HC Deb 13 March 1907 vol 171 cc60-1

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the fact that magistrates at petty sessions in Ireland are empowered to sentence to terms of imprisonment of not more than one month on summary conviction persons brought before them, that such sentences may be accompanied with hard labour, that from these sentences the prisoner has no power of appeal, that an increase of sentence to admit of the lodging of appeal is not uncommonly refused by magistrates, and invariably refused by resident magistrates constituting special Courts under the provisions of The Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887, and that such refusal has frequently been the subject of grave comments by County Court Judges and Judges of the High Courts, and having regard to the fact that in England there is in every case a power of appeal from the decision of magistrates, he will consider the advisability of assimilating the English and Irish Criminal Law; and whether he will, in the meantime, bring under the notice of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland any case in which magistrates refuse to increase sentences so as to allow of an appeal.


My right hon. friend has asked me to answer this Question. There is no right of appeal in Ireland from a sentence by magistrates for any term of imprisonment not exceeding one month, except in a few specified cases. I believe that occasionally a person sentenced to a short term of imprisonment has asked to have the sentence increased with the object of prosecuting an appeal and that this request has been refused, but such cases are not of frequent occurrence. If any such cases are brought to my notice by my hon. friend I shall be happy to draw the attention of the Lord Chancellor to them, but I doubt if he has any power to interfere. With regard to my hon. friend's suggestion of legislation to assimilate the English and Irish practice as regards the right of appeal, I may say that I should personally approve of such assimilation in this and many other respects, but I cannot give any pledge on behalf of the Government to introduce any measure for the purpose this session.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the power of appeal was promised under the Coercion Act, but that the promise has been departed from by the senior Member for the City of London.

[No Answer was returned.]


I can enlighten the right hon. Gentleman if he desires.