§ 20. Mr. CLARKE
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his attention has been drawn to the acquittal, on appeal, of Mr. Wallace, of Liverpool, who had been convicted and sentenced to death; and whether he will consider the question of a grant in compensation for the suffering and material injury endured by Mr. Wallace?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Clynes)
The case of Mr. Wallace does not differ in principle from that of any other defendant who has been acquitted of a serious charge by the verdict of a jury or whose conviction has been quashed by the Court of Criminal Appeal. There is no precedent for the grant of compensation on such a ground, and I could not consider the question of creating one.
§ Mr. CLYNES
No, I understand that it is very different. I am advised that to take into consideration the question of compensation in this instance would bring me into conflict with fundamental principles of British law.
§ Mr. CLARKE
May I further ask, in view of the proved fallibility of human judgment and the irrevocability of the 2394 hangman's act, if the Home Secretary-contemplates putting into effect the recommendations of the Committee on Capital Punishment?
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir A. LAMBERT WARD
In view of the very high cost which this man has incurred in securing his acquittal, would it not be an act of grace to give him, not a grant in compensation, but a grant towards the expenses of his defence?
§ Mr. MUGGERIDGE
Does not this question affect the course of justice in future? If it costs a man £1,500 to secure an acquittal of this kind, how does that protect people in the future if they do not possess the money?
§ Mr. CLYNES
I cannot answer for the condition of the law, nor for the way in which it takes its course. I can only say-that it is beyond my power to award compensation or any other sum of money in an instance of this kind.