THE MARQUESS OF WESTMEATH
, in moving an Address for certain returns as to the number of persons killed, or injured by being run over by carriages in the metropolis, referred to the provisions of the Lord Chancellor's Bill for the Consolidation of the Criminal Laws of England and Ireland with regard to accidents on railways, and expressed his surprise that the man who altered a point or put a stone upon a railway for the purpose of causing an accident should not be punished as severely as the man who took away life by any other means. A great number of persons had been killed by accidents in the streets of the metropolis, and any one must see the reckless manner in which one-horse vehicles were driven by irresponsible persons. He wanted to know why all those persons should not be made amenable for furious and wanton driving, as well as the drivers of public carriages. These accidents must be wanton; they could not be accidental, because any person with eyes in his head must see a person who was crossing the street. The Act of Parliament making these persons liable for injury to life or limb proceeded upon the old assumption that the wantonness of the injury was to be proved by the friends and relatives of the person killed or wounded. The onus probandi, however, ought, he contended, to lie upon the person who committed the injury, because primâ facie no person could plead a justification for deliberately killing a fellow creature. He moved for a Return of all Cases which have come to the Cognizance of the Metropolitan Police, whereby, since the 1st of January, 1858, up to the present time, any Person has been run over and killed by any Carriage within the District and the Superin- 2047 tendence of the said Force. The like Return as to every Person maimed or otherwise injured by the same Means. Similar Returns from the City of London, and certified by the Police Authorities within the same.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, there did not seem to be any objection to the returns asked for by the noble Marquess, and he had no doubt they would yield very useful information. He hoped, however, that the noble Marquess would excuse him from entering into a lengthened explanation of the Bills to which he had referred, which were measures certainly of great importance, but which had been already read a second time by their Lordships, and had been referred to a Select Committee, where every suggestion relative to their improvement would receive its due weight.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.