HC Deb 17 July 1908 vol 192 cc1223-4
MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the case of William Carroll and Frank Self, both sixteen years of age, who were tried at Clerkenwell on a charge of robbing another boy of his pocket-knife and ordered to be thrashed by relatives; whether a policeman was told off to see that the punishment was properly inflicted; whether the flogging took place within the precincts of the Court; whether the instrument of correction was the police birch; and whether he will draw the magistrate's attention to the irregularity of the proceedings.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) I have made inquiry in this case, and am informed that these two lads were charged with robbing an errand-boy, one holding him while the other rifled his pockets. The magistrate who heard the charge was reluctant to convict them of felony or send them to prison, and adjourned the case on the defendants' relatives agreeing to give them proper chastisement. This was done at the lads' own homes, and without the intervention of the police. No order was given, or could have been given, for the purpose. On the next day the defendants were discharged. I cannot say that the magistrate was wrong in so dealing with a very difficult case.