§ MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in the cases of cattle-driving in which persons have been made amenable by summary proceedings directed to their entering into sureties for future good behaviour, such cases have been recorded in the official statistics of crime; and, if so, under what designation.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. BIRRELL,) Bristol, N.
The reply is in the negative. The statistics of crime to which reference is made in the Question relate to indictable offences only.
§ MR. LONSDALE
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the fact that the offence of cattle-driving is an indictable offence and that the great majority of such offences are not entered in the annual Returns of crime, he will consider the propriety of including with these Returns, for the purpose of public record, a table showing the total number of cattle-drives reported by the police and indicating the proportion of these offences recorded in the classified tables of indictable crime.
§ MR. BIRRELL
As I have repeatedly stated, the question whether cattle-driving is an indictable offence depends upon the circumstances of each case. In the great majority of cases there is no evidence of unlawful assembly or other indictable offence, and such cases are therefore not included in the returns of serious crime. I have always given, and am prepared to give, full information to hon. Members as to the number of cases of cattle-driving and the number recorded as indictable offences, but I cannot undertake to include in the Returns of crime cases which do not properly belong to those Returns.
§ In reply to a further Question—
§ MR. BIRRELL
said it was not always the case that a cattle-drive could be 288 classed as an unlawful assembly. It might be the work of one or two persons only. He was willing, however, to give the House all possible information in regard to these cases.