HC Deb 05 May 1909 vol 4 cc1026-7
Mr. J. D. REES

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Imperial Government paid the counsel's fee for the defence of Dinizulu, or any portion thereof?

The UNDER-SECRETARY for the COLONIES (Colonel Seely)

It having been represented to His Majesty's Government that there was imminent risk of the defence of Dinizulu breaking down through lack of funds, they decided after communications had passed between the Natal Government and themselves on the subject to guarantee the sum of 2,000 guineas towards counsel's fees. The Governor of Natal made an intimation accordingly to Mr. Schreiner, but at the request of the Natal Government it was arranged that the guarantee should not be disclosed until after the conclusion of the trial. The sum of 2,000 guineas was paid to Mr. Schreiner through the Government of Natal on behalf of His Majesty's Government soon after the conclusion of the trial. Of this sum Mr. Schreiner retained £1,999 11ss. 3d., representing the amount of advances made by him to his colleagues in the defence of Dinizulu, on account of their fees. The balance of £100 8s. 9d. he returned to the Governor, £1,650 of his own fees remaining unpaid.


May I ask the hon. Gentleman in connection with this matter whether he can say how the case of Dinizulu stands now, and whether there is any intention of revising the sentence upon him?

Colonel SEELY

I do not think that arises on the question.

Mr. J. D. REES

May I ask whether there is any precedent for this?

Colonel SEELY

There can hardly be a precedent, because so far as I am aware there is no precedent for the remarkable state of affairs which obtained in this case.


May I ask the Under-Secretary for the Colonies whether he can say what the total cost of the defence amounted to, and whether he is aware that if the Crown had chosen to prosecute Dinizulu in this country he would have been entitled to be paid the whole of the costs of the defence in the same way as the whole of the costs of the prosecution are paid under the Poor Persons Defence Act?


The hon. Member must give notice of that.


On what date will the Supplementary Estimate for this be taken?

Colonel SEELY

I am not quite sure as to the particular form; but, of course, the House will be asked to Vote the money.


May I ask whether Mr. Schreiner has foregone his fees?

Colonel SEELY

Yes, sir; that is the case.