HC Deb 13 December 1956 vol 562 c603
18. Dr. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence his Department has given to the Royal Commission on the law relating to mental illness in respect of the working of the Criminal Lunatics Act, 1884.

Major Lloyd-George

None, Sir. The Royal Commission's terms of reference excluded the consideration of Broadmoor patients and hence of the Criminal Lunatics Act, 1884.

Dr. Johnson

Can my right hon. and gallant Friend give this Act his personal consideration, in view of what he has just said? Is he really happy about such a case as that of Mr. John James, on which I asked a Question last week, when a man, who is sentenced to a short term of imprisonment, is certified in prison by doctors who see him there, and at the expiration of his sentence is detained indefinitely merely on a justice's certificate? Would my right hon. and gallant Friend look at this matter very carefully and ask himself whether he can embark on a revision of this very antiquated legislation?

Major Lloyd-George

I certainly will.

Mr. J. T. Price

If the Minister looks into this question, will he pay particular attention to the far wider grievance felt by many families of juvenile delinquents who may be certified under the mental deficiency Acts whilst inmates of remand homes and Borstal institutions, without legal representation or even independent medical examinations, and then be detained for many years?

Hon. Members


Major Lloyd-George

As soon as the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) sits down, I will do so. The matter which he raises is slightly apart from the Question on the Order Paper. I was asked what evidence my Department had given, and the Answer was "None, Sir". Of course I will look into the matter raised by the hon. Member for Westhoughton.