HC Deb 25 November 1926 vol 200 cc511-2
1. Mr. O'NEILL

asked the Minister of Pensions whether, in the case of Mr. George Fullerton, late Royal Irish Rifles, which was considered by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal in 1924, any statements were received from Dr. Killen and other medical men to the effect that, in their opinion, Mr. Fullerton's condition was due to war service; whether any of these medical men were given an opportunity of giving oral testimony before the tribunal; and, if not, can he arrange for a re-hearing of the case so that the oral evidence of these doctors can be taken?

Colonel GIBBS (Treasurer of the Household)

Mr. George Fullerton, late Royal Irish Rifles, appealed on the 7th July, 1924, against the final award made on the 19th July, 1921, for his disability, gunshot wound, neck. His appeal came before a pensions appeal tribunal on the 16th October, 1924, when the tribunal held that it had no jurisdiction as the appeal had not been made within the statutory period of one year after the notification of the final award. In February, 1925, Mr. Fullerton appealed against the decision of the Minister of Pensions that his disabilities, nervous prostration, sleeplessness, stomach trouble and psychasthenia, were neither attributable to nor aggravated by service, and this appeal was heard by the pensions appeal tribunal on the 7th April, 1925. At the hearing of the appeal certificates were before the tribunal from Dr. Killen and another medical man, in which they expressed the opinion that the appellant's condition was due to war service. These certificates were duly considered by the tribunal before arriving at the decision to disallow the appeal.

Had the appellant desired to call these medical men as witnesses he was entitled to do so under the Statutory Rules of the pensions appeal tribunals and the tribunal would have been ready to grant an adjournment to enable them to attend. The pensions appeal tribunals can also adjourn any case on their own motion and request, although they cannot compel, the attendance of any witness whose oral evidence will, in their opinion, be of real assistance in deciding the case.

By the War Pensions (Administrative. Provisions) Act, 1919, the decisions of the pensions appeal tribunals are final and, therefore, there is no power to arrange for a re-hearing of the case.


Is the effect of that answer that nothing further can be done for this man, although before the War he was perfectly healthy and is now a complete physical wreck?

Colonel GIBBS

I will make inquiries.