HC Deb 06 July 1900 vol 85 cc776-7

The following question appeared on the Paper:—


To ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether two persons, named Vander Valt and Boogsen, were recently tried and convicted by a court-martial at Colesberg, in Cape Colony; could he state to the House with what offence or offences they were charged, what were the sentences imposed by the court-martial, and did the Attorney General of the colony report against the justice of the conviction in either or both of these cases; have the sentences been since reduced, and by what authority and on what grounds; and can he say whether military tribunals are still taking cognisance of offences against the criminal law of the colony, notwithstanding that the ordinary courts of the country are and have for some time been open.

When called upon by the SPEAKER to put the question—


I have received a request from the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies that I should address this question to the Under Secretary for War, but, with every possible respect for that hon. Gentleman, I must decline to do so, because I regard the Secretary of State for the Colonies as the proper guardian of the civil rights of Her Majesty's subjects in the Cape Colony. I shall therefore repeat the question, with all respect, on Monday.