§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I beg to ask the Prime Minister whether the attention of the Government has been directed to a recent judgment of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, refusing an appeal to the Natal chief, 999 Tilonko, from a court-martial trial in Natal, upon the ground that the Natal Legislature had passed an Act of Indemnity validating the sentences of all illegal courts set up by the Governor of Natal and the Commandant of Militia under martial law; whether he is aware that the Indemnity Act passed the Legislative Assembly of Natal on the 7th July last and the Legislative Council on the 12th July last, that the trial of Tilonko did not take place until the 30th July last, and that, before the sentence of ten years imprisonment with hard labour and a fine of 500 head of cattle was imposed, the Parliament of Natal had been dissolved; whether, having regard to the fact that the proceedings of the trial by court-martial were rendered by anticipation valid by an Indemnity Act previously passed, His Majesty's Government will lay upon the Table the correspondence that took place between the Governor and the Secretary of State for the Colonies relative to the Royal Assent to the Indemnity Act and its promulgation in the Natal Government, Gazette on the 2nd October last, the petitions, if any, presented to His Majesty in Council praying the disallowance of the Act, and a reference to the Judicial Committee for hearing or consideration of the matters referred to in the petitions, and a statement of the advice of the Secretary of State to the Crown in dealing with the petitions; and will the Government advise the Crown, under the provisions of Section 7 of the Natal Constitution Act, 1893, and Section 4 of the Imperial Statute 3 and 4 Will. 4, c. 41, to refer the petitions in question to the Judicial Committee for inquiry and advice.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
It is not proposed to lay the petitions in question. The correspondence between the Governor and the Secretary of State will be published in a further Blue-book on Natal affairs, which will be laid immediately. The Secretary of State cannot properly advise the King to refer the petitions in question to his Council in view of the fact, first, that their object appears to be to obtain by indirect means a rehearing of a matter which has already been judicially decided, and secondly the consideration by the Judicial Committee of a point on 1000 which the Secretary of State has already advised His Majesty.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Having regard to the unusual circumstances, will the Secretary of State consider the propriety of allowing the whole matter to be referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council?