HC Deb 12 August 1901 vol 99 c434

I beg to ask the Lord Advocate whether his attention has been called to the cases of David Craig, Albert Burns, James Burns, John Campbell, Peter M' Donald, and George Speakman, boys of seventeen to ten years of age, who pleaded guilty to having played football to the annoyance of the lieges in Wardrope's Court, Edinburgh; and were sentenced by Bailie Murray, who presided, James Burns to three days in the cells, and the others to receive each five stripes with the birch rod; and whether he will inquire into these cases.


The hon. Member's information is not quite accurate. The boys in question were charged with behaving in a disorderly manner, as well as with playing football in the street, and pleaded guilty to both charges. The offence of disorderly conduct is one which involves the punishment of imprisonment. James Burns, the eldest of the boys, being seventeen years of age, was sentenced to pay a fine of 5s. or suffer three days imprisonment. The other boys, all of whom were, in the opinion of the magistrate, under fourteen years of age, were sentenced to be whipped in lieu of imprisonment. The magistrate has power to pass such sentence both at common law and under Section 348 of the Edinburgh Municipal and Police Act of 1879. I may add that numerous complaints had been received from neighbouring residents regarding the behaviour of these boys, and they have all been previously cautioned by the police for similar conduct to that charged; while some of them have been convicted of other offences. Under these circumstances the sentences were legal, and, in my opinion, very proper.