HC Deb 03 March 1931 vol 249 c228W

asked the Home Secretary whether he will introduce legislation to make it compulsory, and not permissive as at present, for all first offenders charged with an offence which may be tried summarily before magistrates to be dealt with under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907?


I regret that I am not prepared to introduce legislation of the nature proposed. Such legislation would, in my view, place a restriction which would be quite contrary to the general principle of our law, upon the discretion of Courts to deal with every case upon its merits. The powers given to Courts by the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907, may be used whether the offence is the first committed or not; many offenders have in fact committed several offences before their first appearance in Court. Courts of Summary Jurisdiction gave the benefits of the Act in 1928 to more than 85,000 offenders, of whom nearly 25,000 had committed indictable offences.