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-. THE BARRIER BETWEEN;

DENSE FOG AND SHIPPING

IA TALE OF THE SEA.

ASSIZE ARRANGEMENTS.

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ASSIZE ARRANGEMENTS. There has always been trouble about the trial of quarter sessions cases at the assizes. And it certainly does seem absurd (remarks the Globe) to bring the whole machinery of the Queen's Commission of Gaol Delivery, including, it may be, the Lord Chief Justice himself, to try, perhaps, some little girl who pleads guilty to stealing a brass thimble. That is an extreme, but possible case; and if she chose to plead not guilty, the grievance might amount to very serious waste of that public time which it is usual to regard, in theory, as of such immense im- portance. The proposed method of economising this precious commodity, and of keeping the judges of assize to such cases as they alone are competent to try, is to hold an extra Sessions before the assizes, so as to clear the prisons of minor cases. To this the Warwickshire Court of Quarter Sessions, and the grand jury attend- ing the same, object that trouble and waste of time would be simply transferred from the judges and assize functionaries to jurymen and others summoned for this extra duty. It is also pointed out-very properly-that the extra Sessions, occurring while the Assizes were in progress elsewhere on the same circuit, might deprive prisoners of the benefit of retain- ing the leading Sessions counsel, who might be engaged elsewhere. It is suggested, therefore, that the Commission of the Judges should be so worded as to exclude Sessions cases which should be post- poned to the next regular sessions. This is all very well; but how about that bulwark of our liberties, the habeas corpus? How about the right of a prisoner to be tried at the very next sessions or assize ? If the suggestion of the Warwickshire magistrates and grand jurors be adopted, there will unquestionably be this difficulty to be got over, or we may have our imaginary little girl, like some law- breakers on other occasions, taking her stand upon the Rights of the People and Constitutional Law. Has the Crown power to qualify a Commission of Gaol Delivery? And, if so, to what extent ? The question raised between the Home Secretary and the magis- strates of Warwickshire looks altogether uncomfortably large and perhaps the best solution would be to leave things as they are.

I ,MR. JUSTIN MCCARTHY ON

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