HC Deb 22 June 1967 vol 748 cc1937-8
24. Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the minimum, the maximum and the average times required to bring a child before a juvenile court in the Greater London area.

Miss Bacon

My right hon. Friend would not feel justified in asking the courts to undertake the special inquiry needed to provide this information. In general, the interval between the institution of proceedings and the child's first appearance in court is about two weeks, though there can be variations according to circumstances.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

Does not the right hon. Lady think that two weeks is a very long time to keep a child waiting in such circumstances? Is she aware that cases occur—I have had correspondence with her about one where there has been delay of five weeks? This has a very bad effect on the children concerned.

Miss Bacon

I agree about the case about which the hon. Gentleman has had correspondence with my right hon. Friend, but there were special circumstances, because it was concerned with the railway police. As to the average of two weeks, it is sometimes necessary to get reports on the children about their home circumstances and so on.

Mr. John Fraser

Because of the time that it takes for these cases to come on for trial, would my right hon. Friend do everything she can to ensure that children are not unnecessarily remanded in custody during these periods?

Miss Bacon

It is for the courts to determine where the child should be remanded. However, it is often necessary for a child to be remanded in a remand home so that observation may be made and medical reports received.