§ COLONEL DAWNAY (York, W.R., Thirsk)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to a case of assault committed in the Commercial Road on Sunday last, when the Magistrate who tried the case expressed the following opinion:—The attack the prisoners had been guilty of justified a man in using any deadly weapon in order to protect himself, and even if the prosecutor had shot both men dead, he would have been justified in doing so;and whether, in view of these frequent outrages, and the various interpretations of the law on this subject, he will inform the Magistrates and Judges what a man may and may not do under similar circumstances?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS, Birmingham, E.)
I am informed by the learned Magistrate that he did not make use of the words quoted. What he said to the prisoners was as follows:—Some people contend that your conduct would justify the complainant in using a revolver and shooting you both dead, but with that I certainly do not agree.I have no reason to believe that outrages such as the one referred to are frequent, or that the law on the subject is not thoroughly understood. I should, however, be exceeding my duty if I took 496 upon myself to define or interpret the law for the guidance of Judges and Magistrates.