§ 30. Mr. HANNAH
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case of Joseph Hill, aged 20, of Bilston, who was sentenced to 14 days' hard labour for stealing a 3d. bottle of milk to give a drink to his wife who is expecting a baby; and whether he will consider the remission of this sentence?
§ Sir J. SIMON
My hon. Friend's question does not state the full circumstances which the Justices in this case had to consider, and unless those circumstances are understood they are exposed to unwarranted criticism. Hill had previously committed a much more serious theft, but instead of sending him to prison he had been bound over and placed under the supervision of a probation officer earlier this year. The present offence was a breach of the conditions of his probation, and to deal with him again under the Probation of Offenders Act would hardly have been appropriate. In these circumstances the Justices, after making arrangements for his wife to be assisted, decided that they must impose a term of imprisonment on him. After inquiry and full consideration, I have decided, without reflecting on the course which the Justices thought it their duty to adopt, that the prisoner should now be discharged.