HC Deb 18 May 1904 vol 135 cc178-9
MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether His Majesty's Government are aware that Silvanus Jones, a native of Lagos, who was recently condemned to ten years penal servitude at Boma, in the Independent Congo State, had inadequate means of defence furnished him; whether the report of his trial and sentence, which His Majesty's Government have recently received, will be laid upon the Table; and whether His Majesty's Government are taking any further steps to safeguard the welfare of British subjects in the Independent Congo State.


We will lay before; Parliament the judgment in appeal; the Court confirmed the sentence, with a recommendation for its reduction, in view of the fact that Jones had acted under circumstances which justified him in thinking he had the approval of his; superiors. While this judgment of the Court corroborates the justice of the complaints made by His Majesty's Government against the system of administration prevailing in the Congo State, we dissent strongly from the view that the conduct; or approval of superiors can be pleaded in excuse for murders committed by their agents, but we have drawn the attention of the Congo Government to the allegation made by Mr. Jones that he had no knowledge of the charges to be preferred against him or even that he was himself to be placed on trial, and to the fact that no opportunity was allowed him of engaging counsel on his behalf, and we await explanations on these points.