kind. I candidly avow that I do not like this Bill, that I am very apprehensive of it, and my object is to restrict it as much as possible. This is a restrictive Amendment. It would prevent the Bill applying to any other class of offence or crime than misdemeanour. I shall not press it to a Division if the Solicitor General gives a satisfactory reason for saying that this would injure the Bill, so as to prevent it being proceeded with further. Meantime, I move the Amendment that stands in my name.


I would point out to my honourable Friend that the distinction he proposes to introduce would really be a very unmeaning one. The only point on which I agree with him is the historical one as to the difference between felony and misdemeanour; that in the old days a man convicted of felony was hanged, whereas if a man were convicted of misdemeanour he was committed to prison. In many cases the distinctions between felonies and misdemeanours are thoroughly arbitrary distinctions. There are some misdemeanours more serious than some felonies.


I think this Amendment raises a very important question, but at the same time I do not think it raises it in the best form. I quite agree with what the learned Solicitor General has said as to the distinction between felony and misdemeanour. Now, I think the law, as it at present stands, as regards the right of a prisoner to be examined, is not in a satisfactory state, and what I think the Government ought to do in this Bill, if they desire to make a beneficial change, is to go through the criminal code and classify the offences contained in it, and treat each particular offence on its merits—to ascertain whether that particular class of offence is, or is not, a crime to which this Bill should apply. I think if they do that we will arrive at a conclusion which will be more satisfactory than the conclusion under the existing law, which makes the rule that a prisoner shall not be examined in any case. Now a reference has been made to the fact that in cases against women the law at present is that the prisoner can be examined. I think that is a proper state of the law; I think there is good reason why the prisoner should be examined in that case, and those who are familiar with the law on that subject will know that in the old days all legal text-books dealing with that particular class of crime began by warning the reader that it was a class of offence easily to be charged against a man, but very difficult to disprove, and where, therefore, the independent evidence from a third party is not available, I conceive that in that class of case the change in the law was a most beneficial change. Well, now, let me take another illustration. The Attorney General, in his opening statement on this Bill, pointed out that in the most recent Statutes creating new crimes it was the practice to provide that the prisoner could be examined, and he cited cases under the Explosives Act passed in 1884. He said that in the class of offence created by that Statute Parliament went out of its way to prevent the prisoner being examined. That Act made the mere possession of explosives a criminal offence. It created a presumption against the person in whose possession the explosives were found, and it placed upon him the onus of explaining why he had them in his possession. If you say the mere possession of explosives is criminal, it becomes obvious that if you pass an enactment it is a necessary corollary that you should give the prisoner an opportunity of being examined. Therefore, on the case cited by the Attorney General his general defence only proves that Parliament was wise. Now the Attorney General also cited embezzlement, robbery, and cases of that kind, and in these cases he pointed out that the prisoner suffered considerable hardship because he is not permitted to be examined. That is so; but the mistake, to my mind, is that because there is a particular class of offence which it is proper to examine the prisoner in, that therefore you should make it a general rule of law, which, to my mind, would practically make it compellable for the prisoner to be examined; It was that I was in favour, on the Second Reading, of referring the question to a Select Committee, and one of the duties which that Committee would perform would be to select the particular offences to which this Bill would apply. Now, as I have said I do not defend the Amendment on its merits, I admit that the right honourable Gentleman has said that to revive in this Bill a distinction between felony and misdemeanour and to make that a ground on which to decide whether or not a prisoner should be examined, would be a false line to adopt; but I do say that certainly it would be easy for us to point to a particular category of crimes known to the law, when it would be wise to allow the prisoner to be examined. Take the case of murder. I say that in a case where a man's life is in peril, where his very life may hang upon a particular answer he may give, I say it would be a very grave thing to provide that that man shall be, and in reality, must be, examined, and in addition to be cross-examined, that all his words spoken under circumstances of excitement, under circumstances of agitation, should be scrutinised and submitted to close examination in a court of law, when all the circumstances of disadvantage are on the side of the prisoner, and all the circumstances of advantage on the side of the prosecutor. The prisoner in a case of that kind cannot have any advantage from his own evidence. What is the value of any evidence given by a man when dealing with a story when the question is whether or not his life will be taken? Therefore, he can have no advantage from his story in the witness-box, while on the other hand, submitted as he would be to a close cross-examination, he may be put in a most awful position. I say the Government will be well advised, seeing the growing doubt as to the effect of this Bill, to consider whether they should not decide upon the particular classes of cases to which this Bill should apply; and while I do not think the Amendment raises the question in its best form, I say it is a question of a most important character.


I do not know if the honourable Gentleman is quite serious in raising this Amendment, but at all events he looks serious. His Amendment, if adopted, would turn out to be absolutely ridiculous. A common assault is a misdemeanour; therefore the defendant could give his evidence in that case. The effect of the honourable Member's Amendment would be that if a man was charged with unlawful wounding, he could be examined; but if he is charged with unlawful wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, he could not give his evidence. Take the case of indecent assault; in that case he could give his evidence, but in the case of common rape he could not. Is there any sense in an Amendment of this kind?


The truth of the matter is that there is no definite distinction between a felony and a misdemeanour. I do not know what the distinction is preserved for. The crime of bigamy, for instance, which, in many cases, is not a very serious one, and in which the judge is constantly in the habit of binding over the person to come up for judgment when called upon, is by law a felony, and the crime of indecent assault, which may be very serious and which is very severely punished, is a misdemeanour. There is no reason why in the one case bigamy should be a felony, and in the other indecent assault should be a misdemeanour. Arson is a felony; if a man burns anything down which is worth £2 or £3, he is by law a felon. But the abduction of a girl of 16 is a misdemeanour. Forgery, even of a very small amount, is said to be a felony. The larceny of a threepenny loaf is a felony; but if you obtain a thousand pounds by false pretences that is a misdemeanour. It is perfectly ridiculous that these distinctions should be preserved by law. In some cases embezzlement is a felony and in some cases a misdemeanour. Such anomalies can be multiplied. They show that the honourable Member who moved the Amendment has not fully grasped the distinction between a felony and a misdemeanour.


