§ 20. General Sir George Jeffreys
asked the Secretary of State for War why Private R. Jones, 14217651, 7th Battalion, A. and S.H., B.A.O.R., was kept in close arrest for more than five months before being brought to trial by court martial; under what authority this soldier was kept in arrest for so long a period without trial; and whether he has taken any action against any person responsible for the delay in dealing with the case.
§ Mr. Lawson
Inquiries made up to date show that Private Jones was kept in close arrest because of special difficulties connected with operations in obtaining evidence as to the serious offences with which he was charged. This action is permissible under the provisions of the Army Act, Section 45, and I have no reason to doubt that these provisions were observed. I have, however, asked for a further report as to the delay before trial.
§ Sir G. Jeffreys
Is it not a fact that this long detention without trial—it was in fact, I think, over six months—was an injustice to the man concerned, and was it not contrary to the long-established 221 rules of procedure? Further, how much of the sentence was actually served in view of the very long period of detention without trial?
§ Mr. Lawson
I did not know anything about this until the hon. and gallant Gentleman put the Question. I called for a report immediately, and went into the facts.