§ MR. D. F. GODDARD (Ipswich)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the effect of recent legislation on the Gold Coast, namely, the Supreme Court Amendment Ordinance, 1897, and the District Commissioners Ordinance, 1897, will be, that the natives will be largely deprived of the safeguard of trial by jury, winch they have enjoyed in the British Courts for the last 50 years; whether Her Majesty's Judges at the Gold Coast were consulted before the recent legislation on the administration of justice; whether he has received a request from the local Bar, praying him to withhold his advice to Her Majesty to give the Royal Assent to these Ordinances, pending the receipt of a memorial on the subject; and whether he has been able to grant such petition?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Mr. J. CHAMBERLAIN,) Birmingham, W.
The first mentioned ordinance only substitutes a quarterly for a 944 monthly assize. The second extends the summary jurisdiction of the District Commissioners, but only makes general a jurisdiction which had been previously conferred by the Chief Justice under his statutory powers on the District Commissioners of certain districts. The Chief Justice is a member of the Legislative Council by which these ordinances were passed. I have not received any petition with regard to them.
§ MR. GODDARD
May I ask whether I am correctly informed that there, are now 84 offences which can be tried by the District Commissioner?
§ MR. J. CHAMBERLAIN
That does not arise out of the Question. If the hon. Gentleman wants particulars he must give notice.