HC Deb 24 June 1931 vol 254 cc432-3

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consider the sentences passed on Edward Linn, Bernard Coyle, and William McKelvie, all aged about nine years, at the Glasgow Southern Court on 18th June of a fine of 7s. 6d. or five days' imprisonment for playing football on the streets; and, seeing that the parents have only either unemployment insurance benefit or Poor Law relief and cannot pay this fine and that they have been warned that they will be arrested on the 25th June failing the payment of the fines, whether he will review the whole circumstances of this case with a view to mitigation of the sentences on these boys and the relief of the parents also from the consequences?


My right hon. Friend is informed that these children were not charged with playing football on the street-s, but with wilfully and maliciously breaking seven panes of glass in a shop window, and two panes of glass in another window, with atones or other missiles, and that they all pled guilty. He is informed that the parents have not been warned that they will be arrested on the 25th June. In view of the discrepancies between the information supplied to him and the statements in the question he is having further inquiry made.


I am informed that it is the fact that the children were playing football and that the windows were broken, but in view of the fact that the children are only nine years of age, that the parents cannot pay the fines and that it will involve starvation on the families, will the hon. Member ask that the sentence and fine shall be reviewed? If the fine is enforced, it means that the brothers of these children must starve.


I have given an assurance that we are having further immediate inquiries made with a view to satisfying ourselves that it is possible to accept the suggestion made by the hon. Member in his supplementary question.


Were these children using the shop windows as goal posts? Would it not be better to have playing-fields, untaxed?

Miss LEE

Will the Secretary of State for Scotland use his influence that where there are no playing-fields in the crowded areas to see, while they are in the process of providing the playing-fields, at least——[Interruption.]