HC Deb 24 April 1918 vol 105 cc975-6

asked the Under secretary of State for War whether, under the new Regulation 40 d of the Defence of the Realm Acts, in cases where a woman is accused of soliciting or having inter course with a member of His Majesty's Forces while she is suffering from venereal disease, the man alleged to have been solicited or infected will be called upon to give evidence before she is convicted?


I am unable to anticipate what course the magistrate would follow in such a case, but, as it appears to me that the infected soldier would be one of the most material witnesses, I doubt if any magistrate would convict without his evidence being available and the opportunity given of careful cross-examination. A defendant in a case of this kind will have the same right as in other cases to secure the attendance of any person whose evidence is likely to be material in her behalf. If such a witness will not attend voluntarily, he can be compelled to appear, and give evidence on oath under Section 7 of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1848.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will say how many women and girls have been brought up under Regulation 40 d of the Defence of the Realm Act; how they have been dealt with; and whether, in the case of those sent to prison, any attempt is being made to keep the young girls apart from the other prisoners?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)

Cases occurring under the Defence of the Realm Regulations are not in ordinary course reported to the Home Office, and I cannot say how many persons have been charged under this Regulation, but I believe they must be very few. Care is taken at all prisons to prevent the association of prisoners under twenty-one years of age, and especially those of respectable antecedents, with offenders of a worse class.


Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been called to a case tried on Friday last in Manchester, when a young girl of seventeen years only was sentenced to six months' imprisonment under this Regulation?


No, Sir; I have no report of it.


Will the right hon. Gentleman ask for a report, as this case has excited a considerable amount of comment and some indignation?


was understood to indicate assent.