Hide Articles List

10 articles on this Page

ABERGAVENNY.

.PONTYPOOL.

THE VARTEG.

RE-DIVISION OF THE WELSH CIRCUITS.

News
Cite
Share

RE-DIVISION OF THE WELSH CIRCUITS. The following letter signed A Barrister, appears in the Times, and bears reference to the observations of Lord Powis, which where printed in the MERLIN a short time since Sir,—I have but just seen Lord Powis's letter on the proposed changes in the Welsh circuits, transferred to your columns on the 16th ult. from a Shrewsbury piper. His Lordship's object is to arouse the amour propre, or, as he will term it, the patriotism, of the Welsh gentry to a resistance equally successful with that which, it seems, they opposed to a similar contemplated reform in 1828. Why," he asks indignantly, "are Montgomery, Merio- neth, Flint, Anglesea, and Radnor to receive less consid. eration than Rutland ?" Why are Welsh prosecutors, attorneys, and witnesses to be carried from home over such an extent of country" as they will have to traverse if the assizes for Carnarvonshire and Anglesea and for Denbighshire and Flintshire be amalgamated ? Why is Wales to lose her existing rights ?" Now, surely the fact that Rutland continues, very un- necessarily, to have a separate assize can form no logical basis for an argument that these Welsh counties should each of them continue to have one also. The proper mode of reasoning would seem to be to look at the facts of each case, as disclosed in the statements made to the commissioners, and to see whether a great economy of time and expense will not be effected by the proposed changes, without any appreciable inconvenience to any- body whose convenience ought to be considered. To talk of" existing rights" in such a case seems, with deference to my Lord Powis, little better than nonsense in the garb of patriotism. First, as to the case of Carnarvonshire and Anglesea. It appears from the return furnished to the commissioners by the Clerk of Assize of the North Wales Circuit that in 11 years (from 1845 to 1856 inclusive) the total number of prisoners tried at the assizes of the former county was 185, or less than 17 per annum of the latter county 159, or about 14^ per annum while the total number of causes tried in the same period was, in Carnarvonshire, 68, or about 6 per annum in Anglesea, 16 or 1| per annum! for which business six days (for the two counties) have been taken at each assize, while the time actually occupied by the business has not averaged three days, the rest being filled up with travelling, opening commis- sion, and other formalities, and seeing the country. It is proposed, therefore, that these two counties should ba consolidated, and tbat the assizes for both should be held at Bangor, instead of at Carnarvon and Beaumaris. Bangor is distant from Carnarvon 10 miles by railway from Beaumaris seven miles by road, and ferry. Such is the extent of country over which Welsh prosecutors, attorneys, and witnesses would in this case be carried. T, „ Next as to Denbighshire and Fhntsinre. The assizes are now held at Ruthin for Denbighshire, at Mold for Flintshire, these towns being 10 miles apart, and there being a railway from Mold to Chester (12 miles). In the same 11 years 226 prisoners, or 20f per annum, were tried at the Denbighshire assizes 169, or upwards of 15 per annum, at the Flintshire assizes. At the former, in the same period, 70 causes, or six and a fraction per annum at the latter, 61 causes, or less than five per annum, have been disposed of, a week being taken for the business of the two places at each assizes, but less than four days on an average occupied by it. The com- missioners, under these circumstances, propose that the assizes for the two counties shall be held alternately at Ruthin and at Mold. I wish they had gone further, and proposed that they should be held altogether at Ruthin, which occupies the very centre of the two counties, at which there is a good court, and to which there will shortly, no doubt, be a line of railway through Denbigh. Mr. Strong, the clerk of assize, says I have known a judge be on circuit a fortnight without having been 12 hours in oourt, and half that time expended in calling over names of magistrates and waiting for the grand jurY to find bills." He adds, "I have been on the thr largest circuits in England, as marshal and barrister* I fully believe that if in England there were the sOl number of circuit towns in proportion to the business 0 there are in Wales the circuits would last all the year round." The case is substantially the same in the counties ot South Wales, of which the commissioners recommend.' consolidation. Is this a state of things which it is reasonable tO continue ? If the remedying of it shall, indeed, produO* that, "outcry on the part of the Welsh gentry" of present day which Lord Powis ia desirous of provokioft I shall have a much lower opinion of their capacity discretion than my intercourse with them has led hitherto to entertain.

TOWN HALL, NEWPORT.—SATURDAY.

CAERLEON.

BLAINA.

I INDIAN RELIEF FUND.

MONMOUTH.

CARDIFF BURIAL BOARD.