§ SIR T. ESMONDE (Dublin Co., S.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty what was the offence for which a petty officer and a seaman of H.M.S. Egeria were recently condemned, the one to penal servitude for five years and the other to two years' hard labour; whether the statements appearing in the Sydney newspapers as to the composition of the court martial which sentenced them, and as to the violations of the rules of evidence during their trial, have any foundation; and where these men are at present confined?
§ LORD G. HAMILTON
One petty officer and one seaman of the Egeria were tried for attempting to make a mutinous assembly and for wilful disobedience to orders, and were sentenced respectively to five years' penal servitude and two years' imprisonment. Five other seamen were tried for disobedience, and sentenced to punishments varying from one year to six months' imprisonment. The Reports of these courts martial are now under consideration at the Admiralty. I have not seen any of the Australian newspapers referred to; but the courts martial are legally constituted, and if there is any reflection on the composition of the courts such reflection is not justifiable. The men are on their way home.