Clause 40. — (Prohibition on taking photographs, etc., in Court.)

Orders of the Day — Criminal Justice Bill. – in the House of Commons on 20th November 1925.

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Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

I beg to move to leave out the Clause.

I have a number of other Amendments to this particular Clause, but I am not going to move them. I simply content myself with moving to leave out the Clause. I will do so in as few words as possible in order that we may get an explanation from the Home Secretary.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

On a point of Order. I should like to ask, in view of the ruling of your predecessor, whether my hon. Friends beside me and myself can safeguard our position in relation to one or two Amendments that follow that we propose to move?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

There will be no difficulty about that.

Captain BENN:

On a further point of Order. I gather that on the Clause you are unwilling to exclude certain Amendments that are on the Paper.

Photo of Colonel Josiah Wedgwood Colonel Josiah Wedgwood , Newcastle-under-Lyme

We have decided, in return for the Home Secretary taking out Clause 31, to give the Government every assistance in passing through this Clause without undue obstruction. It is on this ground that I have decided not to move subsequent Amendments. Clause 40 makes it a penal offence for anybody to take a photograph or sketch in any Court or within the precincts of the Court. I wish to enter my protest against the manufacture of fresh offences and fresh excuses to send people to prison. We are going on year by year making fresh crimes. To my mind that is the last thing that Parliament should do. Is it a crime to take a picture of a defendant or other person who may be in Court? It may be very undesirable from the point of view of the person whose picture is taken, but if persons go to law, and come before the public, it seems to me that the public as a whole has just as much right to have a photograph as to have their lives dealt with, or an account of their career put into the public Press. We who are in politics are accustomed to have all sorts of private details about our lives published. We are accustomed to see as photographs the most villainous libels, and we have to put up with it. Why, then, should not these people who are defendants in Court, and in notorious cases, have to put up with what ordinary politicians have to put up with? If you are going to make this a crime, you are going to have all sorts of petty persecution of people. You are going to have an enormous number of additional causes of offence against the law of England, and this seems to me to be quite unnecessary. I protest against this habit of trying to censor the Press, and of interference with the right of everybody to do what they think fit and proper in these cases which come before the Courts. This habit of grandmotherly legislation in the interests of what is said to be morality seems to me to be a very unfortunate development of modern times.

Photo of Sir Rhys Morris Sir Rhys Morris , Cardiganshire

I wish to support the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). This is sheer grandmotherly legislation. I fail to understand what distinction can be drawn between the publication of the photographs of these people in the Courts, and the publication of the account of the trials. It is to be an offence to take or attempt to take, in any Court or the precincts of the Court, any photograph or sketch and so on, but what does "precincts of the Court" mean? It is quite possible that a newspaper editor may obtain photographs of judges and other officials for publication. Will this be within the "precincts" of the Court? Clearly this is a new offence which is objectionable. It does not meet the worst part of the case, which is where a man has been a party to some offence which is sufficient to make him notorious, and then for a newspaper to ask him to write an account of it, pay him a handsome sum for doing so, and publish his photograph along with the letterpress. You may have an offence of that sort going scot free, while in another case there is punishment. For these reasons I hope the Home Secretary will see his way to accept the Amendment.

Photo of Mr John Rawlinson Mr John Rawlinson , Cambridge University

I should like to point out in this case there is no power to send anybody to prison in a general way. It is intended to apply to people who are making a living out of some or other public trial. I hope that the Home Secretary will consider this matter very carefully, and not be led away by what hon. Members on the opposite side of the House have said about the rights of the subject and so forth. As to the case of Members of Parliament I do not suggest that they are lacking in the sense of modesty in a matter of this kind, but we willingly come before the public, and are accustomed to come before the public, and so possibly get our photographs occasionally in the papers. Some of us like it. Really, however, where the matter is serious is where you have to persuade people to come into Court for the purpose of defending their rights, and I can assure hon. Members that a large number of people, both men and women, are terrified to come into the Court because their photographs or a sketch of them are likely to be put in the various papers. They go to Court and you subsequently see photographs of them with their hands in front of faces showing their objection to it. I can tell the House, in my own experience, that this really is a thing which is interfering with the courts of justice at the present time. If a man or a woman desires to be photographed there are plenty of studios to go to or there is the studio of the newspaper which wants the photograph I am speaking now with reference to the cause of Justice. So far as the Committee upstairs was concerned there was not the sightest objection raised to this Clause, and it would appear to me that sometimes the necessity for this Clause is not quite realised. After all, is it not really pandering to a not very high-class taste to have in the newspapers photographs of eminent counsel going into court in whatever costume they may happen to be in? Some of us do not mind it. It is a form of gratuitous advertisement to which some of us have no objection, but is it really very necessary that the public should have a photograph of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Leyton (Mr. Cassels) going to the Law Courts?

