HC Deb 15 September 1893 vol 17 c1265
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War will he inquire whether a sergeant of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was tried at Kasanli, India, on the 17th July, on a charge of drunkenness, and, expecting to be summarily dealt with, in reply to the usual question of his Commanding Officer, admitted and expressed regret for the offence; was the sergeant remanded to a District Court Martial, and then, on a plea of "not guilty" being put in, did the Court, deeming the evidence insufficient, call witnesses to prove the admission made to the Commanding Officer; did the prisoner protest that this was no confession, quoting par. 72, c. 6, M.M. (large edition), and was the objection overruled on the authority of par. 81, c. 6; was the prisoner then convicted on his alleged confession, although before a Court Martial itself a plea of "guilty" may be withdrawn and cannot be availed of to prejudice the accused; and whether, in view of the fact that such procedure and reception of evidence raise a large question of principle affecting the rights of soldiers, and also considering that men will be placed in a position of great difficulty in answering the questions of their Commanding Officers when expecting to be summarily dealt with, the Military Authorities will give the matter their immediate attention?


It is impossible to answer this question without referring to the proceedings of the Court Martial, which are not in our possession. The Commander-in-Chief in India has been asked to forward them to the War Office with a full Report on the whole case.