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Judicial CP - July 1964
Daily Telegraph, London, 1 July 1964
Letters to the Editor
Penalties for Young Offenders
Malicious Damage Bill
From Mr. J.P. Eddy, Q.C.
Sir -- The Home Secretary, Mr. Henry Brooke, in moving the second reading of the Malicious Damage Bill, told the House of Commons that he was not going to reintroduce corporal punishment. To do so, he said, in the face of its unanimous rejection by his very strong Advisory Council on the Treatment of Offenders would be a strange line to take.
It would indeed be a strange line to take if the report of the Advisory Council on corporal punishment were a recent report. But in fact it was presented to Parliament in November, 1960 (Cmnd. 1213) -- long before the "Mods" and "Rockers" had become a public menace.
The Advisory Council have put on record the fact that they received 3,500 letters, and that of these 77 per cent. were in favour of the reintroduction of judicial corporal punishment, while only 17 per cent. were against (the remaining six percent. giving no definite indication of the writers' views one way or the other).
It was also stated by the Advisory Council that they had made inquiries about the law and practice regarding corporal punishment in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. "We find," they said, "that, although it is still available in these countries for limited ranges of offences and of offenders it has not been used for adults for many years and is rarely used for juveniles."
From this it would appear that the Advisory Council were not aware that the Manx Parliament, the Tynwald, made provision in its Summary Jurisdiction Act of 1960 for whipping in the case of offences involving assaults occasioning actual bodily harm by male persons between 17 and 21 years of age. This was done because of acts of violence by gangs of youths visiting the island in the holiday season, and my book "Justice of the Peace" contains a statement by an Isle of Man magistrate that "It would appear to have been effective in preventing this type of offence."
It may well be thought that the Home Secretary is right to see whether the higher penalties provided for by the Malicious Damage Bill will deter the "Mods" and "Rockers". At the same time it is difficult to see what advantage there is in excluding corporal punishment from our armoury of remedies, even though it may rarely if ever be used.
Its mere existence would be a deterrent, as it has proved to be in the Isle of Man, and apparently also in Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.
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