§ MR. LEHMANN (Leicestershire, Market Harborough)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether special courts are to be established in Natal to try the rank and file of the natives implicated in the disturbances in Natal, and whether the ringleaders and chiefs will be tried by courts martial; and whether His Majesty's Government will make representations to the Government of Natal urging them, so far as is possible, to try all such natives in the ordinary courts of the Colony.
The following Questions also appeared on the Paper:—
§ MR. TREVELYAN (Yorkshire, W.R., Elland)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether His Majesty's Government approve of the appointment of special courts to try the rank and file of the natives captured during the Natal operations, with power to inflict lashes and impose a term of two years' imprisonment, and of the intention to try the chiefs and ringleaders by martial law; and, if they do not, what steps they propose to take, in order to bring pressure to bear upon the Natal 927 Government to have the natives tried by civil courts.
§ SIR H. COTTON (Nottingham, E.)
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any official information showing that the trial of native political offenders, in connection with the present troubles in Natal, will be held by special courts to deal with the rank and file, with power to impose penalties up to two years' imprisonment and lashes, and that the ringleaders and chiefs will be tried by martial law tribunals; and, if so, whether the policy indicated, especially in regard to inflicting lashes as a punishment for political offences, will be repudiated by His Majesty's Government.
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
It will be convenient for me to answer at the same time the Questions by the hon. Members for the Elland division of Yorkshire and for Nottingham East on this subject. The Secretary of State understands that no special courts are to be established to try the rank and file, but that all minor cases of sedition, including illegally carrying arms, are to be tried by the magistrates. Serious cases requiring to be dealt with promptly will be tried by court martial. The Governor states that this decision was arrived at after considerable discussion with the Attorney-General, who attended the meeting of Ministers and himself. The Secretary of State does not consider that he could with advantage make representations to the Government of Natal upon the matter.