HC Deb 25 April 1876 vol 228 c1626

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether it is a fact that Juan Fernandez y Beltran who, in July 1871, in open day killed James Frederick Roberts, a British subject, at San Juan del Puerto near Huelva in Spain, having since been suffered to remain at large, surrendered some weeks ago to take his trial and was acquitted; whether there is not ground for believing that the successive inquiries and trials which have taken place in connection with this case have resulted in a gross miscarriage of justice; whether Her Majesty's Government have taken any and what steps to secure a fair trial of the appeal which the widow of Mr. Roberts is reported to have lodged against the recent decision; and, whether he will lay upon the Table of the House any Papers or Correspondence relating to the case of Mr. Roberts?


It is true that the man mentioned in the Question of the right hon. Member surrendered last October at Huelva. He was tried in February, and acquitted, but the case was referred to Seville upon appeal. As to the second part of the Question, I am sorry to say that there is a very strong ground for this belief. As to the third part of the Question, Her Majesty's Ministers at Madrid and Her Majesty's Consul at Cadiz have taken, and are taking, every step in their power to obtain a proper trial of the appeal; and these efforts have been approved by Her Majesty's Government. The expense of the appeal will be borne by the Treasury. As to the production of Correspondence, if the right hon. Gentleman will communicate privately with me, I dare say we can arrange something which will be satisfactory to him.