HC Deb 21 February 1901 vol 89 cc660-1
MR. CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has considered the circumstances under which the Special Court of Three Judges, in October last, acquitted a Cape policeman named Smith, on the charge of murdering a native named Dollery, on 22nd November, 1899; whether the defendant was acquitted on the expressly stated ground that he was merely obeying the orders of his superior officer, Captain Cox; whether Captain Cox has since this decision of the Court been arrested and put on his trial; whether the Cape Colony Attorney General has made any report to the Colonial Office or to the High Commissioner giving reasons for not placing Captain Cox on trial; and whether he will take steps to secure the trial of Captain Cox for a murder admittedly done at his order.


The answer to the first question is that I have received the report of the trial published in the Cape Times in October last. The answer to the second is in the affirmative, and to the third in the negative. In reply to the fourth and fifth, I have to say that under Cape law absolute discretion with regard to all criminal prosecutions is vested in the Attorney General of the Cape Colony, who is responsible to the Cape Parliament. I am informed by Sir A. Milner, to whom I telegraphed on the subject, that the Attorney General has made no report on the case, but states that after careful consideration he has decided not to prosecute.


I shall take an early opportunity of drawing attention to this case.