HC Deb 04 July 1935 vol 303 cc1994-5

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is now in a position to state whether he is prepared to release Mrs. Kelly, who is an expectant mother and due to give birth to a child in five weeks' time, and was sentenced to six months' imprisonment for alleged perjury in the Garngad rioting case?

The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir Godfrey Collins)

A medical report which I have obtained and examined shows that Mrs. Kelly's confinement is not expected until about the end of September and that she is well in good general health and doing light work in the prison, and as stated in my reply to the hon. Member yesterday she will be removed to a hospital outside the prison for her confinement. The doctor will keep her under particular care and she will receive special medical attention. In no case can I find that pregnancy by itself has been regarded as a reason for release from prison. Having given further consideration to this case I regret that I can find no special circumstances which would justify me in recommending the release of Mrs. Kelly from prison at the present time.


In connection with this case, is the Secretary of State aware that this lady's husband was sentenced previously at the same court for alleged perjury, and that as Mrs. Kelly is now in prison the children are deprived of their mother? Although there may be no precedent for the release of a woman on the ground that she is an expectant mother, is this not a case for clemency? Could he not exercise his clemency to the extent of releasing the woman, seeing that the husband is undergoing a term of imprisonment? The law is satisfied. Cannot he therefore release the woman?


I will certainly see that the woman is watched over and will make special inquiry into the case. Perjury in a court of justice is a grave crime, and in no case can I find that pregnancy by itself has been regarded as a reason for the release of an expectant mother.


Is not a woman in this state of health notoriously unreliable?