§ 20. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Secretary to the Admiralty for what offence Petty Officer Owen, of the ship "Drake II.," was recently degraded and put ashore on the Kerry coast; whether this officer has proved in Court to have spent his time ashore, in company with sailors John Rushby and Frank Morrows from the same ship, insulting everybody, calling Irishmen curs, striking them, and saying that under the feet of Englishmen was the proper place for Irishmen; and, as civil justice is now suspended in Ireland, how those men were dealt with on their return to the ship?
The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the ADMIRALTY (Dr, Macnamara)
The person to whom the hon. Member refers is no doubt Percy Owen, engineman on board His Majesty's trawler "Drake II." He has not been degraded and put ashore, but his discharge has been approved on account of disciplinary offences, namely, drunkenness and leave breaking. As regards the incident mentioned by the hon. Member, Owen and two other sailors, hearing disloyal language in a public-house, had the speaker prosecuted, and he was sentenced to fourteen days' hard labour. This happened about a month ago. As there was no charge against the men on account of this matter, they were not dealt with in respect of it on return on board.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Was not that sentence the result of the evidence given by the two men who assaulted the countryman?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
I do not know anything about the assault. I have said there was no charge against the men on account of that, and they were not dealt with in respect of it on return on board.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Since it is very desirable to prevent anything of this nature, will the right hon. Gentleman give instructions, in the case of sailors on shore leave, that prosecutions shall only be commenced on the initiative of their superior officers, and not on that of the men themselves?