HL Deb 04 June 1835 vol 28 cc527-8
Lord Brougham

called the attention of the House to a matter on which he had recently obtained a return, namely, the number of cases tried at the Central Criminal Court, before the Judges and the city officers. Malicious persons, who were the more malicious in proportion to their ignorance, had represented that the learned Judges now, since the passing of the Central Criminal Court Act, had tried fewer prisoners than formerly. The statement was utterly devoid of truth, but was not the less persevered in. The return which he had moved for, and which was now made, showed that in each of three years, the number of larcenies tried by the City law officers was nearly the same—namely, 725 in one year, 694 in another, and 674 in a third. In the first of these years, there were 806 offenders, out of which number 725 were tried for petty larcenies alone. The graver offences only were brought before the learned Judges. To prove that their labours were not less, but greater than ever, he had moved for this return. It was a return of all offences tried during six months of six successive years. In this return he had selected the seven principal offences— burglary, forgery, cutting and maiming, manslaughter, rape, and robbery. In the six months ending April, 1830, the City law officers had tried, of these principal offences, thirty-three; the learned Judges had tried thirty-seven. In the last of the six months selected — namely, the six months ending April 5, 1835, the City law officers had tried, of these graver offences, twenty-seven; while the learned Judges had tried sixty-nine. So that, in former times, before the Central Criminal Court was established, the City law officers had tried, of the graver offences, nearly as many as the learned Judges; but in the last six months the number of these graver offences tried before the learned Judges was nearly double that of the graver offences tried before the City law officers. He had excluded cases of murder from this return, because cases of that kind were sometimes tried indiscriminately by the City law officers, and by the Judges. He had mentioned these things, because malicious persons had represented that since the institution of the Central Criminal Court the learned Judges had tried less than formerly the number of offenders brought before the court. The reverse was the fact; but that did not prevent these persons from making the statement. He could not conceive the motive for these misrepresentations, except that he was the author of the Central Criminal Court Bill. He now moved that the return should be printed.

Agreed to.

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