HL Deb 31 March 1859 vol 153 cc1149-50

On the Order of the Day for the Third Reading of this Bill,


stating that he approved generally of the provisions of this Bill said, there were some to which he excepted and requested that the hird reading be postponed.


said, he had no insuperable objection to let the Bill stand over, though he did not see the necessity for it. He understood one of his noble and learned Friend's objections was, that in the metropolitan police district any other than a police magistrate might under this Bill commit a prisoner for trial. Now, he believed that was a mistake. Then his noble and learned Friend objected that in the City, as the Bill stood, any Alderman sitting in his own private room might commit a prisoner for trial. But he understood that the practice in the City was, that the Lord Mayor or an Alderman sat daily at the Mansion House and at the Guildhall in public court, and that prisoners were examined and committed only by them. A third objection was, that there were some small portions of counties in the metropolitan district which were not under the jurisdiction of the police magistrates, and that the magistrates committing prisoners from these districts for trial did not sit in open court. Perhaps there might be something in this objection, but at all events the numbers of commitments were small. Out of 1,200 commitments to the Central Criminal Court in the course of a year, only ten had been committed from these districts. He hoped, therefore, his noble and learned Friend would not object to proceed with the Bill.


said, it had been laid down by the ancient law that unless twelve fellow-citizens declared a man guilty he should not be punished. As the Bill now stood any Alderman of the City of London might be considered tantamount to twelve grand jurymen.

Third Reading put off to Monday next.