HC Deb 30 April 1928 vol 216 c1316

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the report that 40 of the Solomon Islanders who have been in a prison camp in Malaita since October last have sickened with dysentery, and seven of these have died; and whether the commissioner who is being sent there by His Majesty's Government will be instructed to study the question of speeding up the course of justice so as to prevent such long delays between arrest and trial?


The latest information that I have as to the outbreak of dysentery at Malaita was given in reply to a question by the hon. Member for Southwark Central (Mr. Day) on the 17th of April. So far as my information goes only one of the natives was arrested by the end of October last. Arrests were still being made in February. The trials would ordinarily be conducted by the Chief Magistrate of the Protectorate, but unfortunately he had to leave the Protectorate owing to ill-health and another judicial officer had to be sent to the Protectorate from Fiji. I propose to await the report of the High Commissioner before deciding whether any inquiry by the Special Commissioner in regard to happenings between the arrest and trial of the prisoners is desirable, and until I receive that report I am not prepared to enlarge the present scope of the inquiry.