The information which has been given to the Committee is extremely satisfactory to me. One says there is a great distinction between a felony and a misdemeanour, and the other says there is not. My desire was to further the probress of this discussion, and I certainly do not intend to press this Amendment. The Solicitor General opposes this Amendment, and that is a good reason against me. Anomalies have been spoken of. Why, Sir, there is at present a Bill dealing with the criminal law of Ireland; there is another with reference to England, and there is another with reference to Scotland, The Bill itself is an anomaly. Of course, my desire is that we should not waste any time by further discussing an unimportant point. Some portions of this Bill will have to be discussed word by word and letter by letter, and at great length, and therefore with that promise I withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment withdrawn.

Amendment proposed— After the word 'offence' to insert the words 'not triable by a court of summary jurisdiction, whether with the consent of the accused or not.'"—(Mr. Heywood John-stone.)


I propose to move this very briefly, in only a few words, because I have already put my opinions very largely before the Committee. We had a great number of opinions expressed on this subject, which have tended to show the diversity of views on the point, but practically nothing has been said from the point of view of practical experience as to what the effect would be in petty sessional courts. If anything could induce me to make my remarks shorter than I intend them to be, it is that I noticed that in the course of the Debate which has taken place on this Bill every succeeding Member who speaks manages to add a new element of conflict, of doubt, and uncertainty. I think I may claim, having regard to the opinions and speeches of a great many Members who have spoken this afternoon, that they are in favour of the Amendment before the Committee. In this case the prisoner or accused person always has an opportunity of telling his own story, which generally comes out very clearly in his own favour. The man is asked if he has any question to ask, and he immediately commences to state his own case. I wish to add the words "whether with the consent of the accused or not." These words are inserted because there might arise a difficulty which has been suggested to me that a summary conviction under a plea of guilty might not be included in the Amendment as it stands. As to anomalies, I may ask, does not our English law bristle with so-called anomalies, and is not the Anglo-Saxon race able to find its way through all these anomalies? An anomaly does not always involve a mischievous difference. We are making a vast and great alteration in our criminal law—an alteration to which I heartily subscribe. I think I have shown a good and sufficient reason for applying a remedy to certain classes of cases, triable by a certain kind of tribunal.


I hope the Committee will not accept the Amendment. My honourable Friend has introduced this Amendment to the Committee on the ground that it is introduced as an anomaly. It is perfectly true, as he said, that we have learned to put up in this country with a great many anomalies, and we make them work very well. They have grown up and developed; they naturally came into existence, and the fact that we get over them is no reason for manufacturing fresh anomalies. I will just say a few words in reply to my honourable Friend. I wish to be very brief, because the matter of this Amendment has been discussed at great length already, in connection with an earlier matter. Is it a tolerable state of things that, when a man is charged with an offence before a court of summary jurisdiction, his wife is not a competent witness? It is assumed that an offence punishable by summary conviction is not so grave as one punishable by indictment; but to the working man it may be perfectly ruinous to the whole course of his life—it may effect the losing of his situation. It is a state of things that no one can attempt to justify. By introducing this fresh anomaly my honourable Friend is perpetuating that. With regard to the evidence of the man himself, we know how the law, as it stands at present, is evaded. I was told not long ago of a man who got into an altercation with a policeman. The policeman took out a summons and charged the man with assault. The master of the man believed that he was in the right, and determined that he should have a fair hearing. He took the advice of a lawyer skilled in criminal law, and a cross summons was taken out against the policeman for assaulting the servant. The magistrate, after hearing the evidence of the servant, as well as the evidence of the policeman—the evidence of the servant could not have been admissible on the summons taken out by the policeman against him—came to the conclusion that he would dismiss both summonses. The magistrate was bound to hear both sides, because of the summons taken out against the policeman, otherwise he would only have had the evidence of the policeman and no evidence on the other side. This is not satisfactory, and I submit that the law should be put right in this court as in others. My honourable Friend says there is a danger of a miscarriage of justice, because magistrates have not so large an experience as the judges of the High Court. But the question is whether there is an adequate sense of fair play. I believe that that sense of fair play will be found existing in the courts of summary jurisdiction just as in any other courts.


