HC Deb 18 July 1879 vol 248 cc755-6

I beg to ask the Judge Advocate General, with reference to the trial of Colour Sergeant Dickaty, of the 60th Rifles, under the 52nd Article of War, for shamefully abandoning his post, Whether the sentence of reduction to the ranks and five years' penal servitude which was passed upon him has been merely remitted, or whether the proceedings of the court martial have been quashed or set aside; whether the offence under which the prisoner was arraigned, and the sentence passed upon him, will be recorded against him in the regimental defaulter's book; whether it is to be understood that the prisoner is considered to be morally as well as legally innocent of the charge preferred against him; and, whether it is not really the fact that Colour Sergeant Dickaty behaved well under difficult circumstances?


Sir, with reference to the first two parts of the Question, I have already explained to the hon. Member the action I have taken in this matter. The consequence is that the proceedings of the court martial are altogether set aside, and no record of the conviction will remain in the regimental defaulters' book, and thus the prisoner is in the same position as if he had never been tried. With reference to the last two parts, I yesterday informed the hon. Member that the evidence adduced at the trial did not appear to me to warrant the conviction; and I think that, according to official and Parliamentary usages, I cannot be called upon to give him any further opinion. The proceedings of the court martial are now in my custody, and are open to the inspection of the hon. Member, or of any other hon. Member of the House.