HC Deb 25 April 1898 vol 56 cc941-2
SIR JOHN KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the statement made by Mr. Justice Wills at the hearing of the case of R. v. John Humphreys, that in the case of Powell v. Kempton Park a material fact was collusively stated, and that it was very unfortunate that such a case should have come before the Court of Appeal to be a leading case; and whether any steps can be taken by the Government for obtaining a more satisfactory decision?


Yes, my attention has been called to the remarks of the learned judge; and, if it be the case that the Court, in Powell v. Kempton Park, was misled by a collusive statement, the matter can, and no doubt will, be brought under the consideration of the House of Lords in the appeal which I believe is pending. I do not see what steps can—at all events, at present—be properly taken by the Government in the matter, but I quite agree that the law should be definitely settled.

MR. A. C. HUMPHREYS-OWEN (Montgomery)

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney General whether his attention has been called to the observations of the Lord Chief Justice, and of other judges, in the Court for Crown Cases Reserved, on the hearing of the case of R. v. John Humphreys, with regard to the conflicting nature of recent decisions in cases under the Betting House Act, 1853, and the urgent need for legislation on the subject; and whether the Government will be able to introduce such legislation during the present Session for the guidance of the inferior Courts, before which such questions are continually being raised?


I am aware of the observations made by the Lord Chief Justice and the other judges in the case to which the hon. Member refers. The law is certainly not in a satisfactory state, but I cannot undertake to deal with the matter during the present Session.