HL Deb 05 February 1856 vol 140 cc218-9

said, he had to present a Bill of an important character, which it was desirable should be sanctioned with as little delay as possible, to enable the Court of Queen's Bench to order certain offences to be tried at the Central Criminal Court. When a person was charged in the country with any serious offence which was likely to prejudice him in the eyes of the neighbourhood, it was competent for the Court of Queen's Bench to remove the proceedings into that Court. The case would then be tried in ordinary course in the Court of Queen's Bench by a trial at bar—a process which was not only attended with considerable expense, but occupied a great amount of time, and was not a convenient mode of trial for felony. It was therefore desirable that, at the discretion of the Court, such cases should be sent for trial to a more convenient tribunal, the Central Criminal Court. It was doubtful, under the existing state of the law, whether the Court of Queen's Bench had the power to send such a case to the Central Criminal Court, which was certainly the most competent tribunal for the trial of criminal offences. There were old authorities which seemed to imply that the Queen's Bench had that power, but many distinguished modern authorities entertained no doubt that it had not. Under these circumstances, and as it would be highly impolitic in a question of this nature, which might involve life or death, to leave any doubt upon the subject, he proposed the present Bill, and he would only add that it had the entire sanction of the Lord Chief Justice and the other Judges of the Court.


inquired whether the Bill was proposed as an enacting or as a declaratory measure?


, said, that it had been prepared simply as an enacting Bill.

Bill read 1a

House adjourned to Thursday next.