HC Deb 30 June 1909 vol 7 cc371-2

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state (1) the cost of the prosecution in the defence, respectively, of Dinizulu and the other Zulu chiefs recently tried at the instance of the Natal Government; (2) what financial provision the Government made for the defence of Dinizulu; and what proportion that bore to the whole cost; (3) if any report has been asked for or received from Dinizulu's solicitors or counsel showing what was necessary to be done in order to secure a proper defence for the accused; and whether the Government has paid these necessities or has left them to be provided for by Miss Colenso?

Colonel SEELY

The Governor of Natal will be asked to furnish such information as may be available as to the cost of the trials of Dinizulu and the other chiefs. Till that information is received it is impossible to say what proportion the contribution of His Majesty's Government, which, as my hon. Friend is aware, was two thousand guineas, bore to the whole cost. As regards Miss Colenso, I regret that I can add nothing to my statement of the day before yesterday.


Did not the Colonial Secretary a year ago by his implied censure of the action of the Natal Government in withholding this unfortunate chief's salary make himself responsible for the cost of the defence, and ought not to have relied upon a private person?

Colonel SEELY

I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the Natal Government itself furnished a sum of £500 for the purpose of the trial and other expenditure as well.


Is it not a new precedent for the Colonial Office to identify itself with the defence of a person placed on his trial by a Colonial Government for what it believes to be good reasons?

Colonel SEELY

I have said before that the circumstances in this case were themselves unprecedented. The £500 was for the purpose of the defence, and other sums were contributed by the Natal Government, for setting up this special court, amounting to a large amount.


Is the House to understand that the Government is going to leave him to defend himself against accusations, all of which have been disproved—accusations of a most grave character—and to leave him to depend upon private persons?

Colonel SEELY

He was a Government officer, but the Government did not leave him to defend himself or to face the charges. A very large sum was paid by the Government under circumstances which are unprecedented, because the circumstances were themselves unprecedented—a sum of 2,000 guineas.


Does the hon. Gentleman allow that all the charges were disproved? Will he give us some assurance that public funds will not be used to recoup Miss Colenso?


Why did not the right hon. Gentleman try him by an Indian coercion trial?