I support the Amendment. My honourable and learned Friend the Solicitor General objected to several speeches on the ground that they were practically Second Reading speeches. The previous discussion was almost entirely occupied by the speeches of legal Members dealing with the question of trials at assizes and quarter sessions. There has been practically no discussion until to-day as to the effect of this Bill upon petty session cases. I must say I wish to impress most strongly upon the Government the very grave doubts which many people feel as to the wisdom of this change in petty sessional courts. The entire basis of the Government's proposal rests upon the assumption—which I believe to be an entire assumption incapable of proof—that a large number of innocent people in this country are convicted because they cannot give evidence in their own defence. My impression is that hardly any innocent people are convicted in England at the present time. It may do harm, but I do think you are not going to do any good. The dangers I see in applying this law to petty sessions are there. As was said by an honourable Member there is very little risk that any evil would come if you allow the prisoner to give evidence in his own defence. But you will slowly and gradually get into the habit in English courts of practising the custom which exists in many countries—and which is not a wise custom nor a desirable custom in any country—of the magistrate becoming practically the prosecuting counsel. Everyone who knows anything about the way in which petty sessions courts are practically worked must realise that when a man gives evidence the magistrate or the magistrate's clerk will have to cross-examine him, and will have to ask him questions on his evidence. I cannot help thinking that the proposal will lead to dangers I foresee. I do not think at present there is anything to justify us in making this alteration. The learned Solicitor General has also raised the question of the anomaly under the present law. Now, I would submit to him that the very facts that he gave were proof that there is no substantial injustice committed at present. As things stand at present a man in a petty sessions court has an opportunity of telling his story; practically a man has always an opportunity of telling his story. The difference this Bill would make would be that what he stated he would state on oath. Consider this question. You have a man up for a small offence—say rabbiting on Sunday—and he is to be punished by a fine of £1 or 30. If he does not give evidence he will certainly be convicted. If he does, you put him in the position that he is asked questions, and he has to make statements in cross-examination which practically are certain to show whether he is guilty or not. Either you make the oath an absurd farce, or, on the other hand, you do have a prosecution for perjury. You are face to face with the fact that, for a small offence for which he was originally liable, you subject him to the risk of a sentence of penal servitude for forgery. I think it is most undesirable to apply the Act to petty sessions courts in England. I can see no justification for doing so. The fact that there is an anomaly is not a practical difficulty with those who have had experience in petty sessions.


I do not agree with my honourable Friend who has just sat down that the magistrates of petty sessions are likely to acquire the position of prosecuting counsel. As a general rule these prosecutions are conducted by the police. I feel quite confident, if magistrates continue in the same temper as at present, that when a prisoner offers himself as a witness the magistrates will take care that the points, in his favour are brought out. Often when a prisoner makes a statement it is so confused that it is next to impossible to make head or tail of it, and as the law stands magistrates are forbidden to ask a man a single question for the purpose of elucidation. An honourable Member said that the only difference between the present law and the Bill was that in the one case the evidence would be taken on oath, and in the other it would not. It seems to me that the real difference is that a statement made on oath can be questioned, or elucidated, or withdrawn, whereas a statement that is not made on oath cannot be tested. It has been said that a danger which an innocent man runs who gives evidence on oath is that he may be so much confused by his position, or by fearing that in his statements he may say things which may lead to his conviction, that this will have a very adverse effect upon the tribunal. I submit that it will not have an effect upon the minds of magistrates who are accustomed to try these cases every day. Of course, they know when they take their seats upon the bench every morning that that is one of the things that they have to bear in mind They know very well that a man may be so frightened that he may tell a lie, although he is an innocent man. In my opinion, when magistrates see that a prisoner is nervous they will take into account the probability of his telling a lie through fear, and by proper questioning bring out the truth. Undefended prisoners can rely upon the honesty and good sense of magistrates.


It is not the honesty or the benevolence of magistrates which is in question. It is simply their inability in a great number of cases to carry out with justice this innovation of the law of our country. You are importing an inquisitorial practice from abroad, and are going to put this new law at the head of all the petty sessional courts in the country to see what comes out of it. It is sufficiently dangerous to put a weapon of this kind in the hands of a judge, or a trained lawyer, but it is a thousand times more dangerous to put it into the hands of a large number of the justices of the peace who have had no training whatever in law, and who have had, in many cases, little experience of the world or of administrative work, and it is for these reasons that we oppose this portion of the Bill and advocate the Amendment. It is all very well to say that this is going to help the prisoner. It will not help the prisoner; in my judgment it will act exactly in the opposite direction. Now, the learned Member for Dublin University asked who was to be the examiner under this Bill. That is a very pertinent question, and I should like to reply to it. Is it to be the chairman of the petty sessions, or the magistrates' clerk, or each and all of them, or as many magistrates as happen to be present on a particular day? Is the magistrates' clerk to commence the cross-examination, is the chairman of the bench to follow, and he in turn to be followed by the latest person added to the bench, it may be because he has been a political supporter or a party hack of one side or the other? [Ministerial laughter.] Yes, perhaps some honourable Gentlemen on the opposite side have had a petition for this purpose, and therefore I can understand their laughter. Now is this latest addition to the bench, the man who never opened a law book in his life, who never read an Act of Parliament, who has not the slightest idea of construing a sentence in a single clause, to cross-examine any poor wretch that he may get in his power? The honourable Member for Lincoln is perfectly correct when he says that at the present time every person charged has the right to make a statement. That is quite true, and he can examine witnesses against him, summon witnesses in support of his statement, and submit the evidence of those witnesses to the court. Yes, but this is altogether a different power. Unless a man places himself upon oath, and submits himself to cross-examination, his second position will be worse than his first. Better a thousand times he had never had the privilege unless he uses it. If he does not use it he will be condemned in the minds of many of the judges. Now just imagine a poor farm labourer who has made himself objectionable to the village constable, who has been waiting for months in order to catch him looking into a copse or over a fence where the partridges are—yes, partridges and pheasants, and to many people they are almost as sacred as human beings. I have seen looks of greater horror over the death of a pheasant than over the injuries of a human being. [Ministerial laughter.] I do not see what there is to laught at. What, I ask, is to become of the poor wretch who is prosecuted for these offences if he refuses to give evidence on oath and submit himself to the cross-examination of the prosecuting counsel, accompanied by a series of ter- rorising looks? I know counsel in this House who could strike terror into the heart of many an innocent man. What we say in support of the Amendment is that these poor, uneducated, and often innocent men will have no chance whatever against such forces as they will be surrounded by on occasions of this kind. It is all very well for the learned Solicitor General, whom I have heard to-day for the first time, and who knows nothing about the practice of our summary jurisdiction courts, to take the line of argument he does. Yes; I say he knows nothing about the practice of our summary jurisdiction courts, because he has been transplanted by some happy circumstances, not unconnected with intellectual attainments, into courts where all the observances of our Constitution are strictly practised. But in the other courts we have not the advantage of the presence of men of the ability and stamp of the learned Solicitor General. It is these courts where the poor people are to be subjected to the inquisition of these game-preserving magistrates that we are dealing with to-day. [Ministerial laughter.] Honourable Members opposite laugh as though a poor farm labourer had no rights. [Ministerial cries of"Oh!"]. Then what does it mean? A man who, for the satisfaction of hunger, steals a rabbit, has as great a right to be tried fairly as any other man. Then why laugh at it? It is for this class of the community that we are pleading to-day. I have no doubt that the honourable Member for the Horsham Division of Sussex had this class of persons in his mind when he put down the Amendment.


