HC Deb 23 April 1907 vol 172 c1565
MR. JOHN O'CONNOR (Kildare, N.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications have been made under the Poor Prisoners' Defence Act at the Central Criminal Court and at the county of London sessions; how many have been refused; and, if any, what are the grounds of such refusals.


I am informed that at the Central Criminal Court there have been 394 applications made under the Poor Prisoners Defence Act since it came into force, of which 290 have boon refused. At the Tendon sessions it has not been possible to get out complete figures, but during 1906 there were 111 such applications, of which 107 were refused. These figures are exclusive of the applications made under the Act to the committing magistrates. The Act itself specifies the conditions on which payment can be made from public funds for the defence of prisoners in criminal cases—he must disclose his defence, and his own means must be insufficient, and applications under the Act are necessarily refused when these conditions are not fulfilled.

LORD E. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would consider the desirability of amending the Act in view of the large proportion of refusals.


said he would confer with the Attorney-General, who had more to do with this matter than he had.