HC Deb 29 March 1904 vol 132 cc963-4
MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that at the Alford Petty Sessions on 8th March last, the Rev. W. Turner, Primitive Methodist minister, who was summoned for non-payment of the education portion of his poor rate, refused to stand in the prisoners' dock, but was compelled to do so by the chairman of the Bench; whether he will inquire into the circumstances, and make a representation to the justices as to this action of the chairman.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) I have made inquiry into the case, and am informed that at Alford it is the practice for all defendants appearing before the Bench, whether on a criminal charge or on a summons in a civil matter, to stand in the dock. The defendant in the case now in question asked for an exception to be made in his favour, but the chairman of the Bench declined to accede to his application, explaining that it was the invariable practice in that Court for the defendant to stand in the dock, and that it implied no stigma. In view of the ordinary practice in this Court, I do not see my way to make any representation to the justices.