There are practically no game in my county.


No game in the county? Then so much the better for the people. Well, Sir, it is in the interests of these classes that I sincerely trust that this Committee, constituted as it is by a big majority of Conservative Members of Parliament, will not consent to impose upon the Constitution of this country such a revolutionary and foreign mode of procedure in our jurisdiction courts. I shall certainly support the Amendment by my vote if the honourable Member goes to a Division. They have some idea that all justices of petty sessions are going to cross-examine a prisoner who may be brought before them and called upon to give evidence. Now, let us follow that, first of all, a judge of petty sessions does not cross-examine a witness. They say there will be no need, but do they forget that every witness called on behalf of the defence at a court of summary jurisdiction can be cross-examined? I have been in a court of summary jurisdiction dozens of times, and what one finds is that, when a witness is called on behalf of the defence and has obviously lied, after the person prosecuting has put a few questions and the chairman has asked a question, the matter is over and done with. The practice as it has been drawn does not happen. My honourable Friend says it might happen. Everything might happen, but one cannot guard against that. If you find six lunatics sitting upon a bench together they will act as lunatics, and you cannot say what will take place, but the justices of the petty sessions are not lunatics. I object to this Amendment, because I think it of very great importance that a man should be able to give his evidence in a court of summary jurisdiction. It is different in the High Court. In the court of summary jurisdiction it is what might be termed rough and tumble justice, but it is justice in the end; and where you want a man to give evidence on his own behalf it is in the court where this rough and tumble justice is dispensed, and therefore it is desirable that a man should go into the box and that the judge should elicit the facts. If my honourable Friend had proposed that this Bill should apply only to courts of summary jurisdiction I think he might have some reasonable argument in his favour, because in the High Court great care is taken that an innocent man is not found guilty, but you cannot take the same care in a court, of summary jurisdiction. It is a rough and tumble kind of justice which is administered there, and you cannot always take the same care, and I think it would be very much to the advantage of the prisoner if an opportunity were given to him to give evidence for his own defence.


I only desire to say a very few words upon this matter, because upon another Amendment I have already expressed my views; but as I do feel very strongly upon this point I desire to say a few words. My honourable and learned Friend who has just sat down has described the justice which the prisoner receives in a court of summary jurisdiction as a kind of rough and tumble justice, and it is because there is this tendency to what is termed this rough and tumble justice, which is generally administered by laymen not acquainted with the law, that he objects to this innovation being introduced. We say, if it is to be tried at all, we think it would be better to have it administered first of all, not by rough and tumble justice, but by those who have to expound the law. The honourable Member for Rochester says, when a prisoner is called upon to make a statement the statement is very often unsatisfactory, it is often confused and unintelligible, and that is the man whom you are going to ask to examine himself before a court of summary jurisdiction, and you say that you are going to confer upon this man, who is unable to make a statement which is not unsatisfactory, confused, and unintelligible, the right to make that statement upon oath. And you are going to submit him to cross-examination. That is what is proposed to be done here, and what we object to in this Amendment. But the noble Lord says it will be satisfactory if this unsatisfactory statement is made to a bench of magistrates who can trace its truth. Let us take a case, and let us admit at once that this is a Bill, so far as summary jurisdiction is concerned, not to enable the prisoner to do anything which he cannot do at present, but to facilitate the powers of magistrates putting questions to him. We sometimes see in other countries questions of this character put to prisoners, and I want to know whether that procedure is desired in this country. There is another question. Would this man, who is unable to make an intelligible statement, derive any benefit from being cross-examined on that statement by either the prosecuting counsel or the judge?


The magistrates are not against the prisoner.


