§ 31. Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case of Leslie Joseph Minter, who was sentenced at the Liverpool Police Court, on 21st July, to imprisonment for two months for having flashed a light from one of the portholes of the steamship "Megantic" in a part of St. George's Channel where German submarines were known to be present; and whether he will give an assurance that Minter shall be immediately interned on the expiration of his sentence?
§ Sir J. SIMON
I am not at present fully informed as to the facts of the ease. The question of what action should be taken with regard to the prisoner at the end of his sentence will be carefully considered in consultation with the Admiralty.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the desirability of an amendment of the Defence of the Realm Act which would give power to the captain of a vessel, when one of the crew by his conduct endangers the vessel and the lives of passengers, to throw him overboard?
§ 65. Mr. R. McNEILL
asked the Attorney-General whether his attention has been called to the case of Leslie Joseph 1945 Minter, who pleaded guilty at the Liverpool Police Court, on 21st July, to the charge of having, while acting as under-steward on board the steamship "Megantic," done an act likely to cause damage to the ship or its destruction; whether he is aware that the act of which the prisoner was guilty was the opening of one of the ship's portholes, contrary to orders, and flashing a light therefrom in a part of St. George's Channel where German submarines were known to be present; and that the sentence inflicted for this offence was two months' imprisonment; and, having regard to the gravity of the danger to the country and shipping liable to arise from such offences, he will take steps, if necessary by legislation, to provide for adequate penalties for offences of this character?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir E. Carson)
This case was investigated by the Director of Public Prosecutions, who was of opinion that the evidence was insufficient to convict Minter, a youth of seventeen, of any serious offence against the Defence of the Realm Regulations. Minter was prosecuted for charges under the Merchant Shipping Act, as stated in the question. The magistrates had power to inflict a punishment of six months' imprisonment with or without hard labour.