HC Deb 04 February 1926 vol 191 cc310-1

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has recently been drawn to the disparity between punishments for offences against property and those for offences against persons; and whether he will consider having these inequalities of the law investigated and remedied?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply. I am not aware of any inequalities in the law, for, speaking broadly, the maximum sentences which may be passed for offences against property and for offences against the person are about the same. As regards the sentences actually passed by Courts, it is impossible to institute any exact comparison of the sentences passed for the two classes of offences, but, so far as offences of a grave character are concerned, it appears from the statistics that, in general, crimes against the person receive severer punishments. For example, in 1924 there were 22 sentences of penal servitude over five years for crimes against the person, and only nine for crimes against property, although crimes of the latter class were four times as numerous as crimes of the former class.


Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to the recent remarks of, I think, the Recorder of London in a notorious case as to the inadequacy of the punishment which can be meted out by Judges in certain very horrible cases, and will the Government not consider that, coming from such an authority?


As a matter of fact, the hon. and gallant Member probably refers to a case which was taken before the Court of Criminal Appeal the other day. I have noticed those remarks and those of the Lord Chief Justice, but I cannot possibly give a definite answer in regard to them.