Abolition of Imprisonment for Debt Bill.
The Imprisonment fox* Debt Abolition Bill, introduced by Mr Hutchison, M.H.R. for Wellington, was under discussion on Tuesday by the House of Representatives. The following are its provisions ; 1. The short title of this Act is “ The Abolition for Imprisonment for Debt Act, 1879.” 2. This Act shall come into operation on the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eighty, from which date the Imprisonment for Debt Abolition Act, 1874, and the Imprisonment for Debt Abolition Act Amendment Act, 1875, shall be repealed. 3. Henceforth no person shall he Imprisoned for debt. . 4. The following shall be deemed indictable offences punishable by fine or by imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for any term not exceeding 12 months: (1.) Any person who, with intent to defraud, shall by any device or promise induce credit to be given. (2.) Any person who, by any false representation or by any concealment of property which might be taken in execution, shall have prevented or delayed the execution of any distress warrant or writ of fieri facias issued by any Court of competent jurisdiction upon a judgment available against such person. (3.) Any person who shall have made default in payment of any sum or sums of money made in a fiduciary or professional capacity, and which shall have been ordered to be paid by a Court of competent jurisdiction.
The Bill has apparently one great fault, namely, it has omitted to provide for the punishment of persons who, having the means to pay their debts, refuse to do so. It not unfrequently occurs that persons wilfully remain in e’ebt when they are possessed of sufficient means to clear off what they owe, and it is for the benefit and protection of the creditors of such that the judgment summons is issued, and by no other means can debtors of this character be touched. It is absolutely necessary that some protection of this kind must be given to tradesmen if credit is to be given at all.
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