HC Deb 10 February 1932 vol 261 cc857-8
Mr. MORGAN JONES (Private Notice)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the report that 60 Wakamba natives were sentenced to death on 5th February before the Supreme Court at Nairobi for the murder of a supposed witch, and whether he will take steps to ensure that these sentences for a crime due to ignorance and superstition are not carried out?


The only information I have received is that published in the reports in the Press which include a statement that the Supreme Court of Kenya held that there was no alternative to finding the prisoners guilty of murder, but recommended them to the Governor's clemency. There is provision for appeal to the Court of Appeal for Eastern Africa within, a period of 30 days. Death sentences of any Court in the Colony are subject to review by the Governor in consultation with the Executive Council, but the decision as to the exercise of the Royal Prerogative rests with the Governor alone. I have telegraphed to the Governor asking for information as to the facts.


If I put down a question a few days hence, can the right hon. Gentleman give me an answer then as to the final decision on the matter?


As I have pointed out, there is a right of appeal, but I do not know whether it is being exercised. If there is an appeal, of course the case will be heard by the Court of Appeal which will either confirm or vary the sentence, and it will only be when the matter has been finally determined in the Courts that it will go to the Governor, who will consider it in Executive Council. I will communicate with the hon. Member as soon as I can give him any further information as to the facts.