HC Deb 05 April 1894 vol 22 cc1438-9
MR. CAINE (Bradford, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India if his attention has been called to the finding of a Court Martial, presided over by Colonel Steevens at Ahmedabad on the 13th of March last, when Private O'Hara, of the Leinster Regiment, was accused, and found guilty of shooting three comrades, two of whom were killed, when under the influence of liquor; and is this the same Private O'Hara who was condemned to be hung at Calcutta by Justice Norris and a British jury for the murder of Sheik Soleim at Dum-Dum, but who was afterwards re-tried before a Commission of Judges and acquitted, the Bench holding that Judge Norris committed a technical error in his Charge to the jury, although the evidence was clear with regard to OHara's guilt, and no doubt was attempted to be thrown on the justice of his sentence; and, if so, is it in accordance with the Rules of the British Army in India, that a man who has been proved guilty of the murder of a Native should return to his regiment, and continue in the Queen's service?


(who replied) said: I have seen in the newspapers a report of the Court Martial at Ahmedabad on Private O' Hara, but not of the finding and sentence of the Court. The Private O'Hara referred to in the second paragraph of my hon. Friend's question was tried and convicted for a murder committed at Dum-Dum. In India, as in this country, power is reserved to refer questions of law to a Court of Appeal. This was done in the present instance, and the Court, with the express concurrence of the Judge who tried the case, decided that the conviction was wrong and must be quashed. I am informed that the soldier O'Hara, who was the subject of these proceedings, was discharged from the Army.