Photo of Mr James Cassels Mr James Cassels , Leyton West

This does not stop it.

Photo of Mr John Rawlinson Mr John Rawlinson , Cambridge University

It goes a little way towards it.

Photo of Mr James Cassels Mr James Cassels , Leyton West

It is only a photograph taken in court.

Photo of Mr John Rawlinson Mr John Rawlinson , Cambridge University

I am afraid it will be stopped in future. It will be an infringement of the personal liberty of my hon. and learned Friend. As he is going into the court with his red bag to conduct his case, the photographer will not be allowed to snapshot him.

Major-General Sir NEWTON MOORE:

It does not apply to counsel. You will be exempt.

Photo of Mr John Rawlinson Mr John Rawlinson , Cambridge University

Perhaps that privilege still remains. But what I ask the House to do is to consider the feelings of people who really are deterred from coming forward to give evidence, who are caused genuine pain by having their photographs published far and wide, and in the interests of justice I hope this Clause will be allowed to go through. I am not speaking of the details of it, but, taken as a whole, it is a much-needed Clause and it was passed unanimously in Committee.

Photo of Mr Francis Broad Mr Francis Broad , Edmonton

I hope the Home Secretary will adhere to this Clause. It may not be very disconcerting to those of us who are in the public gaze to know, when we are speaking on a public platform, that someone is sketching us, or that we may hear the click of cameras; but I do not think it fair that those who are not used to being in the public view, and who are in court at a time of great strain, should be disconcerted by the knowledge that people are sketching them. It is for them an occasion when they need all their mentality, and when they have to go to court they ought to be preserved from any sort of molestation or annoyance, even when they are entering the court. I remember how I felt when I first came into the public gaze, in a very small way —though I was not on trial at the time. People who are going to court are disturbed by the thought that there will be a heap of photographers dodging in front of them. It must be very disconcerting to them, and it will be some time before they can recover their mental equanimity.

Further, I do not think it is in keeping with the dignity of the court that it should be used as a studio. If we are to allow this sort of thing to go on in law courts, why should we not allow it in the galleries of the House of Commons? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Some of us might be quite ready for it, but I think the thing would be coming very close home to us: we should not feel that it added to the dignity of the House if some of the speakers and orators were posing with the idea of having their photographs taken or of their being sketched. Even when this House is not sitting people have to obtain permission to take photographs here, and it is the same in all our public buildings, and why should there be exemption in a court of law, where there ought to be dignity and calm? I hope the Home Secretary will stick to his clause. I would like to see it go a little further, but I am not going to deal with that at the moment.

Captain BENN:

I think it is time somebody stood up to protest against the creation of new offences. Apparently the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Broad) would make it also an offence, punishable by a fine of £50, for anyone to sketch in the gallery here. It is, I believe, forbidden by regulations; but I should never vote for making it a new and punishable offence for anyone to make a sketch from the Press gallery or take a photograph from the other gallery. It is a mistake to suppose that it is our duty cheerfully to create new offences, unless some public good is served by so doing. In this particular case we achieve nothing at all by this Clause— except in the case of witnesses—and I admit there is something in the point made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson). There have been unpleasant cases in which witnesses may have been deterred from coming forward by the fear that their photographs would appear in the newspapers, and that no doubt is an argument for this Clause; but there must be some limit. We had the "Mr. A" case, where an attempt was made to conceal the identity of one of the parties in the case. It must be recognised that there are certain penalties of publicity involved in the ordinary public administration of justice. As a rule, the name of the witness is given and there is a certain amount of publicity, and we must weigh up the disadvantages that this may bring in exceptional cases against the grave disadvantage of creating a new Press law, with new offences not yet heard of. As my hon. and learned Friend said, this does not deal with the most objectionable form of, I will not say offence, but Press behaviour. There is a Bill promoted by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Aston (Sir E. Cecil), called the Judicial Proceedings Reports Bill. The Home Secretary does not find time for that, he does not find time to interfere with those disgusting articles from men who, in some cases, have even been condemned. What he does is to draw up a most amazing list of offences and say that newspapers shall be subject to a fine of £50 if they commit them.

