HC Deb 09 March 1938 vol 332 c1877
32. Sir A. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that on 24th November, 1937, Sheikh Farhan es-Sadi, 75 years of age, was condemned to death by a military court for carrying firearms, whereas on the 21st January a young Jew, convicted of the same offence, was by a similar court sentenced to five years' imprisonment, subsequently reduced by the general officer commanding to three months; and whether he will make inquiries as to the discrepancy in the sentences and make a statement on the matter?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As I have already made clear, I cannot intervene in such cases. I am aware, however, of the two cases mentioned, and the circumstances appear to me to be entirely dissimilar. In trials for carrying firearms without lawful authority the military court is required by the Defence Regulations, where it is satisfied that the accused person had a reasonable excuse, the burden of proof of which shall lie upon him, to take the circumstances into account in mitigation of the penalty.

Sir A. Knox

Surely this first sentence is particularly savage, considering the age of the defendant?

Mr. Radford

Is there not a difference between someone who carries a revolver for self-defence and someone who carries one for aggression?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore