HC Deb 09 August 1898 vol 64 cc644-5
MR. MENDL (Plymouth)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to a sentence of five years' penal servitude passed at a general court-martial held at Shorncliffe on private Charles Warren, Highland Light Infantry, for striking an officer in the face with his cap, such sentence to be followed at its expiration by the discharge of the prisoner from the service with ignominy; whether he will state the circumstances under which the offence with which the prisoner was charged was committed; and whether there were any, and what, special reasons for inflicting this punishment?


Private Warren having been convicted of desertion, was undergoing a sentence of imprisonment with hard labour, and when the orderly officer on duty visited the guard-room cells, where Private Warren was confined, the man stated that he had a complaint to make. Warren said he had made a previous complaint, but could get no satisfaction, and protested against his punishment. The orderly officer having ascertained that Warren was a court-martial prisoner, told him that his complaint was frivolous, and on the soldier "threatening he would smash everything he could lay his hands on, "advised him against such folly. Private Warren then struck the officer in the face with the cap which he was holding in his hand. He pleaded guilty to the charge, was convicted, and Her Majesty, on the advice of the Judge Advocate General, confirmed the proceedings. The prisoner has a bad record, having within the last 20 months been twice convicted of felony and once of being "on premises with unlawful intent."