HC Deb 21 November 1939 vol 353 cc1007-8
40. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for War whether before the execution of any death penalty inflicted by a military court on a soldier at home or abroad, the facts and evidence will be submitted to him, and his endorsement of the sentence obtained?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

As regards home, the answer is "Yes, Sir." In the case of troops on active service abroad, the approval of the officer in chief command of the forces is necessary.

Mr. Creech Jones

Will the right hon. Gentleman give serious consideration to the proposal in the question, because of the extreme gravity of the sentence that may be inflicted?

Mr. Hore-Belisha

Yes, Sir. The sentence is confined to extremely grave offences. The number of these offences has been reduced, and it is necessary for the Commander-in-Chief to have discretion in that very limited number of cases.

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