§ MR. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether, in cases where a conviction by court-martial is submitted for confirmation to the Judge Advocate of the Fleet, the prisoner is required to undergo any part of the punishment awarded before the validity of the conviction has been adjudged by that legal officer; and whether he can state in any, and, if so, how many cases last year prisoners have undergone the whole or part of a sentence before the conviction on which it was based was quashed or reversed.
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. ARNOLD-FORSTER, Belfast, W.)
Although all contested courts-martial are referred to the Judge Advocate, sentences awarded by naval courts-martial under the terms of the Naval Discipline Act come into operation at once. They are scrutinised by the local Commander-in-Chief, who would suspend the sentence in the event of any apparent illegality, pending reference to the Admiralty. It might happen that a sentence, subsequently found to have a legal flaw, had begun to take effect, but such instances are very rare. One only has occurred during the last twelve months, and in that case the imprisonment awarded had not been commenced when the finding was quashed.