HC Deb 12 March 1925 vol 181 cc1496-7

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the recent remarks of Judge in the High Court reprobating the tendency of medical experts to set up arbitrary standards of insanity under which almost anybody may be certified insane; and will he introduce legislation entitling a prisoner in regard to whom the issue of sanity has not been raised at his trial, but who is declared by medical experts to be insane shortly after his conviction, to a trial of the issue of his sanity in open Court under the same conditions that the prosecution would have enjoyed had that issue been raised by the defence and contested by the prosecution?


The answer to both parts of the question is in the negative.


asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that a lady, T. C., against whose soundness of mind, memory, and understanding no reliable evidence has been adduced, was detained in Hanwell Asylum from 19th December, 1919, until 1st September, 1924; that 35s. per week was stated to have been levied on the ratepayers for the maintenance of this person; that on application for the restoration of her belongings left in their charge she was told that they had been broken up, and was sent clothing, bedding, etc., belonging to another inmate, which she refused to accept; and, in view of the objectionable character of interchanges of this description, will he see that inquiry is made into the circumstances, and take necessary measures to put a stop to such practices whereby boards of guardians are in the habit of evading pecuniary responsibility for property of individuals which the union has refused to hand over to relatives on committal of the inmate to an asylum?

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. N. Chamberlain)

I am informed that there is, in the opinion of the Board of Control, clear evidence that during the time the lady in question was detained at Hanwell she was of unsound mind. With regard to the other matters referred to by the hon. Member the necessary inquiries are baying made, and I will inform him in due course of the result.

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