HC Deb 29 January 1891 vol 349 cc1271-2
MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether he proposes to take any and what steps in connection with the Dum Dum murder case, in which the murder of a native, having been proved by the clearest evidence, against a party of English soldiers, and one of them having been found guilty and sentenced by Mr. Justice Norris, the case was subsequently brought under review, and the sentence quashed on the plea of a mere technicality; and whether it is the fact, as stated by Mr. W. S. Caine, in a recent letter from India, that, in the interval, the regiment to which the said soldiers belonged became mutinous, and threatened extreme measures if their comrades were punished for "shooting a nigger"?

SIR G. CAMPBELL (Kirkcaldy, &c.)

I beg also to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether any information has yet been received of any steps taken by the Military Authorities in regard to the state of indiscipline in one of Her Majesty's regiments disclosed in the case in which a party of soldiers at Dum Dum broke out of barracks with their rifles, committed various outrages, fired many shots, killed a native, and came home in the morning in a cart, but in which the regimental authorities failed to identify any of the offenders, and the crimes committed have in consequence remained entirely unpunished?


The Secretary of State does not propose to take any steps in relation to the Dum Dum murder case. He has no authority to revise or interfere with the decision of the highest judicial tribunal in Bengal. The statement of Mr. Caine is not correctly quoted in the question, but the Secretary of State has no information which corroborates the statement, either as made or as suggested. In reply to the question of the hon. Member for Kirkcaldy (Sir G. Campbell), I have to say that the Military Authorities made a careful inquiry into the alleged disorders, and have taken such steps as they trust will prevent their recurrence.

DR. CLARK (Caithness)

Is it true that the sentence was quashed upon a mere technicality?


I have no information upon that matter at all; but from what I have read of the case I find that Justice Norris, who tried the case originally, was a member of the Court of Appeal, and that he concurred with the Judgment of the Court which quashed the conviction on the ground that the evidence was not sufficiently satisfactory to proceed upon.