HC Deb 13 July 1905 vol 149 cc544-5
SIR JAMES W0ODHOUSE (Huddersfield)

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in framing the Statutory Commission Bill, the Government have considered the fact that an officer cannot be tried or punished for any offence triable by Court-martial committed more than three years before the date fat which his trial begins; and how, in the event of it appearing from the evidence in the possession of the Government, or that may be adduced before the Royal Commission, or from the Report of the Commission, that any officer ought to be tried by Court-martial for offences arising in respect of the dealings with Government stores in South Africa in 1902, does he propose to deal with the matter so as to prevent such officer availing himself of a plea of statutory time limit arising from the delay in inquiring into and ascertaining the facts.

(Answered by Mr. A. J. Balfour.) The question of the term within which an officer may be tried by Court-martial is entirely outside the scope of the War Stores Commission Act. That Act has been framed to secure the complete disclosure of all the facts, and for this purpose provides for indemnity being given to witnesses; but it would have been altogether irregular to include in it provisions for altering the period of limitation for trials by Courts-martial.