I do not think they are; I should rather assume that they are not; but what I object to is that they should be allowed to question a man according to their own particular views upon a statement which, according to the present law, he cannot be questioned at all, either by the judge or anyone else. If honourable Members are in favour of allowing magistrates to question ignorant people, the question arises, who really is going to examine him in the first instance? It is not the magistrate, and it is not the magistrate's clerk. Who, then, is it? The man is not able to state to the magistrate what the evidence is that he is able to give. To whom, then, are you going to give the power of examining? To the police sergeant? To the police inspector? I do not know what other members of the Committee think, but I think it is bad enough to allow these police sergeants and police inspectors to conduct the proceedings at all. I think it is undesirable that the man who has got up the case should conduct it against the prisoner, but I think it will be very much, worse if the man who has got up the case is to be entrusted with the power of cross- examination which is proposed under this Bill. That is what we want to get rid of by the Amendment before the House. I really do think that this is a Bill that we ought to use tentatively. We ought to see how it works before our best judges and the juries, and we ought not to allow it to pass with this unlimited power to be given to the inferior courts of summary jurisdiction. There is another matter which I should like to point out to the House. Very often in cases where there is cross-examination questions arise as to whether the person cross-examining is within his rights of cross-examination in the questions he is putting. It may matter very little how far the matter may be inquired into in the case of an ordinary witness, but it is a very different thing in the case of a prisoner, and the answer in his case may be very important. Who is to decide that? The magistrates? I do not suggest for a moment that they do anything that is not right. It is suggested to me they are appointed for political reasons I hope that is not so. I argue this case upon the assumption that there is a desire on the part of the magistrates to do what is right. But does anybody say that magistrates are accustomed to decide these points? I venture to think what would usually happen would be that the magistrate would probably consult his clerk, and the real person to whom the power would be given would not be the magistrate, but the clerk who advised him. But the question of this cross-examination becomes more important when the subsequent provision of the Bill is read. For instance, if a prisoner unfortunately says anything with reference to the character of a witness in a criminal prosecution, that is to let in the whole of the prisoner's past career. The reason that he is suspected of a particular crime may be that he may have been convicted of other matters, but that may be no proof, and it is no evidence or proof at all that, because he has been previously in trouble, he is guilty of the crime with which he is now charged. Is it to be left with the magistrate or his clerk to say whether the prisoner has come within a certain section and deprived himself of the protection of a particular clause or not? Of course, if he were speaking again, the Solicitor General would give us his old argument. He would say we reject this Amendment because we are strong enough to carry the Bill as it is framed, but I would venture to say that is no argument. There are difficulties in this question, which is not a political question. I think it is far more important than a political question, and the votes ought not to be regulated by honourable Members who have not heard the discussion simply coming into the House and going into the Government Lobby. I do hope that honourable Members will carefully consider this matter and limit the Bill by accepting this Amendment.


I should like to make one observation upon this Bill. I feel that the question is one of the utmost importance, and with most of the observations which have been made against the matter I largely sympathise. But if this Amendment is carried it would assuredly reduce this legislation to an absurdity. I assume we shall take it for granted—first, that it is desirable that any person upon his trial shall be allowed to give evidence in his own defence upon oath, and I also assume that magistrates are capable of administering justice within their jurisdiction. Assuming those two points, how can you reasonably exclude from the operation of this Bill a large number of criminal cases determined in those courts? My honourable Friend's argument is that we ought to apply this legislation tentatively to see how it succeeds. If that is so, one would have thought it ought to be tried first in those tri- bunals where justice is administered in its most elementary form. You have an inquiry in its initial state where a man has an opportunity of telling his story when it is clear to his mind, when he is charged for the first time, and when his explanation is wanted, when he has not studied, and when he is without the advice of a legal adviser. Now it has been said that there is no ground for examination and re-examination. I think, if this Measure is to work satisfactorily, it will do so in the courts of first instance.


Mr. Lowther, I am the last person in the House to endeavour to minimise the importance of the question which is now before us, but I would venture to remind the Committee that not only has it been discussed at length, and with great ability upon the Amendment now actually under review, but that at a previous stage there was a very full Debate, when some of the points vital to a decision upon this matter were dealt with. Under those circumstances I venture respectfully to appeal to the House to come to a decision this afternoon, at all events upon this point.

MR. VESEY KNOX (Londonderry)

I do not wish to stand in the way of the House, but I venture to think that the argument which has just been put forward by my right honourable and learned Friend above the Gangway as to coroners' juries and what is sometimes called the coroner's court, is not altogether applicable. The coroner is usually a much more skilled person in taking evidence than an ordinary magistrate, as he knows the laws of evidence, and has much more frequent experience in regard to them. I think Members of the House will remember many cases where it has been a most unfortunate thing that the person who was in essence, although not nominally, the accused person has frequently been compelled to give evidence before a coroner's jury, and has thereby done a great deal to secure his subsequent conviction. We must remember that if this Amendment is not carried, in a vast number of criminal cases the prisoner will have to stand a cross-examination twice. I venture to point that out as a circumstance which distinguishes this from cross-examination in other cases. A man will be cross-examined in the first instance before a court of summary jurisdiction. His evidence is taken there, and he will be cross-examined afterwards when he is tried before the sessions court. Now, there are very few men, at any rate very few uneducated men, who can tell the same story over twice in the same way without difficulty. I venture to say that if we tried the experiment with a few Members of this House we should find that even they had great difficulty in telling the same story accurately and in the same way twice. In nine cases out of 10 an uneducated person will tell a story in the first instance which on further consideration he will vary when he comes to tell the story in the second instance; and I venture to think that that does not prove that a man is guilty or more than usually inaccurate. But his first story will be produced when he comes on for trial at the conclusion of the case, before the supreme court, and it will be very often used with effect against him to show that there are discrepancies in his story. That, I think, will happen in a great number of cases. Under this subsection a man may be cross-examined as to his credit, and it will be possible to bring in a vast number of circumstances which will appear in the newspapers, at least if it is a case exciting general public interest; and thus it will be possible to bring to the notice of those who will afterwards act as jurors in the higher court, through the papers, a vast number of things which a judge of the High Court would not admit as evidence. I believe this will frequently occur. I remember that lately questions were asked in this House as to the abuse of the right of proving previous convictions, which sometimes occurs in the courts in London especially. We know that there are many prisoners who do not get a fair chance before a jury when they come up for trial at the Old Bailey because their previous convictions have appeared in the newspapers beforehand, and I think appeals have been made to the newspapers on many occasions by the law officers to prevent the publication of previous convictions when evidence has been given by them before the prisoner was committed for trial. Now, what will happen under this Bill is this: when a prisoner gives evidence in a court of summary jurisdiction his previous convictions will be proved out of his own mouth, and it is hopeless to expect in those cases that the fact will not be reported in the papers, and therefore when the case comes on for trial upon indictment, although the man may not ask a single question relating to the character of any of the witnesses for the prosecution, the evidence which has been extracted from him before the summary jurisdiction court of past convictions will be in the mind of the jury, and will lead to his conviction. This is in no way an imaginary evil; it is one that frequently occurs, and I therefore very strongly press upon the Committee the desirability of accepting the Amendment in the interests of the safe working of the Bill.

