§ MR. LEA (St. Pancras, E.)
To ask the Secretary to the Admiralty whether he will state what action he proposes to take in connection with the sentence of five years penal servitude inflicted by a court martial upon Stoker Moodie at Portsmouth on the 26th instant; whether he can state why Lieutenant Collard was permitted to decline to give evidence in this case when examined by the prisoner; what action he proposes to take in connection with the allegation that Lieutenant Collard on one occasion addressed a stoker with the words, "Down on the knee, you dog"; whether the order, "Down on the knee," is a proper order to be addressed to any man or boy in the Navy; and, if not, will he abolish it at once.
(Answered by Mr. Edmund Robertson.) In answer to the first Question on the Paper, the proceedings of a court martial, as I have repeatedly stated, are subject to review by the Judge-Advocate of the Fleet, and the sentence may be modified, suspended, or annulled by the Board of Admiralty. As to the rest of the Question, I can only repeat what I have already said, that, until judicial proceedings are exhausted, no statement can be made by which they might be prejudiced; and that, on the conclusion of these proceedings, an Admiralty Minute will be promulgated giving the decision of the Board in regard to the conduct of all concerned and the questions arising thereon.