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3 How. J. 1 (1930-1933)

handle is hein.journals/hjcj3 and id is 1 raw text is: 



         The Official Organ of the Howard League for Penal Reform

                             Page                                 Page
The Poor Prisoners' Defence Bill I   Corporal Punishment            6
          Hisorins t te Hme ,Tie   z The Death Penalty: Guilt and
Historians at the Home Ofice .8. 2
The Magistrates' Clerk and the       The Break-up of the Prison System  8
  Police                       4     Murder and the Death Penalty in
The Children Bill.. ..    ..   5       Chicago ..   ..   ..    ..  10

     THE   POOR   PRISONERS' DEFENCE BILL. As we write, the
Poor  Prisoners' Defence Bill has passed both Houses of Parliament with
the blessing of the Government and the co-operation of all three parties,
and has received the Royal Assent. It has had a good press and everyone
rejoices that such a  valuable measure has  reached the  statute book
in good  condition.  This Journal is the official organ of the Howard
League  for Penal Reform, and we crave the indulgence, always granted to
fond parents, while we remind our readers that the Howard League is the
 onlie begetter  of the Poor Prisoners' Defence Bill, and give some account
of the child's birth and upbringing.
     The way  was prepared by the publication in 1926  of the League
pamphlet,  Counsel for the Defence, which described the law and practice
of England  and  other countries in regard to Legal Aid  for the Poor
and  showed  the points  at which the Poor Prisoners' Defence Act  of
1903 failed to give adequate protection to the poor man charged with a
serious offence.
     In the same year, the Finlay Committee published Part I. of its Report
on Legal Aid  and the subject enjoyed a few days of newspaper publicity
before the Report was decently hidden away in its pigeon hole at the Home
Office. At this point, the Howard League, seeing no prospect of a Govern-
ment  measure, prepared its own Bill with the help of a number of magis-
trates and other experts, who must be nameless and find their only reward
in seeing the fruit of their labour.
    The  original draft provided for legal aid to be granted at the discretion
of the Court to any poor  person, charged with any offence, before any
Court, when in the opinion of the judge or magistrate such aid was desirable
in the interests of justice. In the case of a murder charge it required magis-
trates to certify, regardless of circumstances, if the prisoner were unable to
pay for his own defence.  Thus  it abolished the condition laid down in
the Act of 1903 that legal aid could only be given when the prisoner had
pleaded  Not Guilty  and disclosed a reasonable line of defence, and it

Voi. IIl-No. i.

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