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Magistrates' Courts (Indictable Offences)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th April 1957.

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Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton 12:00 am, 15th April 1957

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce legislation to limit or prohibit the reporting of cases of indictable offences sent by magistrates for trial in higher courts.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I will, with permission, answer Question 61.

The question whether any restraint should be placed on the publication of reports of proceedings before examining justices raises difficult issues of principle, and I have decided to appoint a Departmental Committee to consider it with the following terms of reference: To consider and report whether it is necessary or desirable that any restrictions should be placed on the publication of reports of proceedings before examining justices. I am glad to be able to inform the House that Lord Tucker has been good enough to accept the chairmanship of the Committee. I shall announce the names of the remaining members as soon as possible, and I shall ask the Committee to complete its work with the minimum of delay.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

May I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the commendable speed with which he has dealt with this important matter, which could not possibly be left to a Private Member's Bill? May I ask whether, as soon as the Committee reports, he will take such action as may be desirable in the light of the Committee's recommendations?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

As soon as I know what the recommendations are, I shall decide what to do.