HC Deb 21 June 1888 vol 327 cc810-1
MR. A. M'ARTHUR (Leicester)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether three Natives named W. T. G. Caulker, T. C. Caulker, and Lahai, were tried in the Colony of Sierra Leone for murder, convicted, recommended to mercy by the jury, and, notwithstanding that recommendation and much local feeling in their favour, hanged at Shaingay on the 6th instant; whether the murder charged was the levying of war by one Native Chief against another; whether the Government has received information of the trial, and sanctioned the disregard of the recommendation of the jury; whether the levying of war in question took place in British territory proper or in the Protectorate, and what was the jurisdiction to try by English law for murder in a case of intertribal warfare; and, whether the above-named W. T. G. Caulker was the same man who, some years since, was released by order of the Home Government from an illegal imprisonment by the Colonial Authority, an imprisonment which had lasted four years?


Three Natives, so named, have been tried for murder at Sierra Leone and convicted, and were executed at Shaingay on the 6th instant. The Secretary of State has no official information that they were recommended to mercy, or as to local feeling in the case. The murder appears to have been committed in an attack on Shaingay in the course of an insurrection against a Native Chief, the circumstances of which are set forth in the despatches presented to Parliament in September last, C.5236. Her Majesty's Government received information that the trial was taking place, and has been informed by telegraph of the conviction and execution of these men, but has not yet received a Report of the trial. The Governor has been called upon for a full Report. The murder appears to have taken place in British territory, and the Colonial Court had jurisdiction to try for all crimes committed in the Colony. W. T. G. Caulker was in 1878 taken by the Governor of Sierra Leone out of the hands of a Native Chief, a relative, who was about to put him to death, and was detained at Freetown—partly for his own protection and partly to prevent an outbreak of war—until 1881, when he was allowed to return to his own district in accordance with the terms of a reconciliation between him and his family effected by the Governor. As was stated by the then Under Secretary of State on August 23, 1881, he was detained as a State prisoner without any clear warrant of law. His release was not directly ordered by the Home Government, but was preceded by an inquiry by the Secretary of State.