HC Deb 13 March 1906 vol 153 cc1078-9
MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

To ask the Secretary of State for War why two soldiers convicted of using obscene language, two soldiers convicted of being absent from Militia training, one soldier sentenced to punishment, for incurring a debt, one soldier convicted of being drunk and disorderly, two soldiers convicted of giving a false answer on attestation, two soldiers convicted of fraudulent enlistment, and one soldier convicted of ill-treating a donkey are now confined in civil prisons to undego punishment without such punishment carrying with it discharge from the Army; whether he will cause soldiers convicted of these offences, and sentenced to punishment not involving discharge from the Army, to be incarcerated in military prisons and not in civil prisons; and, if not, will he state the reason for not doing so.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Haldane.) These men were presumably convicted by the civil power, except in one of the two cases of so-called fraudulent enlistment, and would consequently undergo their sentence in a civil prison. As regards the two classes classified by the authorities as fraudulent enlistment, one was of a man awaiting removal by military escort for disposal by the military authorities, who was therefore not under conviction, and the other was of an army reservist who had made a false answer on Attestation. It must be remembered that a person charged with making a false answer on attestation may be handed over to the civil authorities for disposal under Section 99 of the Army Act, and absentees from Militia training under Section 23 (2) (b) of the Militia Act. It rests with the local military authorities to decide whether a soldier convicted by the civil authority shall be discharged from the service, and each case would be considered on its merits.