HL Deb 05 March 1860 vol 156 c2218

, in moving the second reading of the Administering of Poison Bill, said it had for its object to correct a serious defect in the existing law in regard to the administration of noxious substances. As the law now stood, if poison was administered with intent to murder it was a capital offence, and in his own experience he had seen it punished by the extreme penalty of the law; but if no intent to murder could be proved, the law was most deplorably defective, because it was held that by common law it was not an offence to administer poison unless with intent to murder. The effect of this state of things had been that in various cases where poisonous substances had been administered, and had produced the most serious and distressing results, the offenders had escaped punishment, because it could not be proved that they had given the poison with intent to murder. The Bill consisted of two clauses. The first provided that the administration of poison with intent to endanger life or to do grevious bodily harm should be regarded as felony, and punished with penal servitude. The other provided that in the event of the administration of poison being without intent to do grievous bodily harm, and with intent only to annoy and aggrieve it should be regarded as a misdemeanour, and punished with three years' imprisonment.

Bill read 2a.

House adjourned at a Quarter before Six o'clock, till To-morrow half-past Ten o'clock.