§ 1. Colonel DAY
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the case of Edward Hatton, of Wakefield, who, at the age of 10 years, was sentenced to six years in a reformatory; and, in view of the fact that his mother has suffered the loss of her husband and within six months of his death also buried five of her other children, will he consider the whole circumstances of this sentence with a view to recommending the release of this boy?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir William Joynson-Hicks)
I have made the fullest inquiries in this case, of which a very misleading account has appeared in a newspaper, and I have taken into consideration the circumstances mentioned by the hon. Member. Two years ago this boy, who is now 12 years of age, was brought before the Juvenile Court at Wakefield, with five other boys, for theft. Hatton had given considerable trouble before, and in 1922 he was concerned in a case of extensive damage to a house and was placed on probation for three years. During the period of probation he was reported several times for stealing. As it appeared to the Magistrates, from the inquiries which they made, that the boy was completely out of hand and that his mother took no steps to control him, they decided to send him to a certified school, which is under the management of the Leeds Education Authority. I am informed that during the two years that he has been there the boy, who was very backward and delicate on admission, has made progress, but he still needs further training. His physical improvement is so marked that he can now hold his own in games with boys of his age. I am satisfied that the steps taken for the education and care of this boy are right, and I am not prepared to take any action in the matter.