HC Deb 17 August 1916 vol 85 cc2067-8

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will make inquiries into the circumstances under which the public were excluded from a court-martial held upon Perry Johnson, of the 10th East Surrey Regiment, at Dover Castle, on Tuesday, 8th August; whether he is aware that George Johnson, brother of the accused, Sydney Taylor, a friend of the accused, and Mr. Matson, who represented the accused before the local tribunal, attended together at Dover Castle half-an-hour before the trial was fixed to take place and made repeated applications to be allowed to attend, but that they were sent from one entrance of the castle to another and always refused admission until at last a message came from the court-martial to the effect that the accused wished to call Mr. Matson as a witness; whether he is aware that Mr. Matson was then admitted but the other two were still denied admission, and that Mr. Matson made a protest to the president of the court-martial against the manner in which he and others had been treated; and whether, in view of these circumstances and of many other similar cases in which admission has been refused, he will call the attention of commanding officers to Chapter 5, Section 71, of the Manual of Military Law relating to courts-martial, by which it is provided that the court must be open to the public, military or otherwise, so far as the room or tent in which the court is held can receive them?


I will make inquiries on this matter, but, in the meantime, I will ask my hon. Friend to be good enough not to take me as accepting the allegations contained in the question as correctly representing the facts.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, to my own knowledge, there has been refusal to admit the public to courts-martial?