HC Deb 28 March 1968 vol 761 cc1711-2
30. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what authority the governor of Brixton Prison held Robert Grice and John Garvey in custody for more than four months.

Mr. Taverne

By the authority of warrants issued periodically from 7th September, 1967, onwards by the Thames and Marylebone Magistrates' Courts. After several unsuccessful applications for bail, the two men were allowed bail on 8th December by the Central Criminal Court, provided that each obtained satisfactory sureties. These conditions were not fulfilled until 2nd February, 1968, in the case of Grice and 22nd February, 1968, in the case of Garvey.

Mr. Hamling

Is it not wrong that poor prisoners should be denied both bail and legal aid when wealthy villains can get away with it?

Mr. Taverne

This is a general proposition with which I find it difficult to deal. Bail and legal aid are entirely matters for the court. These individuals, like many others, were badly hit by the delay which unfortunately exists in bringing cases to trial.

Mr. Lipton

Will my hon. and learned Friend make it clear that the Governor of Brixton Prison is not to be held blameworthy in this or similar cases? Is he aware that, Brixton being a remand prison, the length of time that a person is on remand is entirely without the control of the Governor himself?

Mr. Taverne

I am glad that my hon. Friend has enabled me to make that clear. It was entirely a question of whether these men could find the sureties asked for by the courts, and over this the Governor of Brixton Prison would have no control.