22 JULY 1882, Page 3

A decision given a fortnight ago by Mr. Paget at

the Hammer- smith Police-court, deserves the attention of those charitable societies which provide the boys or girls whom they befriend with clothes. It has hitherto been held that these clothes belong to the charities, and that if the boys or girls who wear them abscond without restoring them to the home or other institution which has bestowed them, there is a clear case for a conviction for the stealing of the clothes,—a con- viction which will enable the prosecutor to get the absconder *committed to a reformatory, and so brought again under better influences. Mr. Paget, however, seems to have decided at the Hammersmith Police-court that this is not so ; that if the clothes are necessary to decency, and the absconder has no other clothes, there is no case for a prosecution on the ground of their being taken without leave. As this is a matter of much importance to the working of such estab- lishments, we would suggest that if Mr. Paget's decision is good in law, such charities should be careful to preserve the clothes in which their various inmates appear,—they might be cleansed, baked if necessary, without being destroyed,—and let it be known that they require these old clothes to be resumed by those boys or girls who decide on leaving the home, In that ease, any who took the clothes away with them would, we

imagine, be held to be guilty of stealing them, and could be committed to a reformatory for the offence.