HC Deb 27 May 1907 vol 174 cc1314-5

I beg to ask the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether he can give the House information of the judicial proceedings in Natal relating to the murder of Mr. Veal during the recent rebellion; whether nineteen natives have been charged with this one murder; whether seven of them have already been found guilty and sentenced to death; whether they were tried by civil court or by court martial; and whether, the rebellion being over and order restored in Natal, the Colonial Office will advise the Governor to intervene and, if possible, prevent a repetition of the events which last year necessitated intervention, when a number of natives were executed for the murder of a single white man.


This murder took place during the rebellion, but the victim was an unarmed civilian, travelling alone on a bicycle. The circumstances are recorded in the Governor's despatch of 5th July, 1906 (p. 12 Cd. 3247) which shows clearly that a large number of persons were participants in the crime. Nineteen men were originally charged, but the Crown withdrew the case against twelve of the accused, the remaining seven prisoners were found guilty and sentenced to death. All the proceedings were conducted in the ordinary civil courts of the Colony, martial law having ceased. The power of pardon in capital cases in these Courts is regulated in the Governor's instructions, and the Governor will, no doubt, carefully follow the procedure therein laid down. The Secretary of State is therefore of opinion that he is not in a position to intervene as suggested by the hon. Member.