What are some of these offences? Photographs must not be taken in Court. I understand, though of course eminent legal authorities will correct me. that Judges now forbid and prevent photographs being taken in Court, if it becomes a nuisance. Further, anyone who attempts to take them will be penalised. In this House hon. Members may sketch during the course of a Debate. There is one notorious and very gifted offender. If the hon. Member for Edmonton extended this restriction to the House of Commons, as he indicated his desire to do, he would bring his colleague within the net. Then, again, it is to be an offence to publish such a photograph. But who is to know where the photograph is obtained? A Judge's photograph, for instance, might have been obtained from a private photographer. The difficulty as to origin would be much more pronounced in the case of a sketch. If I may say so, with great respect to the newspaper Press, I sometimes doubt whether everything that is "sketched in Court" has been sketched in Court. A man in the office may make a drawing from a photograph which he had procured from an ordinary photographer—make a sketch of the Court, draw a picture of the Judge and indicate roughly other figures; but it is very doubtful whether, under paragraph (b) the newspaper would not be subject to a fine of £50 if it published the sketch.

Photo of Mr Herbert Grotrian Mr Herbert Grotrian , Kingston upon Hull South West

He can sketch as much as he likes, provided he does not do it with a view to publishing the sketch.

Captain BENN:

My contention is that a, newspaper artist, in the seclusion of his own study, might make a drawing of the Court from knowledge he had obtained during a casual visit, and a drawing of the Judge obtained from photographs obtained from ordinary public sources, and that if published it would apparently be an offence. How are you to tell whether the sketch or the photograph was made in Court or not? A great many of these drawings are made up after visits from material outside the Court, and they are not made on the spot at all. Is it to be laid down that no one inside or outside a Court is to be allowed to produce the image of a magistrate, or coroner, OT the Judge, or a picture of the Court? With great respect to magistrates and coroners, I cannot see that that is a thing which ought to be made an offence, and, although it might be an offence against artistic taste, it is not a great moral offence to reproduce the features of the Judge or witnesses. If it related to the publication of the degrading and demoralising sort of stuff pub- lished in some of our newspapers I should support it, but that is not the case. I think there are quite enough offences already, and I beg the Home Secretary to reconsider the question of proceeding with this Clause at this particular moment.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I do not think that the hon. and gallant Member who has just spoken would have made that speech, unless it was on a Friday afternoon—

Captain BENN:

Why do you say that?

Captain BENN:

It is a very strange creed.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I want to place it upon a somewhat higher ground. This is a perfectly serious Clause which was introduced into the Bill last year by the Labour Government. It was not in the Bill of 1923, but it was introduced by the Labour Government last year, and when I came into office and saw it I thought it was such a good Clause that I included it in this Bill. There really are good reasons for the introduction of this Clause because I fear that the taking of photographs of people in Court has become an added terror to the administration of justice. It has been my duty to consult some of the Judges and those responsible for the administration of justice on this question, and I can assure the House that, particularly in criminal trials, it is a monstrous abuse of the rights of the Press to sketch and put in such things as the pictures of the widow or the mother of the man who is being tried for his life. Naturally under those circumstances the mother or the wife of the prisoner wants to go into the Court to see her husband tried, and if she docs this she has to run the risk of being pilloried in the newspapers as the wife or mother of the prisoner, and this is not fair. Why should the prisoner be subject to such a thing, because he may turn out to be quite innocent, and yet he will find that he has been pilloried as someone charged with a horrible crime, although he may be acquitted?

Photo of Sir Rhys Morris Sir Rhys Morris , Cardiganshire

Why not extend this provision to the private photographer?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

It is not a pleasant thing to be a witness either in a coroner's court or a criminal court, but it is necessary that these people should go there in the interests of justice in order to give evidence. But in addition to this they are now subject to the risk of having their photographs published in the newspapers. With regard to what has been said about this practice in connection with divorce eases, I do not think that the society woman going through the divorce court really objects to it, but the poor person feels very strongly about it. This Clause has been put in after much consideration, and the Government believe it is in the interests of the whole community, and I believe the Press are prepared to accept it. I know there is another Amendment suggesting the omission of the words "or in the precincts of the building." I agree that you cannot prevent every photographer taking photographs of witnesses going to or leaving the court, but when they are crossing the pavement leading to the court there ought to be the sanctity of the court to protect them. I ask all sides of the House to declare in favour of this Clause, which I am sure is not only in the best interests of the administration of justice, but is also likely to promote the well-being of the people as a whole.

Photo of Mr Andrew MacLaren Mr Andrew MacLaren , Stoke-on-Trent Burslem

I do not think this Clause will achieve the object which the Home Secretary has in view. As it now stands, even the Home Secretary admits that it is possible for a person to be photographed far removed from the precincts of the Court, and if that is done the publicity we wish to guard against will still take place. I agree that there is nothing more revolting than to pick up a newspaper and find in it a lot of morbid photographs of all sorts of poor and popular persons, but my point is that I do not think the publicity we wish to guard against is removed by the operation of this Clause, and it should be made more drastic. No paper should be allowed to publish a photograph of anyone involved in a Court action, and unless you make such a provision, you will not get the protection which is sought by this Clause.

I will give another illustration. Suppose I went into a Law Court and took up a piece of paper and put down a few Pitman signs, and then I go outside and connect these signs and I get my finished sketch. If a person in the Court made a few notes of that kind on a piece of paper, would he be liable under this Clause? There are quite a number of ways in which an artist can ride through any part of this Clause. Of course if I had my way with regard to some of these photographs I should not hesitate in throwing the newspaper-containing them in the Thames, but, I think it would be more effective if the Homo Secretary was more drastic with the whole of the Press, and prohibited them from publishing photographs or sketches of any person involved in a case in the Courts. Under this Clause there will be some difficulty in proving whether the sketch or photograph was produced inside or outside the Court, and the words proposed will not effect the object of the Clause.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

Might I ask the Home Secretary to elucidate the Clause for us? So far as I can gather, there is nothing in it to prevent people getting a photograph of the widow of whom the right hon. Gentleman spoke. Does Sub-section (1, b) cover that? It says publish any photograph, portrait, or sketch taken or made in contravention of the foregoing provisions of this Section or any reproduction thereof. Does that mean that a person will not be allowed to go to the house of a witness in a case and photograph her or sketch her, or if she be a society woman, going to a Court photographer and getting her photograph? We all know that there is a big business done in these photographs. They are taken and brought out and bought, and, if the subject of one of them, does some notorious or criminal action the photograph can be used. I see my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for South Battersea (Captain Viscount Curzon) smiling, but I do not mean him at all. Is there anything to prevent that, because, if not, what is the use of this Clause? You could drive a coach and horses through this Clause. I think the law at present is that the judge may prohibit sketching or photographing, and that is a much better state of affairs. It is better than saying that there shall be no photographing or sketching and no portraits of any kind under a penalty of £50. There may be cases where the publishing of photographs is a helpful deterrent. Certain people who misbehave themselves deserve to have their photographs published. Again, in some cases it may be the means of tracing a criminal. The possibility of publishing portraits of people who have committed crimes against society may be a very useful deterrent. If the Government would tackle the problem of the publication of salacious details of cases there would be something in it, but this is really straining at the gnat and swallowing the camel as long as the details of horrible cases are permitted to be published. There is no harm in a photograph or portrait, but there is harm in reading matter which a. small child or young person can get hold of, and, if the Government would tackle that problem, they would be doing something useful. I must say that I think this is a quite unnecessary Clause, and I would ask for an explanation, at any rate, on those two points.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

At first, I was inclined to vote with my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) against this Clause, but I shall now vote for it, simply because it is a very weak, halting, and faltering step in the right direction. This is another sample of the cowardice of Governments—I will not discriminate between Governments—in dealing with the Press, when the Press take up an attitude on a particular question. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Aston Division (Sir E. Cecil) introduced a Bill dealing in an effective manner with a growing evil of our time, namely, the pernicious and outrageous manner in which rich men get richer by retailing filth day by day and every Sunday. It is perfectly monstrous the sort of stuff that is retailed out in what is called the popular Press. You talk about Bolshevism and any other ism, but it is nothing compared with the moral degradation that is caused by this literature, and no Government dare tackle it. You are tackling here just the fringe of the question, but in my judgment the rich well-to-do purveyors of filth do not mind this Clause. The right hon. Gentleman has consulted them, and they do not mind it in the least.

The real difficulty and the real danger to the community—the publication of filth—is to go on. All the stories that are raked up about a man or a woman against whom a charge may be levied is to go on untouched. Directly a person is charged, especially with some revolting kind of murder, every sort of sordid, bestial detail is raked up like filthy muck rakers going over a heap of muck, and published in the Press, and no one in this House has the courage—I will not say no one, but no Government—to deal with it. We talk very often about religion and the teaching of religion and education and all the rest of it, but it would be better that our children could not read than that they should read this muck served up for them day after day and every Sunday. I should like to feel that the right hon. Gentleman would develop the same energy and the same courage and the same devotion to what he considers high principle in regard to this matter that he has in regard to Communist and Bolshevist agitation in this country. There are certain things in life which we all ought to hold pretty sacred, and one is the mind of the little child; and both pictures and letter press that are published in this country are so foul that if I had my way I would take the people who make huge fortunes out of the retailing of such muck and put them into penal servitude for the rest of their lives. Such things ought not to be received either in this House, in a court of law, or anywhere else where decent men and women congregate.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

I would appeal to my right hon. Friend to withdraw this Amendment. All the arguments I have heard to-day have been, not against this particular Clause, but against its weakness--that it ought to go further. But the law has to make a start. Let us see how this works, and, if it be necessary that it should go further, there can be further legislation to prevent this kind of thing from happening elsewhere. Therefore, I would suggest that this Amendment should not be pressed. Let us try and keep the Court of Justice a bit cleaner than many other places are. I do not think it right that a witness, or even a criminal, should be subjected to being photographed in court at all, and I would again ask my right hon. Friend to withdraw the Amendment and let the Clause pass.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I would ask the courtesy of the House to allow me to make a reply to the points raised by the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy). It is quite true that this does not prevent the publication of the photographs of witnesses taken before they arrive in Court. We have no power to do that. That is also the reply to the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), who accuses me of not dealing with that side of the newspapers. This, however, is a Bill dealing with the administration of criminal justice, and these matters would be entirely outside its scope. All I can do is, in dealing with the administration of criminal justice, to prevent the obtaining of photographs in a court or in the precincts of a court. The other point raised by the hon. and gallant Member was that the Judge already had power to prevent it. I believe that Judges do claim the power to prevent it by means of threatening proceedings for contempt of court. The hon. and gallant Member knows what that means. First of all, the Judge is to have his attention distracted from the case to watch whether any person is taking photographs, and, quite obviously, it is not possible for him to deal with anything that takes place outside the court itself. These pictures, of course, are often taken when the person is entering or leaving the court.

Photo of Mr John Rawlinson Mr John Rawlinson , Cambridge University

Magistrates have no power at all to prevent it.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

That is so. After the explanation I have given, I trust that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will respond to the appeal of his followers, and withdraw the Amendment.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I beg to move, in page 33, line 14, to leave out the words "or attempt to."

I think the Home Secretary might meet us in this case, and I hope, also, that the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) will support me on this mater. I think it is too wide altogether to make it an offence to attempt to do a certain thing, and I think the Home Secretary might accept this and meet the objections which have been put forward quite seriously against this part of the Bill.

Captain BENN:

I beg to second the Amendment.

Photo of Mr John Rawlinson Mr John Rawlinson , Cambridge University

It would be impossible to accept such an Amendment as this, because, if a man snapshotted two or three times in court, it would not be enough merely to prove that he did that; you would have to prove that a photograph was actually taken. It might be that the camera might fail to act, and in that case no photograph would be taken. The mere fact of anyone attempting to take a photograph by snapping a camera in court is obviously the offence, because it is impossible to prove that anything happened as a result of the snapshot.

Captain BENN:

May I ask whether we are going to have a reply from the Home Secretary?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I understood that the hon. and gallant Gentleman seconded the Amendment.

Captain BENN:

Formally.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

All I have to say as Home Secretary is that I accept every word of my right hon. Friend's reply.

Captain BENN:

The courteous but elusive—

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

On a point of Order. May I ask, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether the seconding of an Amendment, even though it be formal, does not exhaust the right of the Seconder to speak further?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

Yes, the seconding of an Amendment does exhaust the right to speak. I thought the hon. and gallant Gentleman was going to ask a question.

Captain BENN:

On that point of Order. I understood that in the old days the raising of the hat to indicate a formal Motion did not exhaust the right to speak. Inasmuch as the practice of wearing hats in the House has now passed away, is it not the case that a mere assent to the seconding of a Motion does not exhaust the right to speak? I put the point to you, Sir, as it is of great importance to private Members.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I was under the impression that the seconding of an Amendment exhausted the right to speak afterwards.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I beg to move, in page 33, to leave out line 32.

This would leave out the words registrar, magistrate, justice and coroner. I think it is going too far to include these, and is really putting the dignity of the judiciary rather too high. I hope that in this case I shall have the support of the hon. and learned Member for South-West Hull (Mr. Grotrian), who is a very distinguished recorder himself. I am sure he does not wish to be protected against artists who may wish to make pictures of him while he is carrying out his duties, and, as I see he has an Amendment later which I hope to support, I hope he will support me on this.

Captain BENN:

I beg to second the Amendment.

Captain BENN:

I think the Home Secretary is rather framing his Parliamentary conduct upon what I may call the Italian model. But we have not yet reached the stage when only the Government may put down Orders or dictate business. What is this Amendment? As far as I can see, if a newspaper says, "Here is a case against such-and-such a notorious criminal, and we will publish a photograph of the learned Judge who is trying the case." it renders itself liable to prosecution. How are they going to prove that the photograph was not taken in Court? The case is that the taking of photographs in Court influences the course of justice and upsets witnesses. If a photograph is published, and it is alleged that it is a photograph in breach of paragraph (a) of this Clause, how is the newspaper going to defend itself? When you come down to registrars, magistrates, justices and coroners, whom it is the particular purpose of this Amendment to exclude, it really seems to be going much too far in a direction in which it was never necessary to embark at all. I should think it would be a little mark of consideration, perhaps not to me, but to the House, if the Home Secretary would explain why it is necessary in the case of every one of these officials to forbid it in this rigorous way under a penalty of £50, and create this new offence in respect of these people. If the Home Secretary does not think it necessary to give an answer, everyone will judge that he has no case. I submit that there is something in the Amendment, and that it deserves consideration.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

