HC Deb 17 May 1906 vol 157 cc650-1

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that a convict named George Gray is now undergoing the eighteenth year of imprisonment, having been found guilty on an indictment containing four counts and having been sentenced by the late Mr. Justice Stephen to a total of twenty-nine years penal servitude, the several sentences running consecutively, not concurrently, and being accordingly in their cumulative effect more severe than a life sentence; is there any, and, if so, what legal limit to the number of years to which a convict may be thus sentenced when there are a number of counts; and whether, having regard to the number of years this man has been imprisoned, he will recommend a remission of the remainder of the sentence and say whether it is the intention of the Government to introduce legislation for the purpose of defining and limiting the power of inflicting cumulative or consecutive sentences.


The cumulative sentences passed upon this convict amount to twenty-nine years: but this is in no way more severe than the sentence of penal servitude for life which has sometimes been imposed in similar cases. As in the case of life sentences, the question of release will be considered when he has served twenty years: but I can hold out no hope of earlier release. The case is exceptional both as regards the gravity of the crimes and the nature of the sentence, and I do not think that there is anything connected with it which suggests the need for any alteration in the law.