§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD BRAMWELL
, in moving that the Bill be read the second time, said, the Bill had twice passed their Lordships' House. Its object was to enable Courts of Quarter Sessions and Recorders to try persons charged with burglaries of a small and unimportant character. It was well known that besides the graver cases of burglary there were many of a very trivial character which could be disposed of much more quickly at the Quarter Sessions than by waiting for the Assizes. If a man broke a window and put his hand in and stole a piece of meat between 9 o'clock at night and 6 in the morning, it would be burglary. In the same manner, if a lodger broke out of a house before 6 o'clock in the morning, taking with him his fellow-lodger's clothes, it would be burglary. It was impossible, however, in an Act of Parliament to make distinctions between the gravity of offences, and the Bill therefore gave a jurisdiction to Quarter Sessions and Recorders in all cases of burglary. It would be well, however, to have a clause in the Bill reciting that the object was that small burglaries only should be tried at Sessions, leaving magistrates to exercise their discretion in the matter—a discretion which he felt sure would be properly exercised.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Bramwell.)223
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (Lord HERSCHELL)
said, that he entirely sympathized with the object of his noble and learned Friend in introducing this Bill. There was no doubt that a certain number of burglaries were of such a trivial character that they could be as well tried at Sessions, where now much more serious cases were tried. It would be very undesirable, however, that the greater and more important cases of burglaries should be tried at Sessions, and not at Assizes. If a provision were inserted in the Bill directing magistrates to exercise their discretion as to the tribunal to which they would send the case for trial, having regard to its gravity, he thought they might depend on that discretion being properly exercised.
§ Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly.