Juvenile Offender (Sentence, Salisbury).

Oral Answers to Questions — Government Departments. – in the House of Commons at on 14 June 1932.

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Photo of Major James Despencer Robertson Major James Despencer Robertson , Salisbury

(by Private Notice) asked the Home Secretary with reference to the case of Frederick Hayter, aged 17, who was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for abduction at Salisbury Assizes on 28th May, whether in view of the facts which were brought to his notice on 30th May, he has yet arrived at any decision as to the reduction of this sentence?

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

My right hon. Friend has given careful consideration to this case. Hayter was convicted not only of abduction but of two charges of unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl of 15 years, and it was clear from the evidence that he was fully aware of the girl's age. In passing sentence, the learned judge said that it was quite impossible to pass the offence over without punishment, and that it was not a. suitable case for a Borstal Institution. Hayter is now in the special Young Prisoners Centre at Bristol Prison. It was open to Hayter to apply free of cost to the Court of Criminal Appeal for leave to appeal against his sentence, but although his rights in this respect were fully explained to him he did not avail himself of them. No new facts have been brought to the notice of my right hon. Friend, and he regrets that he can find no grounds which would justify him in recommending any interference with the sentence passed by the Court.

Photo of Major James Despencer Robertson Major James Despencer Robertson , Salisbury

Is it not within the province of the Home Secretary to exercise the prerogative of mercy, and, in the case of a boy of 17 who hitherto has borne an unblemished character, could he not see his way, if not to wipe out the sentence, at any rate to reduce it.

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Westmorland

It is, of course, part of the duty of the Home Secretary in suitable cases, but, as my answer shows, my right hon. Friend does not consider this a suitable case in which to exercise that function.