§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE PAYMASTER-GENERAL (LORD STRACHIE)
My Lords, this is a Bill which has come up from the House of Commons, having passed through that House practically as an unopposed measure. The Bill consists of only one clause, and its object is to amend subsection (1) of Section 1 of the Protection of Animals Act, 1911, by substituting the word "three" for the word "six." The reason for the proposed change is this. The promoters of the Act of 1911 had inserted in it the 879 penalty of six months' imprisonment instead of, under the old law, three months as the maximum penalty which a Court of Summary Jurisdiction could impose; but they did not discover until the Act was passed that the effect of this provision was to remove the case from the jurisdiction of the magistrates if the defendant claimed trial by jury, because, under the Summary Jurisdiction Act, where the maximum penalty exceeds three months there is a right to claim trial by jury. All that this Bill does is to return to the old procedure and enable Courts of Summary Jurisdiction to deal with these offences of cruelty, which in the majority of cases, I am glad to say, are not serious, and can be well dealt with on the spot by the justices sitting in Petty Sessions without the necessity of their going before a jury. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(Lord Strachie.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.