MR. STRACHEY (Somerset, S.)

I think some further discussion is necessary from the fact that the only Member on this side of the House who has had practical experience of the working of a court of summary jurisdiction is the only one, except the noble Lord the Member for Rochester, who has spoken upon this matter. This is a very great experiment indeed, and I cannot help thinking that the Government are running a great risk in allowing laymen who have not got any experience in the laws of evidence the right and even the duty of cross-examining ignorant persons who are charged with one crime or another. If the Government had suggested that only the chairman should be allowed to cross-examine there might be something to be said of such a proposal, because the chairman has

usually much more experience than his colleagues upon the bench of magistrates.


I beg to move, Sir, that the Question be now put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 231; Noes 114.—(Division List No. 176.)

Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Curzon, RtHn. G. N. (Lane. SW) Hudson, George B.
Allhusen, Augustus H. E. Curzon, Viscount (Bucks) Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-
Allsopp, Hon. George Dalrymple, Sir Charles Jebb, Richard Claverhouse
Ambrose, W. (Middlesex) Denny, Colonel Johnston, William (Belfast)
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Jolliffe, Hon. H. George
Arrol, Sir William Donkin, Richard Sim Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U.
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Dorington, Sir John E. Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.
Bagot, Captain J. FitzRoy Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Kenyon, James
Bailey, James (Walworth) Doxford, William Theodore Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William
Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness) Drage, Geoffrey King, Sir Henry Seymour
Baird, John George A. Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H. Laurie, Lieut.-General
Baldwin, Alfred Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lawrence Sir EDurning-(Corn.)
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r) Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)
Banbury, Frederick George Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r) Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'land)
Banes, Major George E. Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Lees, Sir E. (Birkenhead)
Barry, Rt Hn AHSmith-(Hunts) Finch, George H. Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lancs)
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Finlay, Sir Robert B. Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie
Bathurst, Hon. A. B. Fisher, William Hayes Leighton, Stanley
Beach, Rt. Hn. Si rM.H.(Brist'l) FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose- Leng, Sir John
Beach, W. W. B. (Hants) FitzWygram, General Sir F. Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)
Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Fletcher, Sir Henry Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.
Bigwood, James Flower, Ernest Loder, Gerald Walter E.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Fry, Lewis Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)
Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Garfit, William Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller
Boulnois, Edmund Gibbons, J. Lloyd Lorne, Marquess of
Brassey, Albert Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C. of Lond.) Lowe, Francis William
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Gilliat, John Saunders Lowles, John
Bullard, Sir Harry Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Loyd, Archie Kirkman
Butcher, John George Goschen, Rt. Hn.G.J.(StG'rg's) Lucas-Shadwell, William
Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred
Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Goulding, Edward Alfred Macartney, W. G. Ellison
Cayzer, Sir Charles William Gourley, Sir E. Temperley Maclure, Sir John William
Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Graham, Henry Robert Mclver, Sir Lewis
Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich) Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) McKillop, James
Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury) Mappin, Sir Frederick T.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Greene,W. Raymond- (Cambs) Martin, Richard Biddulph
Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r) Gretton, John Max-well, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E.
Charrington, Spencer Greville, Captain Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)
Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E. Gull, Sir Cameron Milner, Sir Frederick George
Coddington, Sir William Gunter, Colonel Milward, Colonel Victor
Coghill, Douglas Harry Halsey, Thomas Frederick Monk, Charles James
Cohen, Benjamin Louis Hamond, Sir C. (Newcastle) Morgan, Hon. F. (Monm'thsh.)
Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Morrell, George Herbert
Colston, C. E. H. Athole Hanson, Sir Reginald Morrison, Walter
Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow) Hardy, Laurence Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)
Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D. Helder, Augustus Mount, William George
Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H. Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down) Muntz, Philip A.
Cox, Robert Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol) Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)
