HC Deb 11 November 1912 vol 43 c1756W

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the constant practice prevailing at the Westminster Stipendiary's Court of sending boys to prison without allowing time for the payment of the alternative fine; whether he is aware that on 8th, 12th, and 19th October last three boys, all first offenders, were sent to prison because they could not at once pay the fines ranging from 10s. to 20s.; whether he can make representations to stipendiary magistrates advising that in such cases time should be given for the payment of the fine; and, if so, whether he will make such representations?


My attention is frequently called to cases of first offenders committed to prison in default of payment of fines. The Home Office has repeatedly impressed on magistrates the importance of allowing time for payment of fines in all suitable cases, and only last month I represented this view strongly in a circular to all Courts of Summary Jurisdiction in the country. There are, however, many cases where the public interest makes commital to prison necessary, and I am not entitled unless it is clear that some serious injustice has been done, to interfere with a discretion which the law has given in this matter to the magistrates.