HC Deb 20 November 1888 vol 330 cc1660-1
MR. J. E. ELLIS(for Mr. A. M'ARTHUR) (Leicester)

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it is true that Undabuko, Somkeli, and other Zulu Chiefs are now upon their trial for high treason; whether they are being tried by jury; and, if not, why trial by jury was denied them; whether they have had time to secure counsel; and whether he will take steps to ensure that the course of the trial shall not be so hurried as to prevent a fair time being allowed to the prisoners to prepare their defence.


Her Majesty's Government have no reason to suppose that these Chiefs are being tried for high treason. Sir Arthur Havelock, on the 29th of August, wrote that warrants had been issued against Undabuko on a charge of assembling armed forces with the intention of disturbing the peace and of resisting the police; also on a charge of public violence. Tshingana is charged on warrant with public violence and cattle stealing; and Somkeli with public violence. The laws of Zululand do not provide for trial by jury, as there is no body of men in that country from whom juries could be formed. The trials will take place before a special tribunal, consisting of Mr. Wragg, Senior Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court, and Messrs. Rudolph and Fannin, Resident Magistrates of Natal. The Chief Magistrate and the Resident Magistrates of Zululand will, no doubt, be called as witnesses; therefore, they could not properly adjudicate upon the cases of these Chiefs. It is understood that a preliminary investigation of the charges was held by a separate magistrate; the prisoners are defended by counsel, and the matter is now before a Court which may be trusted to deal fairly with the accused.