MR. CONYBEABE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been drawn to the case, as reported in The Daily News of the 30th of April, of Mrs. Maria Davies, who, having been sent to prison 16 months ago by Baron Huddleston and Mr. Justice Manisty because she disobeyed an injunction of the Court, was on Saturday again brought up before the Court, and committed again to gaol for an indefinite period for contempt of Court; whether it is the fact that such alleged contempt consisted in the prisoner declaring that she must bring her action to try her right to what she considered her home; whether the Judges ordered that the process of contempt must go on, for how long they could not state; and, whether, as one of the Judges said the prisoner's conduct amounted to a misdemeanour, and the other stated that her punishment had been certainly adequate to a serious misdemeanour, the Government will advise the Crown to exercise the prerogative of mercy in this case, as the prisoner appears to have been already sufficiently punished by her prolonged imprisonment?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
, in reply, said, he had seen a newspaper report of the case, from which it appeared that the alleged contempt consisted in refusing to abstain from attempts to take forcible possession of property which had been legally decided to belong to another. Mrs. Davies had only to purge her con- 1232 tempt of Court, and abstain from unlawful molestation of innocent parties, and she became free. The Secretary of State would not advise the exercise of the prerogative of mercy in this case, even presuming that it fell within that prerogative.
§ MR. CONYBEARE
What I want to know is, whether the prisoner is to be kept in prison for the rest of her days?
§ [No reply.]