HC Deb 22 February 1926 vol 192 cc16-7
44 and 54. Lieut.-Commander KEN-WORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether any and, if so, how many of the 453 natives tried and executed during the years 1920–24 applied to the Governor of Nigeria for the right to have their cases transferred to the Supreme Court; and why their appeals were rejected;

(2) whether it is the normal practice of the presiding officer at the Provincial Courts to make it clear to persons charged with capital offences in Nigeria that a right exists under which they can apply to the Governor for permission to have their cases transferred to the Supreme Court; and how many of the 453 natives tried and executed without being allowed to employ counsel in defence in the Provincial Courts were, in fact, informed of this right?


The hon. and gallant Member is under a misapprehension. It is the Chief Justice, not the Governor, who decides applications by a party to a case in the Provincial Court to have that case transferred to the Supreme Court. I do not know how many of the natives referred to so applied; but the Chief Justice in reporting last year on the success of the Provincial Court system in the Southern Provinces stated that the natives have been informed of their right to apply to the Chief Justice to transfer a case to the Supreme Court, which transfer is always ordered in criminal cases when the accused is charged with a serious offence and desires to be defended by counsel, provided the case can conveniently be heard in a Supreme Court area.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Will the right hon. Gentleman favourably consider having the matter made quite clear in the Courts themselves? He will be aware that there are allegations that this is not known among the natives, and will he have it looked into?


I understand that it is made sufficiently clear and is known. Two additional Supreme Court areas have been created recently to meet the case.