HC Deb 21 December 1938 vol 342 cc2869-70
56. Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will recommend the Governor of Kenya to exercise his clemency in the case of a young girl recently sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment for inflicting injuries which proved fatal upon an old man, as the evidence showed that although wishing to marry a young man she had been sold for a valuable consideration to this old man who was repugnant to her, that the injuries were inflicted during a struggle after the old man had taken cords and a stick with which to bind and beat his young wife, and as the Crown prosecutor expressed great sympathy with the girl as a victim of forced marriage?

Mr. M. MacDonald

Under Article XIX of the Letters Patent of the nth September, 1920, the prerogative of pardon was delegated to the Governor, and the exercise of clemency is, therefore, a matter for his discretion with which I am not prepared to interfere. I will ask him, however, for a report on the case referred to in the question, and will communicate with the hon. and gallant Member in due course.

Lieut.-Commander Fletcher

If the right hon. Gentleman is making representations to the Governor will he point out that this girl was kept in custody for four months before being brought to trial and that she has now served two months of the sentence? Further, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that six months is a sufficient punishment in a case in which the judge said that to some extent this old man only got what he deserved?

Miss Rathbone

Will the right hon. Gentleman ask the Governor to reconsider this sentence by way of showing strong disapproval of these forced marriages of young girls?

Mr. MacDonald

I am not prepared to interfere with the Governor's discretion in this matter, but I am quite sure that he will keep in mind whatever may be the full facts of the situation.