HC Deb 11 December 1957 vol 579 cc139-40W
Mr. Barter

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what offences the courts, immediately prior to 1948, were empowered to order corporal punishment; and what were the numbers of each of these offences known to the police in 1956.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The offences for which the superior courts in England and Wales could order corporal punishment before its abolition as a judicial penalty in 1948 were: Diplomatic Privileges Act, 1708, Section 4—instituting any process which might result in the arrest of, or distraint on the goods of, the Ambassador or Minister of any foreign State; executing any writ or process in connection with the action. Vagrancy Act, 1824, Section 10—conviction as an incorrigible rogue on second or subsequent offences of, e.g. indecent exposure, sleeping out, failure to support family, on committal to quarter sessions for sentence. Treason Act, 1842, Section 2—discharging or aiming a firearm at the Sovereign. Garrotters Act, 1863, Section 1—attempting to choke, suffocate or strangle in order to facilitate the commission of an indictable offence. Larceny Act, 1916, Section 23 (1)—armed robbery, robbery in company with others, robbery with personal violence. Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1912, Section 3—procuration, Section 7 (5)—second or subsequent offences of living on the earnings of prostitution or soliciting by males for immoral purposes.

In addition, the superior courts could order boys under 16 to be whipped for the following offences: Larceny Act, 1861, Sections 12, 13 and 16—offences relating to larceny of deer. Malicious Damage Act, 1861, Sections 1–10, 14–23, 26–33, 35, 39, 42–48, 50 and 54—offences of malicious damage to property. Offences Against the Person Act, 1861, Sections 16, 28–30, 32 and 64—sending letters threatening to murder, offences in connection with explosive substances and corrosive fluids, and endangering railway passengers. Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, Section 4—carnal knowledge of a girl under 13. Larceny Act, 1916, Sections 2, 8, 10, 16, 17, 29, 33, 34 and 37—offences of larceny, receiving, embezzlement and demanding money by menaces.

Courts of Summary Jurisdiction had power under Section 10 (2) of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, to order boys under 14 to be whipped on summary conviction of any indictable offence.

I regret that the only available figures relating to the number of crimes in the above categories known to the police in 1956 is the figure of 730 offences under Section 23 (1) of the Larceny Act, 1916, which I gave in reply to my hon. Friend's Question on 18th November last.

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