HC Deb 11 April 1889 vol 335 cc227-8

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Her Majesty's Government has received from the jurors at Accra, before whom the Tavieve Chief, Bella Cobina, and Napad Seheb were tried and acquitted last August, on a charge of inciting, moving, and procuring certain persons unknown to murder Assistant Inspector Dalrymple, at Tavieve, in the previous May, a memorial, pointing out that, in the Gold Coast Government Gazette, the Governor is reported as having stated that these two prisoners, and a third, Akoto Mamlay, had been acquitted of the charges laid against them, of being connected with the murders of Mr. Dalrymple and the Chavis, and that this had taken place in spite of the evidence, in the opinion of the Queen's Advocate; whether, before sanctioning the Ordinance of the Legislative Council of the Gold Coast, under which the three persons named are now imprisoned at Elmina Castle, Her Majesty's Government had access to the Minutes of the trial of last August, in which two of the prisoners were concerned, and, as regards the third prisoner, Akoto Mamlay, whether the charges against her have ever been submitted to a Court of Law; and, whether the Government will lay before Parliament the Minutes of the trial of last August, the Governor's Report thereon, and any other correspondence that has taken place with reference to these affairs?


In answer to my hon. Friend I have to say that e copy of the memorial—which has been sent through the Governor—has been received direct from the Foreman of the Jury, but no action has been taken upon it pending its receipt from the Governor with his report, which may be shortly expected. In reply to the second question, when the Ordinance was sanctioned Her Majesty's Government were aware that the two first named prisoners had been acquitted of being accessories before the fact to the murder of Mr. Dalrymple, and that, in the face of that acquittal, the indictment against the three prisoners for the murder of the Chiavis was not proceeded with. As I stated in reply to the hon. Member for the St. Austell division on the 8th instant, "it was considered necessary for the public safety that these persons should not be allowed to return to Tavieve," and the Ordinance providing for their detention as political prisoners was therefore passed and sanctioned. Under the circumstances there would be no advantage in presenting the papers to Parliament, and their publication in the Colony is undesirable. I shall, however, be glad to give information on any particular point to my hon. Friend if he desires it.