§ 87. Sir WILLIAM BYLES
asked how many sentences of flogging, whether with the cat or the birch, were passed at the London Sessions by the deputy-chairman, Mr. Allan J. Lawrie, during the years 1912 and 1913; how many of these sentences were passed under the Vagrancy Act; and how these figures compare with the number of whippings ordered at the London Sessions under that Act during the two previous years, 1910 and 1911?
§ Mr. McKENNA
There were nineteen sentences of corporal punishment passed by Mr. Lawrie at the London Sessions in 1912; all of these were under the Vagrancy Acts. There were twelve in 1913, one of which was under the Vagrancy Acts and the remainder were under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1912. No sentences of corporal punishment were passed at the London Sessions in 1910 or 1911.
§ 88. Sir W. BYLES
asked what degree of support has been received from Courts of Quarter Sessions to a resolution passed in the Autumn of 1912 by the Lindsey magistrates in favour of legalising the use of the lash in cases of indecent assaults upon young children; whether the criminal statistics for 1912, being the latest published, show that the crime referred to has gradually declined during the past twenty years, and that the average during the last five years is the lowest recorded; and whether, in view of these facts, the Government will discountenance the attempt to extend the punishment of flogging?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Since I received the resolution from the Court of Quarter Sessions for the Parts of Lindsey in the 554 Autumn of 1912, eight resolutions in a similar sense have been received from other Courts of Quarter Sessions. The statistics relating to offences of the kind in question are difficult to interpret owing to the change in the law effected by the Children Act, 1908, by which an indecent assault on a person under sixteen is punishable summarily, and also to the fact that an indecent assault on a young child is not in law a different offence from any other indecent assault; but I am afraid the figures available do not show any real diminution in the number of offences.