HC Deb 02 May 1904 vol 134 cc93-4
MR. LLOYD MORGAN (Carmarthenshire, W.)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the fact that the Bail Act, 1898, which empowers justices to dispense with sureties (if such course is not likely to defeat the ends of justice) in cases where a prisoner is committed for trial has produced only a very slight effect; and whether, in order to prevent prisoners, who are afterwards acquitted, from having been kept in prison to await their trial, he will consider the question of again bringing the provisions of the Bail Act under the notice of justices and their clerks.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) The hon. Member will find some figures on this subject on page 22 of the Judicial Statistics for 1902. The Act quoted appears to have had some appreciable effect, for the percentage of prisoners released on bail pending trial has increased since the passing of the Act by nearly a fourth. This, I think, is a satisfactory result, for it must be remembered that the proportion of prisoners sent for trial who have no

1894. 1895. 1896. 1897. 1898. 1900. 1903. Total.
Bedford 1 1
Berks 1 1 2
Cambridge 2 2 4
Chester 4 4 1 2 11
Cornwall 1 1 12
Cumberland 1 3 6 10
Derby 1 2 3
Devon 2 1 1 2 3 9
Durham 1 2 1 26 30
Essex 1 1 2

respectable friends willing to go bail for them, and who, nevertheless, could be released on their own recognisance without risk of failure of justice must necessarily be small. As the provisions of the Act are now well known, and as no evidence of any general reluctance to grant bail and no complaints of refusal to do so in individual cases reach the Home Office, I do not think that it is necessary for me to make any further communication in this matter to justices or their clerks.