HC Deb 16 July 1906 vol 160 cc1338-9
MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that on the evening of Friday, April 20th, 1906, a boy named Henry Maughan, aged six years, was seized by a policeman while looking into a shop window, close to his own home, taken to the police station, and charged with begging; that on the unsupported and contradicted evidence of that policeman alone he was, on May 7th, last, sentenced at the Gateshead police court to be taken from his parents and confined for ten years in an industrial school; whether he is further aware that, at the same time and on no evidence at all, the boy's father was condemned to pay a fine of 11s. and a permanent charge of 1s. 6d. a week for 10 years, and ordered to report any change of his address during that period to the police; and whether he will cause a review of the circumstances of the case to be made without delay with a view to the restitution of the child to his parents.


I have made inquiry into this case, and find that this boy (whose name is William Maughan) was seen to accost seven men in the course of ton minutes; he had also been loitering in the locality nearly every evening for the previous five weeks. I am informed that the father had on two previous occasions in November last been cautioned by the Police for allowing another child to be in the streets for the purpose of begging. William Maughan was committed to an industrial school in the usual manner until sixteen, and his father was fined 5s. with costs, under the Youthful Offenders Act, and ordered to pay 1s. 6d. a week towards the cost of the child's maintenance. On the facts at present before me I do not see my way to interfere, but I propose to make further inquiries before coming to a final decision. †see(4)debates,clvii.,601,603


Will the right hon. Gentlemen inquire if this boy was convicted on the unsupported evidence of the policeman who arrested him?


Yes, but I think the hon. Gentleman is mistaken on that point.


Is not ten years imprisonment a very heavy sentence on a child in a case like this?


It is not imprisonment.

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