HC Deb 07 December 1939 vol 355 cc815-6
61. Mr. G. Strauss

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of a recent police court case in which the magistrate stated that the offence of the accused had been aggravated by reason of his name, he will consider issuing a circular to the magistrates informing them that a defendant's name is irrelevant to the seriousness of a man's crime?

Sir J. Anderson

I have been in communication with the magistrate, and I am assured by him that there was no question of his considering the offence to have been aggravated by reason of the name of the accused person. Both this person and his co-defendant were in fact fined the same amount. I do not think any action on my part is needed to acquaint magistrates of the irrelevance of such a consideration to the issues which they have to decide.

Mr. Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, according to a Press report, the magistrate most definitely said that he would not tolerate offences of this sort, particularly from people with that sort of name, and will he convey to him that if that report is correct, such an action is undesirable?

Sir J. Anderson

I think it would be improper for me to comment, on the strength of a newspaper report, on something said or done by a magistrate in the course of his judicial duties.

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