HC Deb 16 March 1950 vol 472 cc1224-5
2. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what basis he determines the amount of ex gratia payments to persons granted royal pardons after terms of imprisonment.

Mr. Ede

Free pardons are granted in a variety of circumstances and a term of imprisonment is not a condition precedent to the exercise of the prerogative. Not every case justifies the making of an ex gratia payment out of public funds, but where such a payment is appropriate all relevant considerations—which vary widely from case to case—are taken into account.

No money payment can make full reparation for a miscarriage of justice, but the principle underlying such payments is that the State should show its willingness to make reasonable reparation and so far as is possible to square its account with the person wronged.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the Home Secretary aware that in some recent cases these payments have been almost in the nature of contemptuous damages, and as these cases are fortunately few and far between, will he not try to be a little more generous in the future?

Mr. Ede

There has been only one case since I have been in office where a person who has been sentenced to imprisonment has come within this category. The recent case of the lady to which I think my hon. and gallant Friend was referring was not a case where the lady was sentenced to imprisonment. She was placed on probation on condition 'that she went as a voluntary patient to a mental hospital.