HC Deb 25 March 1912 vol 36 c39

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the conviction of William Bicknall and Thomas Waterhouse at Birmingham for taking coal out of the canal; whether the sentence of fourteen days and a month, respectively, was determined on the alleged value of the coal or for the act of taking the coal; and whether inquiries will be made as to the value and, if the statement that the coal was worth 7s. cannot be sustained, the sentences will be revised?


I have received a petition on behalf of Bicknall, and after communicating with the justices I felt justified in advising His Majesty to remit the remainder of his sentence as an act of clemency. He was discharged from prison on the 22nd instant. I have received no representations on behalf of Waterhouse, but, after consideration of all the circumstances, I propose to advise the remission of fourteen days of his sentence purely as an act of clemency. These remissions must not be understood as implying any criticism of the sentences originally passed. The quantity of coal stolen was considerable (4½ cwts.), and the Court was satisfied from the evidence that it was not a case of the picking of coal by persons in distress for their personal use, but that the coal was obtained for purposes of profit.