Trespass

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd March 1972.

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Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough 12:00 am, 23rd March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will express as a percentage of the maximum penalty the average fine imposed by the courts in implementing Section 20(2) of the Firearms Act, 1968, relating to trespassing with a firearm on land.

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

Between 1st August, 1968, and the end of 1970 the average fine imposed on summary conviction in England and Wales for this offence was 6·6 per cent. of the maximum.

Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough

Is not this sort of watery inaction by the courts making the task of the police much more difficult and acting as no deterrent whatever? What will he do about it?

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

Adequate penalties are available to the courts, and they are being increased by the Criminal Justice Bill now before Parliament. It is not for me to criticise the actions of the courts.

Photo of Mr John Fraser Mr John Fraser , Lambeth Norwood

As the maximum penalty is only £100, if there is evidence that the courts are not taking into account very strong feelings expressed by both Parliament and country, will the hon. Gentleman consider holding sentencing conferences so that the matter can be discussed and the feelings of Parliament and the country can be made known to the courts?

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam

I am sure that the courts will take note of the views expressed on this matter in the House.