HC Deb 27 November 1947 vol 444 cc2116-7
62. Mr. Austin

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether in regard to two boys, aged ten and eleven years, respectively, birched by order of the Manchester Juvenile Court, he will state the reasons for their recent further appearance in court, the findings of the court, and the treatment meted out to these boys.

Mr. Ede

If my hon. Friend is referring to the two boys who were the subject of his Questions on 24th July last, I understand that they were brought before the Juvenile Court again last month charged with breaking and entering a house and stealing therein. They admitted the offence, and were placed on probation for 12 months.

Mr. Austin

Does not the reappearance of these boys so soon after they had been birched for a previous offence make nonsense of the efficacy of corporal punishment?

Mr. Ede

Everyone must draw his own conclusions from the facts.

Mr. Benson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether these two boys were the boys who were birched when the magistrates explained that they had got tired at the end of the day and they could not treat them in any other way?

Mr. Ede

I have no recollection of that statement being made in the report which was shown to me.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that it might have been more efficacious for the probation to have preceded the birching instead of the birching preceding the probation?

Mr. Ede

We shall be discussing this matter later this afternoon, when I shall be able to give an indication of my views on the issues involved.