Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

11 articles on this Page

I Klvixr.T.






-----------__------__ MONTGOMERYSHIRE…


MONTGOMERYSHIRE SUMMER A S SI Z E S. THE JUDGE ON LIGHT SENTENCES. The Summer Assizes for the county of Mont- gomery were held at Newtown on Saturday, before Mr Justice Rowland Vaughan Williams." Before opening the Court his Lordship, accompanied by the High Sheriff, Mr J. Marshall Dugdale, attended divine service at the Parish Church, where a sermon was preached by the sheriff's chaplain, the Vicar of Lianfylliii. The Grand Jury was constituted as follows Mr A. C. Humphrevs-Owen, M.P. (foreman), Major E. Pryce-Jones, M.P., Capt. D. H. Mvtton. Cant. Martin Humphreys, Messrs Samuel Powell, R. E. I Jones (Cefn Bryntalch), C. R. Jones, J. R. Prvce, Richard Lloyd, C. Whitley Owen, T. J. Honnafieldj T. Parry Jones, Hugh Lewis, T. Watkin, Maurice Lloyd, John Smout, and T. Pryce (Pentreheylin). THE CHARGE TO THE GRAND JURY. His Lordship, in his charge to the Grand Jury at the outset, observed that there were only three prisoners for trial, and they were only charged with comparatively trivial offences; therefore, they waulcl experience no difficulty in coming to a decision upon any one of the cases. Proceeding, his lordship remarked that, generally speaking, when a judge bad addressed a grand jury with regard to the duties they had to perform, it was best that he should consider his work finished, and not make his charge the I opportunity to deliver his opinion upon matters which concerned him no more than the rest cf Her Majesty's subjects. lIe proposed, however, so far I to depart from his view in that respect as to say one or two words about the criminal statistics recently published. It seems from these statistics that in one or two classes of offences there was unfortunately an increase of crime. They had during the last decade in almost all crimes a con- tinuous and graduated decrease, but now there was a slight increase in reference to some crimes. That increase had been accompanied by a gradual decrease in the length of the Sentences, and he observed that the public press had taken that opportunity of saying that the increase of crime in some particular classes went to show that the decrease in the rate of the sentences was not the good thing some people supposed it to be. For his own part, he believed in short sen- tences, and as far be consistently could, with that uniformity of practice among his brethren which it was his duty to adopt, he gave effect to his belief. He could find nothing in the present statistics to show that short, sentences were an injudicious system to adopt. Those statistics showed that the classes of offences in which there had been an increase were particularly those which were com- mitted by habitual criminals-he meant those persons who made the pursuit of crime the business of their lives. But the fact that there had been an increase in those classes of crime did not. show that shorj sentences generally were a bad thing. What it did show was that there was a certain class of the community, habitual criminals, who could not be dealt with by short 8eutt!IJCes. That had, he thought, been pointed out in the press, and was not an original remark'as far as he was concerned. But what he wished to do was to avoid the conclusion t'\8 writers had arrived at who had pointed out that short sentences were not suitable for habitual criminals. The press seemed to think that; as the neces- sary consequence of that, the way in which to deal with habitual criminals was by long sentences. Peisonally, he wished to protest that long sentences were a barbarous and clumsy mode of dealing with even habitual criminals. He agreed that the statistics showed that they could not deal with even habitual criminals simply by sentencing them to shorr. terms, for the criminals would only come out to again pursue their practice cf crime. He hoped that the time would come when people would arrive at the conclusion that in dealing with habitual criminals they must Hot be content to deal with them only with long sentences, but they must make greater efforts than had hitherto been made to make the period of imprison- ment for the habitual criminal a period of reforma- tion and improvement also. Take the case of a man who was sentenced to seven or ten years' penal servitude. He came out at the end of his term like an invalid who had been lying in bed and had not used his limbs for years. They could not expect him to come out a person able to avail him- self of his freedom and earn an honest liveihood. when people were sent prison for long periods like that, care should be taken that the latter portion of their imprisonment was graduated so that before they left the walls they might have recovered their full freedom of action and self-respect. They then J had a chance to Con)r-J out reformed men, and not again relapse into crime. He had troubled them at some length, but taking the part he did in the administration of the criminal law, he could not help taking an active intciest in the punishment of the unfortunate people who came before him. TRIAL 0>" PRISONERS. True bills were returned against each of the three prison;■» charged in the calendar. Owen Jones (25), labourer, was placed in the dock charged with feloniously stealing from the dwelling house of John Edwards the sum of 14s, the moneys of Edward Oliver, and also with feloniously breaking into the said dwelling house, on the 20th ult. in the parish of Berriew.—Prisoner pleaded guilty, and his lordship sentenced him to three months' hard labour. Richard Evans (61), commission agent, pleaded guilty to stealing on the 4th April at Llanfyllin the sum of 116 from the person of John Humpbreys.-His Lordship, having enquired from the warder as to the state of the prisoner's health, sentenced him to six months' hard labour. David Evans (32), labourer, surrendered to his bail on a charge of obtaining by false pretences the sum of £1 2s 6d, with intent to defraud, from William Bailey, at Llanfyllin on February 27th.— This prisoner also pleaded guilty, and he was sen- tenced to a month's imprisonment with hard labour. This concluded the calendar, and the Court rose.