HC Deb 01 July 1914 vol 64 c364

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the action of the Loftus justices on Friday last, when they proceeded from the Court House to the residence of a bank manager to hear a charge of attempting to commit suicide against the bank manager; whether he is aware that the Press representatives were refused admission by the magistrates' clerk on the ground that the magistrates were only holding a preliminary investigation to see whether a Court should be held; whether he is aware that the magistrates heard his criminal charge and decided to deal with the case summarily, thereby constituting themselves a Court for the hearing of a case; and whether, in view of the decision of the House of Lords, and more recently of judges in the Court of Criminal Appeal, that criminal charges shall be held in public, steps will be taken by legislation or otherwise to prevent the hearing of criminal charges as, on this occasion, with the Press and public excluded, seeing that this was not merely a preliminary investigation but an actual hearing of a criminal charge?


I am making inquiry as to the facts, and until I know them I cannot answer the question. There is an important distinction between the preliminary inquiry into a charge of an indictable offence and the actual trial of an offender.