The reason I did not rise was that I felt so sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman had a strong case to put and was to leave me to answer that I was waiting to hear what was the case. I intended no discourtesy at all. Quite the contrary. All I have to say in answer is that all these officers are concerned in the administration of criminal justice, and if a Recorder is to have protection I see no reason why a Registrar or a Coroner should not be equally protected. With regard to the other point, as to how a newspaper is to prove that it did not take a photograph in Court, the point is quite the contrary. In England the prosecution Has to prove that an offence was committed, and the prosecution in this case will have to prove that the photograph was taken in Court. If a Judge likes to have his photograph taken at a camera studio that has nothing to do with the Bill. All we have to do with is the administration of justice.

Amendment negatived.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

I beg to move, in page 33, lines 36 and 37, to leave out the words "or in the precincts of the building."

I think this goes much too far. I do not know where the precincts are supposed to begin and end. The precincts of a cathedral, for example, are a very wide area. It is much too vague for the new offence that this Clause creates.

Photo of Mr John Tinker Mr John Tinker , Leigh

I beg to second the Amendment.

Captain BENN:

Of course, the Home Secretary has the assent of the majority of the House, and we are not even enough to divide on these things, but he would show more consideration if he dealt briefly with the Amendment on its merits. What exactly is meant by "the precincts of the Court"? Sup- pose a case is being tried at the Law Courts in the Strand. After all, there are a large number of Press men, who are also working men, trying to earn their living, and they should not be subject to penalties. Supposing one of these men went on the pavement opposite the Court. Is that the precincts? What is meant by the precincts? Does it mean that he is not to cross the threshold with a camera or that he must wait outside, and how far outside is he to wait? What exactly does the right hon. Gentleman mean? If he desires to prevent this offence, as he thinks it, how far does his protection carry the witness or the Judge or the Registrar? Perhaps the Solicitor-General will tell us whether there is some technical meaning attached to the word. If a man stands in the street and observes a Judge or a witness approaching the Court, lifts up his camera and takes a photograph, will he be an offender under the Act? Before we create a new offence if there is anyone in the House who cares for liberty at all, we ought to press for some definition of these words.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

In regard to the Law Courts, it would mean the corridors and the steps leading to the courtyard.

Captain BENN:

Would it mean the street outside?

2.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I am not in a position to express an opinion whether it does. It would be a matter for the Court to decide. That will be better raised on another Amendment. The precincts undoubtedly mean that which is in the boundary of the Court premises. I am quite convinced that the House, having decided that photographs shall not be taken in Court, will extend it, not merely to the Court, but to the corridors and yards.

Photo of Mr George Garro-Jones Mr George Garro-Jones , Hackney South

We all know-there are some people who are clever with their pen, and can make a sketch more or less from memory. I have seen many conspicuous examples of that. What would be the position of a man, who, outside the Court, possessed one of these photographic memories and retired to his office in Fleet Street to prepare a sketch? Would he be subject to prosecution?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

That is clearly not taking or making a sketch in Court.

Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's explanation, for which I thank him very much, I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Herbert Grotrian Mr Herbert Grotrian , Kingston upon Hull South West

I beg to move, in page 33, line 37, after the word "building," to insert the words "(not being part of a highway)."

You are here creating a new offence, and it ought to be somewhat strictly defined. Therefore, I think, unless the intention is to stop people taking photographs on the highway, there can be no objection to putting in these words. It is quite clear that there is some slight doubt what the precincts of the Court means, and it is only right and reasonable that we should say the highway is not to be taken as part of the precincts of the Court.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

I think the House ought not to pass this. We decided that photographs will not be allowed to be taken in Court, and the Clause that was sanctioned by my predecessors in two Governments goes on to say, "or if it is a photograph, portrait or sketch made of a person while entering or leaving the Court room or any such building." If you put in my hon. Friend's words it will simply mean that while we stop the evil at one place, in the precincts, a whole battery of cameras will be standing on the highway just outside when the unfortunate person is leaving the Court to get into an omnibus, tram or cab, and he will be snapped all along the line. If we are going to do the thing at all, I hope the House will do it thoroughly.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Smith Mr Benjamin Smith , Bermondsey Rotherhithe

Why not start from the home, and do it thoroughly?

