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2-098 (Text)

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author,male,Stephen, Alfred,32 addressee
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Government English
Petitions & Proclamations
Bennett, 1979
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2-098-plain.txt — 6 KB

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1. It being an object of great importance, that certain fixed periods should be appointed, for the more convenient despatch of public business, that these periods should be so arranged as to interfere as little as possible with the interests of the various classes of individuals affected by them, I have taken some pains to prepare a plan which should accomplish the purpose; and I now do myself the honor of submitting it to Your Honors, very respectfully in the hope that it may meet with your support and adoption.
2. I propose that there shall be a Gaol Delivery at Hobarton, on the 1st Tuesday in March, in every year: and four other like Gaol Deliveries; to take place on the 1st Tuesday next after the end of each term.
3. There will be thus 5 Gaol Deliveries at Hobarton each year. And I should propose that this arrangement, once made, should not even occasionally be violated. For nothing would tend more effectually to produce confusion. But, circumstances of a very strong and pressing nature might of course occur, to render the holding of a Court of Gaol Delivery at some intervening period very desirable. In such cases, the rule might then be departed from. I am, however after much reflection, quite satisfied, that 5 Gaol Deliveries, holden at the periods recommended, will be quite sufficient for all purposes of public justice. Nor, whilst we look anxiously to this great object, let us forget, that there are other considerations not entirely to be lost sight of.  A season for rest and relaxation, to those engaged in their arduous judicial and professional duties for 10 months out of 12, is an object, in my opinion of some moment not only to them, but to the community. In the same season, the harvest may be reaped, and our wool be consigned to the merchant, free from the vexations of the lawyer's writ, or the intrusions of the constable's subpoena. But, if the court is to continue month after month, trying prisoners, and as a necessary consequence discharging all, for whom the Attorney-General is not prepared with his indictment. I can assure Your Honors that much of the other official duty of the individual holding that office must be wholly neglected, or very ill and unsatisfactorily disposed of.
4. I further propose, that there shall be two Gaol Deliveries at Launceston in each year: to be holden in March and October on the 3rd Monday in each of those months respectively.
5. There will be, by this arrangement, ample time allowed for disposal of the criminal cases at Hobarton, before departure for Launceston, and also before the commencement of the next ensuing term - where it is obviously requisite that both judges should be present in Hobarton.
6. It is not within my province to suggest any plan for disposal of the civil business; but I may probably be pardoned for remarking that, should Your Honors so think fit, civil sittings might be appointed, on each of these proposed Launceston Circuits for the Friday succeeding the Monday. For, by adhering to the plan of such two half yearly circuits, four days for the criminal, and two for the civil cases, will be found to be amply sufficient. And even should another day or two be required for either class, there will still remain a week yet open for them.
7. It would be highly desirable that Courts of Quarter Sessions at Hobarton and Launceston respectively should take place for the trial of convicts by summary jurisdiction, on the same days as are thus proposed for the Court of Gaol Delivery: - or, at Launceston, where I believe there is only one court room, on the Saturday previous. All the magistrates, and constables, would thus be able to act more systematically, in prosecuting the cases; by being brought together for the same purpose, at one and the same given period. On this subject I have conferred fully with Mr. Howe, the Chairman for this side of the island, and with the Clerk of the Peace Mr. Ross; to both of whom I am indebted for assistance, in discussing and arranging the plan now submitted to Your Honors. And I am authorised to state, that in such an arrangement Mr. Howe cordially concurs. By the existing law, you are aware, there are already appointed four other sittings of these courts; namely in January, April, July, and October. There will thus be frequent trials of all minor cases - and yet no confusion is likely to ensue, from so many sittings here; because the summary forms allowed require neither jury, nor indictment, nor counsel.
8. It is not my intention to propose to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, that there should be any other than summary cases disposed of in the Court of Quarter Sessions. But, in as much as there will be another long period, i.e. between the March and October circuits, where it might be convenient to dispose of all minor felonies at Launceston. I may probably take the liberty of suggesting hereafter the summoning of a jury there, for the trial of such cases, at the Quarter Sessions in July. But no such arrangement would of course, interfere with the general plan now submitted; but it would on the contrary be in aid of it. 
9. I should add, that my friend The Solicitor General has also taken a share in the deliberations on this important subject; and that, in the main it meets his approbation. He thinks, however, that to every Hobarton Gaol Delivery sitting there should be appended one adjournment day; wherever practicable - upon which only, he would propose to try prisoners - the first day being set apart for arraignments only. I fear that this will be found practicable only on one of the 5 Gaol Delivery days; but, whenever, it is so, I should agree with the Solicitor General.
10. I propose, however, that, at all and each of the Gaol Deliveries for Hobarton, and if practicable Launceston, - Your Honors will be pleased to permit one adjournment day, in case the Attorney or Solicitor-General should apply for such adjournment; to enable him to conclude any cases, which from unforeseen circumstances may require such further lime for trial. I see otherwise great reason to apprehend, that there will occasionally, - quite unavoidably, - be cases in which grievous offenders may be discharged untried and escape the just punishment due to their crimes.