HC Deb 17 June 1889 vol 337 cc8-10
MR. THOMAS ELLIS (Merionethshire)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now aware that on the 28th of April Zibebu was at large and participating in the official rejoicings over the penalties awarded to Dinuzulu and other Usutus by the Special Court at Etshowe; and whether he can inform the House as to the steps taken by the Authorities in Zululand to comply with his promise that if the prisoners are committed for trial they will in due course be brought before the proper tribunal?


No information has been received by the Secretary of State in any way bearing out the suggestion that "rejoicings," official or non-official, took place on the occasion in question, or that Usibebu was at large. If Usibebu is committed for trial he will be proceeded against before the Chief Magistrates' Court, as constituted under No. 15 of the Zululand Regulations, which the hon.. Member will find at p. 5 of Blue Book, c. 5331, at a date to be fixed by the Chief Magistrate. The trial will proceed upon an information filed on behalf of the Government, and the case for the prosecution will be presented by some officer of the Government.

MR. W. REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)

The Under Secretary will remember that some time age I asked a question in reference to the sentences upon Dinuzulu and the other chiefs, and the reply which I received was that they were about to be considered with a view to having them cut down. May I ask if any steps have been taken in that direction?


No, Sir; the inquiries into the evidence are not yet finished.


I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, whether Her Majesty's Government has now received the official Report of the proceedings of the Special Judicial Commission in Zululand which, on 27th April last, sentenced Dinuzulu and others to long terms of imprisonment on the charge of high treason; if so, whether the Government has arrived at any decision as regards the confirmation or modification of those sentences; and, with reference to the assurance given in a letter to Mr. Escombe, dated 18th March, 1888, that the execution of all sentences passed by the Special Commission should be "suspended pending the consideration of the Secretary of State," whether the government will immediately direct, by telegraph, that the prisoners shall be relieved from the hardships they are now undergoing, and that there shall be no unnecessary severity in their detention until instructions have been given as to their ultimate fate?


The Report of the proceedings has not yet arrived. Her Majesty's Government see no necessity to telegraph as proposed by the hon. Member, because the information in their possession negatives the suggestion that the prisoners are being treated with unnecessary severity. They are treated in the same way as before trial except that they are not allowed to communicate with visitors save in the presence of a prison official. Each prisoner is allowed the attendance of a servant, and to receive such presents of food and native beer as may be brought to him.

MR. J. MORLEY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)

When may we expect to have the Papers laid before the House?


We are waiting for the Report, and as soon as it is received it will be considered. There shall be no delay.