HC Deb 04 February 1908 vol 183 c709
MR. JOHN WARD (stoke-on-Trent)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, whether his attention has been called to the dismissal by the magistrate of the charge of being an absentee, brought against Arnold Hardy Smith, a member of the Middlesex Imperial Yeomanry, on 14th August last; whether any claim has been made by or on behalf of Arnold Hardy Smith for the costs incurred in rebutting the unfounded accusation of the commanding officer; and if so, what action has been taken in the matter.


My attention has been called to this case. A claim for repayment of legal expenses incurred by Arnold Hardy Smith was made by a firm of solicitors. As the magistrate with all the facts before him, advisedly refrained from awarding costs, the Army Council were unable to make any grant in the case.


In view of the Answer given to-day as to the payment of the expenses of the accused officers in the Woods Court of Inquiry, are we to take it that officers and privates in this matter are to be treated on an entirely different footing?


No, Sir, the two cases are not analogous. In the case of the officers the charges were dismissed after full inquiry, but in the case of Private Smith the magistrate seemed to think the medical evidence was somewhat dubious, and although he was not prepared to set aside the medical certificate, he marked his sense of the case by refusing costs.