April 23, 1923 (14th Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Babington Macaulay Baxter

Conservative (1867-1942)


Why, may I ask, is that provision here? I do not want to throw any safeguards around people engaged in this illegal traffic. On the other hand, I do not want to throw any unnecessary protection around ignorant and prejudiced justices of the peace who sometimes try cases in the courts. No matter what offence a man is charged with, I can scarcely see why an appeal should be allowed to one class* of offence and refused to the same man if charged with something different. If he has been wrongly convicted he ought to have some way under the law of getting rid of that erroneous conviction, and if rightly convicted I would not mind if you put a heavier penalty on him through the agency of the court of appeal, whatever it may be. But I do stand for giving a man the right to be heard in a British court of justice against what ^appears to be error or sometimes intentional wrong-doing, and these small tribunals are not always fit to be trusted with a man's property or a man's liberty. In what I am advocating I do not wish to throw the slightest protection around the drug fiends who are debauching communities, but what I want is to have a little safety for the man convicted in the teeth of the law
by ignorant people, by people who seek a victim and believe they have one. Now let us be fair.

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