HC Deb 19 April 1923 vol 162 cc2254-5
78. Captain Viscount CURZON

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the organisation of a group of magistrates in Norfolk to sit on benches other than those where they usually adjudicate when cases arising from agricultural disputes are to be heard; and whether he has any power to prevent a practice which, if generally followed, might lead to a perversion of justice.


I understand that there have recently been occasions upon which magistrates for the County of Norfolk have sat or presented themselves to sit upon benches other than those where they usually adjudicate. My information on the subject is not complete, and I will confer with the Lord Chancellor upon it.


Is it not the traditional custom for a justice of the peace to act for the particular division in which he resides; and is it not also a tradition that no justice shall act in more than one petty sessional division?


Has the right hon. Gentleman, in his experience as Home Secretary, not come across magistrates outside their own petty sessional district going to hear cases of widespread interest throughout the country?

Captain FALCON

As a matter of fact, is it not quite unnecessary from the point of view of the person charged, because the person charged may object to being tried by that Court, and may be tried by a jury; and even if he is convicted by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, has he not a right of appeal to quarter sessions?


My information is not complete as to what has happened, and I think I had better not now commit myself to an answer.