HL Deb 30 July 1964 vol 260 cc1241-2

My Lords, with your permission, I should like to bring to your Lordships' notice an Answer which my right honourable friend the Home Secretary made in another place to a Private Notice Question asking what action he proposes to take with regard to the petition of Alfred George Hinds asking for a review of his case under Section 19 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1907. I will use my right honourable friend's own words:

"A petition was received at the Home Office at 1.55 p.m. to-day asking for Hinds' immediate release from prison, and indicating his intention of applying for a free pardon. I will give the petition immediate consideration.

"Hinds was convicted at the Central Criminal Court in 1953 of breaking and entering, and was sentenced to twelve years preventive detention. His application for leave to appeal against conviction and sentence was refused by the Court of Criminal Appeal. He has in recent months been under the hostel system, going to work daily outside the prison: that is, he is on parole under the Prison Rules, on condition that he returns nightly to Pentonville prison. Pending my examination of the implications of yesterday's decision I have directed that this condition should be removed."


My Lords, I am obliged for the noble Lord's statement. It is not a case easy to comment on at the present time. It has to be remembered that further appeals may be pending, and I think it would be the happiest thing if we regarded the present position as sub judice.


My Lords, may I support what the noble Earl has said? I think we should do that.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition and to the noble Lord, Lord Rea. I entirely agree with them.


My Lords, while supporting entirely what my noble Leader has said, may I ask a question which has nothing to do with the sub judice aspect of the case? It is with regard to the exceptional circumstances (as I think they are) under which the Home Secretary has agreed that Hinds, while under the hostel scheme, should nevertheless live at home. When the period under the hostel system is finished, Hinds, presumably, will not be in custody and will mean while be released on licence. Can the noble Lord say in that event whether the licence would be the same as in other circumstances, or whether he would in fact be released entirely?


My Lords, we have been considering this subject since 1.55 p.m. to-day, and I really cannot answer details of administration.