HL Deb 31 March 1859 vol 153 cc1150-1

, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said its object was to enable coroners to admit to bail parties against whom verdicts of manslaughter had been found; whereas at present they could only be admitted to bail by one of the Judges of the superiour courts. The law at present inflicted great hardship upon poor persons who were not able to make application to the Judges in London; and their Lordships were no doubt aware that coroner's juries often returned very extraordinary verdicts. He recollected a case in which a quantity of timber, which had been floated off a warf at Deptford by an unusally heavy flood, had upset a boat and caused some persons in it to be drowned. In that case the jury actually found a verdict of manslaughter against the owners of the timber. He had received from a learned Judge now on circuit a letter in which he stated that two cases had come before him during the present assizes in which verdicts of manslaughter had been found against persons against whom the grand jury threw out the bill. The same Judge had met with another case, in which the accused, if he had been convicted, would have been sentenced to a very slight punishment, whereas he had practically been condemned to a long imprisonment by the result of the inquest.

After a few words from Lord CAMPBELL and Lord WENSLEYDALE, expressing approval of the measure,

Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the whole House To-morrow.

House adjourned at half-past Five o'clock, until To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.