HC Deb 31 May 1905 vol 147 c327

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the case of Rex versus Walter Webb, at Doncaster, on May 20th, who was charged with a criminal assault on a girl thirteen years old, when the mother of prose-cutrix was also charged with procuring the girl; and will he introduce legislation to secure that such trials shall be heard in camera.


If, as appears to be the case, the hon. Member refers to the preliminary investigation of a charge by magistrates acting under the Indictable Offences Act, 1848 (11 and 12 Victoria, cap. 42, Section 19) the question whether that investigation should be conducted in public or not is one for the discretion of the magistrates. I should not be in favour of fettering that discretion by an Act of Parliament.