HC Deb 16 November 1939 vol 353 c812
21. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Home Secretary the nature of the offence for which 42 Indian seamen are now under going two months' imprisonment; and whether he will have this sentence reviewed, with a view to their early release?

Sir J. Anderson

I understand that these seamen were convicted of combining together to disobey a lawful order contrary to the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894. On the information at present before me, I can find no grounds on which it would be justifiable for me to recommend any interference with the sentences which the Court that heard the evidence thought it necessary to impose.

Mr. Sorensen

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that in fact there are other crews who are striking for precisely the same purposes, some of whom have not been prosecuted, and in view of the political repercussions of this, would it not be well if he were to consider some other means of meeting their grievances?

Sir J. Anderson

I am in no way responsible for the initiation of prosecutions in these cases, but in considering whether there is a ground for recommending any interference with the decision of a court, I have to keep certain well-known principles in view.