HC Deb 03 December 1906 vol 166 c600

I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether his attention has been directed to the decision of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in an appeal brought before that tribunal in August last by Tilonga, a Native chief, who had been sentenced to 10 years hard labour and a fine of 500 cattle after a trial by court martial, legalized by an Indemnity Act passed by the Natal Legislature before that trial, whereby it was determined that military courts sitting after a proclamation of martial law are not constituted according to the Articles of War or by the Imperial Army Act, and that they are not subject to any superior control so long as their acts are confirmed as the arcs of this court martial were confirmed by the Governor of Natal, under whoso direction they act; and whether, having regard to the fact that as the Governor of a Colony representing the Crown possesses this power it is likewise nested in the Crown itself and liable to be exercised under similar conditions in these countries, he has any statement to make or will give an undertaking that he will consider the law on this subject with a view to its reform in the interests of liberty.


I do not wish to prejudice the question whether the conviction of this chief was justified on the evidence or whether his sentence was excessive, but I cannot undertake to propose any legislation on the subject.