HC Deb 24 February 1954 vol 524 c385
45. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will consider making crimes of assault and battery in Kenya punishable by imprisonment without the option of a fine.

Mr. Lyttelton

No, Sir. The circumstances in which these crimes are committed may vary so widely that in my opinion it would not be proper to deprive the courts of their present discretion.

Mr. Dugdale

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall the case of a settler who was convicted of a particularly brutal assault and whose fines were paid on the spot by another settler, who presumably thought that he was performing a fitting action? Does the right hon. Gentleman think it right that people should be able to band together and pay each other's fines, so that the guilty can escape justice?

Mr. Lyttelton

This is an attempt on the part of the right hon. Gentleman to bring forward a particular case, many of the particulars of which I should deplore, in order to support a general argument. If he will read my answer, he will see that I consider that the discretion of the courts should not be altered in these cases. There is no means by which one can secure in all cases that the courts arrive at the right decision. That is impossible.

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