HC Deb 22 October 1946 vol 427 cc1457-8
23. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will take steps to differentiate between the degree of punishment inflicted on military offenders in time of war as against similar offences in time of peace, with a view to preserving as far as possible, the fundamental rights now enjoyed by civilians.

Mr. Bellenger

If my hon. and learned Friend is referring to maximum sentences provided in the Army Act, the answer is that that Act already differentiates, in many cases, between offences committed on active service and those committed in other circumstances.

The general run of sentences awarded by courts martial in normal peace-time conditions is governed by the scale set out for guidance in paragraph 681 of King's Regulations, and paragraph 5 of Chapter VII of the Manual of Military Law.

Mr. Hughes

Will the Minister take into account the matters to which he has just referred in settling the terms of reference to the committee about to be appointed and will he make the terms of reference as wide as possible?

Mr. Bellenger

I will do my best in that direction.