Cranborne, Viscount Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead) Murray, Colonel W. (Bath)
Crombie, John William Hornby, William Henry Myers, William Henry
Cross, H. S. (Bolton) Howard, Joseph Newark, Viscount
Cruddas, William Donaldson Hozier, Hon. James H. C. Newdigate, Francis A.
Cubitt, Hon. Henry Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn
Nicholson, William Graham Savory, Sir Joseph Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Nicol, Donald Ninian Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S. Seely, Charles Hilton Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)
O'Neill, Hon. Robert T. Sharpe, William E. T. Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Parkes, Ebenezer Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew) Warkworth, Lord
Pease, A. (Darlington) Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire) Warr, Augustus Frederick
Phillpotts, Captain Arthur Simeon, Sir Barrington Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Pierpoint, Robert Sinclair, Louis (Romford) Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)
Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C. Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand) Whitmore, Charles A.
Pretyman, Ernest George Spencer, Ernest Willox, Sir John A.
Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.) Stanley, Lord (Lancs) Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Pryce-Jones, Edward Stanley, E. J. (Somerset) Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh., N.)
Purvis, Robert Stanley, H. M. (Lambeth) Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)
Pym, C. Guy Stewart, Sir M. J. M 'T. Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Rankin, James Stirling-Maxwell, Sir J. M. Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Renshaw, Charles Bine Stock, James Henry Wylie, Alexander
Rentoul, James Alexander Stone, Sir Benjamin Wyndham, George
Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W. Strauss, Arthur Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.
Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T. Sturt, Hon. Humphry N. Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Robertson, H. (Hackney) Sutherland, Sir Thomas Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Robinson, Brooke Thorburn, Walter Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye Tomlinson, W. E. Murray
Rothschild, Baron F. J. de Tritton, Charles Ernest TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenh'm) Usborne, Thomas
Russell, T. W. (Tyrone) Valentia, Viscount
Rutherford, John Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H
Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Healy, Maurice (Cork Pirie, Duncan V.
Abraham, W. (Rhondda) Holburn, J. G. Provand, Andrew D.
Allan, William (Gateshead) Holden, Sir Angus Randell, David
Allen, W. (Newc.-under-L.) Horniman, Frederick John Reckitt, Harold James
Ashton, Thomas Gair Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Redmond, William (Clare)
Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire) Jacoby, James Alfred Reid, Sir Robert T.
Barlow, John Emmott Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E. Richardson, J. (Durham)
Bayley, T. (Derbyshire) Johnstone, John H. (Sussex) Rickett, J. Compton
Billson, Alfred Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire) Roberts, John B. (Eifion)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Kinloch, Sir John G. S. Robson, William Snowdon
Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Kitson, Sir James Roche, Hon. J. (East Kerry)
Brigg, John Knox, Edmund Francis V. Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)
Broadhurst, Henry Lambert, George Soames, Arthur Wellesley
Burt, Thomas Lewis, John Herbert Souttar, Robinson
Caldwell, James Lloyd-George, David Steadman, William Charles
Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow) Lough, Thomas Stevenson, Francis S.
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Stuart, J. (Shoreditch)
Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward Lyell, Sir Leonard Sullivan, D. (Westmeath)
Carvill, P. G. Hamilton Macaleese, Daniel Tennant, Harold John
Cawley, Frederick McEwan, William Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Clough, Walter Owen M'Ghee, Richard Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Colville, John McLaren, Charles B. Tully, Jasper
Crilly, Daniel McLeod, John Ure, Alexander
Daly, James Maden, John Henry Wallace, R. (Edinburgh)
Dalziel, James Henry Mendl, Sigismund F. Walton, J. L. (Leeds, S.)
Davitt, Michael Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechap'l) Wayman, Thomas
Dillon, John Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen) Wedderburn, Sir William
Doogan, P. C. Norton, Captain Cecil W. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Doughty, George Nussey, Thomas Willans Williams, John C. (Notts)
Duckworth, James O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.) Wills, Sir William Henry
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool) Wilson, John (Govan)
Dunn, Sir William Oldroyd, Mark Woodall, William
Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan) Owen, Thomas Woodhouse, Sir JT (H' dd' rsf' ld)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham) Woods, Samuel
Goddard, Daniel Ford Pease, A. E. (Cleveland) Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
Gold, Charles Perks, Robert William Yoxall, James Henry
Haldane, Richard Burdon Philipps, John Wynford TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Strachey and Mr. Atherley-Jones.
Harwood, George Pickard, Benjamin
Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale- Pickersgill, Edward Hare

