HC Deb 22 July 1935 vol 304 cc1486-7
48. Mr. DAGGAR

asked the Home Secretary whether he has considered the sentences passed on the persons charged at the court of assizes at Monmouth on Friday last; and whether, in view of the exceptional circumstances which prevail in the area, he is prepared to recommend clemency in each of the cases?


Seventeen persons were tried at this assize on charges of riotous assembly and unlawful assembly. Two were acquitted, four were bound over, and 11 were sentenced to terms of imprisonment, varying from four to nine months. The decision as to the appropriate sentence for each defendant was taken by the court, after a trial which lasted 10 days and there does not appear to be any reason for thinking that all relevant considerations were not before the court. If grounds can be shown for clemency in any particular case or cases, it will be the duty of my right hon. Friend to consider them, but at present there is nothing before him to suggest that any action on his part is called for.


Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that throughout the country these particular sentences are regarded as being excessive and as evidence of class prejudice on the part of the judge, and will the hon. and gallant Gentleman, having regard to that fact, get his right hon. Friend to consider—


We cannot express views in this House on sentences passed by judges.


I am not trying to express views; I am merely saying that that is the view held by large sections of the working-classes throughout the country. I am not endorsing it or denying it myself. I want the hon. and gallant Gentleman, having regard to that feeling which is widely held outside, to give special consideration to these long sentences with a view to their immediate reduction.


Would the Home Secretary meet a small deputation of Members who represent this area?


I am certain that my right hon. Friend will always be prepared to listen to Members of this House.

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