§ MR. HAYDEN
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, when he expects to receive the Papers in reference to the trial of Major Lothaire for the murder of Mr. Stokes, and to state the views of the Government on the result?
§ SIR ELLIS ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whether he has any information to give respecting the alleged acquittal of Major Lothaire for the execution of Mr. Stokes; and what steps Her Majesty's Government intend to take with regard to this decision, and also to prevent British subjects from being tried by drumhead court martial in the Congo State?
A telegram has been received from Her Majesty's Vice Consul at Boma, stating that the trial of Major Lothaire was held there on the 24th, 25th, and 27th of April, the charge being one of homicide under Article 3 of the Decree of the Congo State of May 26th, 1888; and that Major Lothaire was acquitted on the ground of his having shown no criminal intention in the execution of Mr. Stokes. Before expressing a final opinion, Her Majesty's Government must await the arrival of the Vice Consul's report and the minutes of the trial, which may be expected in six weeks' time. By a Decree of the Sovereign of the Congo State, dated October 30th, 1895, Europeans cannot in future be tried by court martial for offences punishable by death.