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

It would be outside the scope of the Bill. I hope the House will give me these last few words. The Clause is an experiment, but I think it will do a great deal to remedy the present state of affairs, and I hope my hon. Friend will not press the Amendment.

Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse

I am not quite clear when the process of entering or leaving the precincts of the Court begins. A man may be coming along the street, and there will be a battery of cameras to greet him: but when he enters the precincts of the Court he will be safe. I would like to know when the process of "entering the precincts" actually begins.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

It is very difficult for me to define that. That must be a matter for the decision of the Court. Of course, I am not a Judge, but I should say that if an effort is made by a photographer to take a photograph, and he gets so close to the entrance of the Law Courts the yard of the Law Courts, as to show that he really intends to photograph a person who is known to be a witness in a case, then the Court must decide that he is so near the precincts of the Court as to come within the scope of this Clause. If he was away, say at the end of the Strand, when he took the photograph, then the witness could not be entering or leaving the precincts of the Court.

Photo of Sir Ellis Hume-Williams Sir Ellis Hume-Williams , Bassetlaw

I have had a somewhat lengthy personal experience in these matters. If this provision is to apply to the precincts of the Court, the one place where it ought to be effective, and where it is required, is in the street on the way into the Law Courts. It is there that the army of photographers assemble and when the party to be photographed appears at the door of a taxi they are at once assailed, snapshotted from above, below, from the front and behind in every direction. I have known cases times out of number in which people have had to be taken the back way into the Court and taken out by the back way so that they might avoid the publicity that is so certain in the short passage from the taxi to the Court. That is the one place that should be protected. If you do not protect it, you will render the whole provision useless.

Captain BENN:

We must keep in mind always the crime that is being aimed at. It is not any more serious than that of publishing a picture. It is not a case of doing anything which is very demoralising. We are aiming at people who photograph people concerned in cases at the Courts, because we think it affects the nerves of people in Court. That is the whole offence. I was satisfied with the word "precincts," but we now find that there is another definition and that the word "precincts" does not really cover what is meant, because it may include a part of the highway. When the hon. and learned Member moves to define "precincts" as not including part of the highway the Home Secretary says, in effect, that we cannot have that definition because we intend this to apply to the highway.

Photo of Mr William Joynson-Hicks Mr William Joynson-Hicks , Twickenham

The inclusion of these words would lead to confusion.

Captain BENN:

We have gone a little further than the original purpose, which was to prevent the taking of photographs which were alleged to have certain effects on witnesses. We have forbidden a man to make or attempt to make a sketch or a photograph in the stairway or in the corridor or in the yard of the Law Courts. Now we are to go further and say that

by the word "precincts" we do not exclude the highway. Why not say quite plainly, "We are not going to permit the Press to publish any pictures of anybody who is involved in one of these cases"? That is what it amounts to. The man may be near the Court. How near may he be? If these words are not to be accepted as being hostile to the purpose of the Bill, then the proposal really is to empower the police to punish a Press photographer or a Press artist for anything he may do in the way of illustrating any party to a suit, whether they are in the Court or not in the Court. That is going much too far, and I hope the hon. and learned Member will press his Amendment, in which case he will have the support of some hon. Members on these benches.

Question put. "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 44: Noes, 215.

