HC Deb 08 July 1965 vol 715 cc1797-8
8. Mr. Cordle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make proposals to provide that conviction on a charge involving loss by theft or malicious damage to private or public property shall include restitution of such loss in addition to any penalties, pecuniary or otherwise, ordered by a court; and whether he will give power to the courts to require security for such restitution by impounding or charging the personal effects of the convicted person.

Miss Bacon

The criminal courts already have power, under Section 4 of the Forfeiture Act, 1870, to order an offender to pay compensation up to £100 for loss suffered as a result of a felony, including theft, and there are certain other powers under which they may award compensation for malicious damage; such orders may be enforced by distress of the money and goods of the offender. The Criminal Law Revision Committee, in its recent Report on felonies and misdemeanours, has recommended that the power in the Forfeiture Act should be applied to any offence triable on indictment and should include compensation up to £400 for damage as well as loss.

Mr. Cordle

While welcoming the hon. Lady's lengthy reply, may I draw her attention to the fact that there is a real need to look at this question? Is she aware that many people in this country would like to see thuggery dealt with by the introduction of corporal punishment? Will she agree that the present cult of softness has brought about a lot of our problems?

Miss Bacon

The Government are very concerned at the malicious damage, but I cannot agree with the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that corporal punishment would be in any way effective in dealing with it. Indeed, the past has shown that flogging and birching did not reduce crimes for which flogging and birching were used.