HC Deb 23 November 1939 vol 353 cc1389-90
44. Mr. Radford

asked the Home Secretary for what reason has he refused to confirm the decision of the visiting justices of Walton Gaol, Liverpool, that a prisoner who had assaulted a warder should receive 12 strokes of the cat, particularly as this prisoner has been guilty of similar assaults on three previous occasions?

Sir J. Anderson

This case has been mentioned in a local newspaper as though it were a recent event, but, in fact, it occurred on 15th August last. I find that the question of confirming the award of the visiting justices was carefully considered, but in view of elements of doubt about some of the circumstances of the case, it was decided that it would be right for the offence to be dealt with by a form of punishment other than corporal punishment.

Mr. Radford

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this man had been guilty of three previous assaults on warders, and does he not feel that by his decision he has refused that protection to warders to which they are entitled in discharging their difficult duties?

Sir J. Anderson

It is quite impossible for me to go into all the details in reply to the question, but I can assure my hon. Friend that it is quite clear from the record that my predecessor's decision last August was based on special circumstances peculiar to the individual case.