HC Deb 07 April 1887 vol 313 cc696-7
MR. HANBURY (Preston)

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty, Whether it is the fact that Lieutenant Hall has been sentenced to dismissal from the Service in consequence of his misconstruction of a Regulation which Mr. Justice A. L. Smith has declared to be So framed as to leave considerable doubt as to its meaning, adding— It seems to us that even a lawyer of some learning and experience might be excused if he failed to interpret it correctly; and, whether the Admiralty will undertake to revise the Code of Regulations, so as to make them less open to misconstruction on the part of officers and others interested?

DR. FARQUHARSON (Aberdeenshire, W.)

asked, whether the noble Lord would undertake to revise the sentence on this officer, which had really been passed for inability to read an incomprehensible Regulation?

COMMANDER BETHELL (York, E. R., Holderness)

asked, whether, as the case had been undertaken rather with the desire to vindicate the position taken up by the Admiralty than to punish an individual, the noble Lord could, without detriment to the Public Service, remove the stigma of dismissal from Lieutenant Hall?


Lieutenant Hall has been dismissed from the Service because he was found guilty by a court martial of the grave offence of desertion, having left his ship when employed on foreign service. The plea attempted to be set up in his defence was that he was entitled to act under a certain Regulation of the Service. Such an interpretation would enable every or any commissioned officer to leave the Navy whenever he chose, regardless of the wants and exigencies of the Service, and carries with it its own refutation. I can hold out no hope of remitting or altering the sentence. As the wording of the Regulation in question is not as clear as it should be it will be cancelled.