§ 39. Mr. A. Edwards
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Frederick Jones, aged 29, sentenced at the East Sussex Quarter Sessions at Lewes, on Tuesday, 4th April, to three months hard labour, in addition to a partly served sentence of two months, despite his plea that the offence of housebreaking had been committed because his wife and children were starving; and whether, in view of the fact that the police testified that when Jones was arrested there was no food in the house, he will consider remitting this sentence?
§ Sir S. Hoare
I have caused inquiry to be made, and am informed that all the relevant circumstances were put before the court of quarter sessions. I regret that I can find no sufficient grounds to justify me in recommending any remission of the sentence. Jones's wife and children have, I understand, returned to relatives in Birmingham, where they are being looked after.
§ Mr. Edwards
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the chairman said that this case was one of great sadness, and then proceeded to send the man to three months hard labour, in addition to the previous sentence of two months? Is he also aware that the police testified that when the man was arrested there was no food in the house and that he and his family were starving, and that the police officers themselves assisted them; and will the right hon. Gentleman explain why this man should not have assistance, rather than a penalty of this kind?
§ Sir S. Hoare
I am not prepared to break the invariable rule of Home Secretaries and give reasons why the prerogative of mercy is or is not exercised. All 493 these facts, which were before the court of quarter sessions, have been taken into account. If the hon. Member would like to see further details about the case, I shall be quite ready to show him.