HC Deb 08 November 1916 vol 87 cc178-9

asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that on 11th October Joseph Harwood was charged with being an absentee before the magistrates at Chipping Norton, and, no case being presented by the prosecution, was discharged; that, on 16th October, he was rearrested and brought before the magistrates on the following day at 9.45 a.m., this being neither the usual Court day nor the usual time of meeting, and the only magistrates present being Captain Waller, chairman of the Bench, who was also the military representative before the Chipping Norton Tribunal, and one other; that on Harwood's refusing to plead on the ground that he was charged with the same facts and in respect of the same charge as had already been dismissed, he was convicted and subsequently arrested and handed over to the military authorities; and whether steps will be taken to secure Harwood's release?


When Harwood came before the magistrates on 11th October the case was adjourned, at Harwood's request, and he was remanded on bail, not discharged, as stated in the question. On 20th October he was again brought before the magistrates and was convicted as being an absentee from military service. He was fined 40s. and handed over to the military authorities. It is evident from this, that the facts placed before the hon. Member are not accurate, but I am having further inquiries made.


Will the hon. Gentleman kindly inquire whether it is a fact that the second hearing was held at 9.45 a.m.—not the usual hour—and whether there were two magistrates present?


Yes; that is what I am inquiring into.


If my hon. Friend's facts are not accurate, why need the hon. Gentleman make further inquiries?


Some of the facts are not accurate, and I am not answering the others until I have inquired.