Question put— That those words be there inserted.

The Committee divided:—Ayes 94; Noes 249.—(Division List No. 177.)

Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.) Harwood, George Pickard, Benjamin
Abraham, W. (Rhondda) Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale- Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Allan, William (Gateshead) Healy, Maurice (Cork) Randell, David
Allen, W. (Newc.-under-L.) Hobhouse, Henry Reckitt, Harold James
Allhusen, Augustus H. E. Holden, Sir Angus Redmond, William (Clare)
Ashton, Thomas Gair Horniman, Frederick John Roberts, John B. (Eifion)
Atherley-Jones, L. Howard, Joseph Robson, William Snowdon
Barlow, John Emmott Jacoby, James Alfred Roche, Hon. J. (East Kerry)
Bayley, T. (Derbyshire) Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)
Bolton, Thomas Dolling Knox, Edmund Francis V. Simeon, Sir Barrington
Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn) Lambert, George Steadman, William Charles
Brigg, John Lees, Sir E. (Birkenhead) Stevenson, Francis S.
Broadhurst, Henry Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie Strachey, Edward
Burt, Thomas Lewis, John Herbert Stuart, J. (Shoreditch)
Caldwell, James Lorne, Marquess of Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)
Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow) Lough, Thomas Tennant, Harold John
Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward Luttrell, Hugh Fownes Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Colston, C. E. H. Athole Macaleese, Daniel Tully, Jasper
Colville, John M'Ghee, Richard Valentia, Viscount
Crilly, Daniel M'Hugh, E. (Armagh, S.) Way man, Thomas
Daly, James McIver, Sir Lewis Wedderburn, Sir William
Denny, Colonel McLaren, Charles Benjamin Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.
Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P. Maden, John Henry Whitmore, Charles A.
Dillon, John Mendl, Sigismund F. Whittaker, Thomas Palmer
Donkin, Richard Sim Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen) Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh., N.)
Doogan, P. C. Morrell, George Herbert Woods, Samuel
Dorington, Sir John Edward Mount, William George Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy
Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V. Norton, Captain Cecil W. Yoxall, James Henry
Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan) Nussey, Thomas Willans
Garfit, William O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Heywood Johnstone and Mr. Seely.
Goddard, Daniel Ford Owen, Thomas
Goulding, Edward Alfred Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)
Gretton, John Pease, A. E. (Cleveland)
Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F. Bentinck, Lord Henry C. Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)
Allsopp, Hon. George Beresford, Lord Charles Charrington, Spencer
Ambrose, W. (Middlesex) Bigwood, James Clough, Walter Owen
Arnold-Forster, Hugh O. Billson, Alfred Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.
Arrol, Sir William Blundell, Colonel Henry Coddington, Sir William
Ascroft, Robert Boscawen, Arthur Griffith- Coghill, Douglas Harry
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Boulnois, Edmund Cohen, Benjamin Louis
Austin, Sir J. (Yorkshire) Brassey, Albert Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse
Bagot, Captain J. FitzRoy Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)
Bailey, James (Walworth) Bullard, Sir Harry Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.
Baillie, J. E. B. (Inverness) Butcher, John George Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.
Baird, John George A. Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H. Cox, Robert
Baldwin, Alfred Carvill, P. G. Hamilton Cranborne, Viscount
Balfour. Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r) Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs) Cripps, Charles Alfred
Banbury, Frederick George Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.) Crombie, John William
Banes, Major George Edward Cawley, Frederick Cross, H. S. (Bolton)
Barry, Rt Hn AH Smith-(Hunts) Cayzer, Sir Charles William Cruddas, William Donaldson
Barton, Dunbar Plunket Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.) Cubitt, Hon. Henry
Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. Cecil, Lord H. (Greenwich) Curzon. Rt Hn G. N. (Lanc. S. W)
Beach, Rt. Hn. Si rM. H. (Brist'l) Chaloner, Captain R. G. W. Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)
Beach, W. W. B. (Hants) Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.) Dalrymple, Sir Charles
Dalziel, James Henry Lawrence Sir EDurning-(Corn.) Robertson, E. (Dundee)
Doughty, George Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool) Robertson, H. (Hackney)
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb land) Robinson, Brooke
Doxford, William Theodore Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lancs) Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye
Duckworth, James Leighton, Stanley Rothschild, Baron F. J. de
Dunn, Sir William Leng, Sir John Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenh'm)
Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H. Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a) Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)
Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton Lloyd-George, David Rutherford, John
Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R. Savory, Sir Joseph
Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manc'r) Loder, Gerald Walter E. Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard
Field, Admiral (Eastbourne) Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l) Sharpe, William Edward T.
Finch, George H. Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)
Finlay, Sir Robert B. Lowe, Francis William Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew)
Fisher, William Hayes Lowles, John Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
FiteGerald, Sir R. Penrose- Loyd, Archie Kirkman Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond Lucas-Shadwell, William Soames, Arthur Wellesley
FitzWygram, General Sir F. Lyell, Sir Leonard Souttar, Robinson
Fletcher, Sir Henry Macartney, W. G. Ellison Spencer, Ernest
Flower, Ernest Maclure, Sir John William Stanley, Lord (Lancs)
Fry, Lewis McEwan, William Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)
Gibbons, J. Lloyd McKillop, James Stanley, H. M. (Lambeth)
Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (C.of Lond.) McLeod, John Stewart, Sir M. J. M'T.
Gilliat, John Saunders Mappin, Sir Frederick T. Stock, James Henry
Gold, Charles Martin, Richard Biddulph Stone, Sir Benjamin
Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E. Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir H. E. Strauss, Arthur
Goschen, Rt. Hn. G. J. (StG'rg's) Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire) Sturt, Hon. Humphry N.
Goschen, George J. (Sussex) Milner, Sir Frederick George Sutherland, Sir Thomas
Gourley, Sir Edward T. Milward, Colonel Victor Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)
Graham, Henry Robert Monk, Charles James Thorburn, Walter
Green, W. D. (Wednesbury) Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechap'l) Tomlinson, W. E. Murray
Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury) Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.) Tritton, Charles Ernest
Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs) Morrison, Walter Ure, Alexander
Greville, Captain Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford) Usborne, Thomas
Gull, Sir Cameron Muntz, Philip A. Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.
Gunter, Colonel Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute) Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)
Haldane, Richard Burdon Murray, Colonel W. (Bath) Wallace, Robert (Perth)
Halsey, Thomas Frederick Myers, William Henry Walton, John L. (Leeds, S.)
Hamond, Sir C. (Newcastle) Newark, Viscount Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)
Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W. Newdigate, Francis A. Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)
Hanson, Sir Reginald Nicholson, William Graham Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)
Helder, Augustus Nicol, Donald Ninian Warr, Augustus Frederick
Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down) Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S. Whiteley, H. (Ashton-under-L.)
Hill, Sir E. S. (Bristol) Oldroyd, Mark Williams, John C. (Notts)
Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead) O'Neill, Hon. Robert T. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Holburn, J. G. Parkes, Ebenezer Willox, Sir John Archibald
Hornby, William Henry Pease, A. (Darlington) Wills, Sir William Henry
Hozier, Hon. James H. C. Perks, Robert William Wilson, John (Falkirk)
Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn Philipps, John Wynford Wilson, John (Govan)
Hudson, George B. Phillpotts, Captain Arthur Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)
Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice- Pierpoint, Robert Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley) Pirie, Duncan V. Woodall, William
Jebb, Richard Claverhouse Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.) Woodhouse, Sir JT (H'dd'rsf'ld)
Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E. Provand, Andrew D. Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-
Johnston, William (Belfast) Pryce-Jones, Edward Wylie, Alexander
Jolliffe, Hon. H. George Purvis, Robert Wyndham, George
Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire) Pym, C. Guy Wyndham-Quin, Maj. W. H.
Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U. Rankin, James Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Kenyon, James Reid, Sir Robert T. Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)
Kenyon-Slaney, Colonel W. Renshaw, Charles Bine Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)
King, Sir Henry Seymour Rentoul, James Alexander
Kinloch, Sir John George S. Richardson, J. (Durham) TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.
Kitson, Sir James Rickett, J. Compton
Laurie, Lieut.-General Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.
Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.

Progress was then reported.