§ 21. Sir WILLIAM BYLES
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the allegations of Mr. Drought before the Labour Commission of the East African Protectorate that the District Commissioner, the Hon. K. Dundas, tortured a native by burning his tongue with a hot 121 knife; and what action was taken when this incident was reported to the administrative authorities?
The matter was reported to me by the Acting-Governor at the time, and it is clear to me that the original charge was maliciously brought and was without foundation in fact. What happened was this: A native chief was investigating a case of cattle theft in the presence of the District Commissioner, Mr. Dundas. The chief called on the accused of his people to go through the native form of ordeal by fire by licking a hot knife. Mr. Dundas did not prohibit this procedure, but took care that the knife was not sufficiently heated to burn the tongue of the accused. The Acting-Governor was of opinion that Mr. Dundas had committed an error of judgment in admitting this method of trial, and severely censured him. In my opinion the action taken was sufficient.