asked the Home Secretary if his attention had been directed to the exceptional circumstances under which three little boys were birched, by order of the magistrates at Sittingbourne, for trespassing in the grounds of the Roman Catholic Convent, where they had proceeded to recover a toy; and whether he will take any steps to discourage the use of the rod for such trivial misdemeanours?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The Secretary of State has made inquiry in this case, and ascertained that the boys pleaded guilty to a charge of committing wilful damage to growing shrubs. They had been abusive when remonstrated with by one of the sisters for climbing the wall and trespassing in the convent garden, and wilfully broke the shrubs. There was evidence before the Justices of the annoyance and injury that had been repeatedly caused to the convent by boys from the neighbourhood. In view of the circumstances the Secretary of State cannot think that exception can properly be taken to the decision of the Justices.