HC Deb 09 May 1898 vol 57 cc669-70

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War if a private soldier in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, stationed at Maritzburg, has been sentenced to 15 lashes and a term of imprisonment for shop-breaking; and if it is the case that a colonial magistrate has power to inflict corporal punishment on one of Her Majesty's soldiers?


No report has been received of the occurrence referred to in the Question. A soldier who commits a criminal offence—not of a military character—is, like any civilian, amenable to the criminal law of the country where he is stationed.


Arising out of that answer may I ask whether, considering that flogging is abolished in the Army, my right honourable Friend does not consider it is time that an alteration in the law was effected?


This Question assumes that a soldier is subject to some penalty to which a civilian is not. What my honourable and gallant Friend should do is to address a question to my right honourable Friend the Secretary for the Colonies asking him to mitigate the Draconian law of the colony. We have no power to establish the principle that a soldier convicted of an offence by the civil power should suffer less than a civilian would for the same offence.


I beg to give notice that I will put a Question to the Secretary for the Colonies on the subject.

MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland Division)

Are we to understand that a soldier when he goes to the Colonies forfeits his rights established by statute?


Order, order! We are getting into the regions of argument.