Division No. 381.]AYES.[2.12 p.m.
Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)Rose, Frank H.
Baker, WalterGrotrian, H. BrentRunciman, Rt. Hon. Walter
Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)Groves, T.Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)
Barnes. A.Guest, Dr. L. Haden (Southwark, N.)Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles
Barr, J.Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. VernonStamford, T. W.
Batey, JosephJones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)Stephen, Campbell
Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)Kelly, W. T.Sutton, J. E.
Briant, FrankKenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.Watts-Morgan, Lt.-Col. D. (Rhondda)
Cape, ThomasLee, F.Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Cluse, W. S.Livingstone, A. M.Weir, L. M.
Collins. Sir Godfrey (Greenock)Lowth, T.Williams, C. P. Denbigh, Wrexham)
Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)Lunn, WilliamWilliams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)
Dunnico, H.MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R.(Aberavon)
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)Morris. R. H.TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Forrest, W.Owen, Major G.Major Crawfurd and Captain
Gillett, George M.Potts, John S.Garro-Jones.
NOES.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-ColonelBrocklebank, C. E. R.Dalton, Hugh
Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)Bromfield, WilliamDavies, Dr. Vernon
Albery, Irving JamesBromley, J.Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)
Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')Broun-Lindsay, Major H.Day, Colonel Harry
Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks, Newb'y)Dennison, R.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.Bullock, Captain M.Drewe, C.
Ammon, Charles GeorgeBurgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir AlanEdmondson, Major A. J.
Applin, Colonel R. V. K.Cadogan, Major Hon. EdwardEdwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)
Attlee, Clement RichardCampbell, E. T.Elliot, Captain Walter E.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. StanleyCassels, J. D.Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s.-M.)
Balfour, George (Hampstead)Cautley, Sir Henry S.Everard, W. Lindsay
Barclay-Harvey, C. M.Chadwick, Sir Robert BurtonFairfax, Captain J. G.
Barnston, Major Sir HarryChurchman, Sir Arthur C.Falle, Sir Bertram G.
Beamish, Captain T. P. H.Clayton, G. C.Foster, Sir Harry S.
Beckett, Sir GervaseCobb, Sir CyrilFoxcroft, Captain C. T.
Bennett, A. J.Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.Fraser, Captain Ian
Berry, Sir GeorgeCohen, Major J. BrunelGanzoni, Sir John
Betterton, Henry B.Conway, Sir W. MartinGibbs, Col. Rt. Hon. George Abraham
Blades, Sir George RowlandCope, Major WilliamGilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John
Bourne, Captain Robert CroftCove, W. G.Glyn, Major R. G. C.
Brass, Captain W.Crook, C. W.Grace, John
Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William CliveCrookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)
Briggs, J. HaroldCrookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)Gunston, Captain D. W.
Briscoe, Richard GeorgeCunliffe, Joseph HerbertHall, Capt. W. D'A. (Brecon & Rad.)
Broad, F. A.Dalkeith, Earl ofHannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Hardie, George D.Margesson, Captain D.Smith, R. W. (Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)
Harland, A.Meyer, Sir FrankSmith-Carington, Neville W.
Harrison, G. J. C.Milne, J. S. WardlawSmithers, Waldron
Hartington, Marquess ofMitchell, E. Rosslyn (Paisley)Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)
Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)
Henderson, Capt. R.R.(Oxf'd, Henley)Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)Sprot, Sir Alexander
Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Bootle)Monsell, Eyres, Com. Rt. Hon. B. M.Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F. (Will'sden, E.)
Hennessy, Major J. R. G.Montague, FrederickStanley, Lord (Fylde)
Hilton, CecilMoore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)
Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)Moore, Sir Newton J.Steel, Major Samuel Strang
Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.Stuart, Crichton-, Lord C.
Hopkins, J. W. W.Murchison, C. K.Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray Fraser
Howard, Capt. Hon. D. (Cumb., N.)Nelson, Sir FrankSykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.
Hume, Sir G. H.Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)Templeton, W. P.
Hume-Williams, Sir W. EllisNewton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)
Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.Nuttall, EllisThomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)Ormsby-Gore, Hon. WilliamThurtie, E.
Jacob, A. E.Palln, John HenryTinker, John Joseph
Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)Paling, W.Titchfield, Major the Marquess of
John, William (Rhondda, West)Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement
Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Pease, William EdwinVaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.
Joynson-Hicks, Rt. Hon. Sir William Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)Viant, S. P.
Kennedy, A. R. (Preston).Peto, Basil E. (Devon, Barnstaple)Wallace, Captain D. E.
Kennedy, T.Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.
Kenyon, BarnetPlicher, G.Warrender, Sir Victor
King, Captain Henry DouglasPliditch, Sir PhilipWaterhouse, Captain Charles
Lamb, J. Q.Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel AsshetonWatson, Sir F. (Pudsey and Otley)
Lansbury, GeorgeRawlinson, Rt. Hon. John Fredk. PeelWatson, Rt. Hen. W. (Carlisle)
Lindley, F. W.Rawson, Alfred CooperWells, S. R.
Lister, Cunliffe, Rt. Hon. Sir PhilipRemer, J. R.Westwood, J.
Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)Remnant, Sir JamesWilliams, David (Swansea, East)
Loder, J. do V.Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)
Looker, Herbert WilliamRice, Sir FrederickWilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
Lord, Walter GreavesRoberts, E. H. G. (Flint)Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)
Lougher, L.Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)Winby, Colonel L. P.
Lowe, Sir Francis WilliamRussell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)Windsor, Walter
Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard HarmanSalmon, Major I.Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Lynn, Sir Robert J.Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
MacAndrew, Charles GlenSandeman, A. StewartWise, Sir Fredric
McDonnell, Colonel Hon. AngusSavery, S. S.Wolmer, Viscount
Macintyre, IanScrymgeour, E.Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.).
Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)Scurr, JohnWorthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Macmillan, Captain H.Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.
McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald JohnShepperson, E. W.
Macquisten, F. A.Slaney, Major P. KenyonTELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-Smile, RobertCaptain Hacking and Captain
Manningham-Buller, Sir MervynSmith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe) Viscount Curzon.
March S.Smith. Rennie (Penistone)