HC Deb 12 March 1947 vol 434 cc1315-6
35. Mr. Sydney Silverman

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many convictions for murder in the Gold Coast during the past 12 months have had ritual practices as motive; and under what authority the Governor has in these cases compelled the relatives of the condemned men to witness their execution.

Mr. Creech Jones

The answer to the first part of the Question is "None, Sir." The second part of the Question does not therefore arise. I should like to make it clear, though I should have thought in this House it was absolutely unnecessary, that no such authority exists. Indeed, I take the strongest, exception to any suggestion that the Governor would take such action.

Mr. Silverman

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the statement he has just made will relieve the anxieties of many people who have heard this statement made on what seemed to be indubitable authority, and may we take it—[Interruption.] I am prepared to give my right hon. Friend the name of my authority, if he so wishes. Are we to take it that my right hon. Friend is giving a categorical assurance that this practice has never happened?

Mr. Creech Jones

I am giving a categorical assurance that this is not the practice. I cannot go very far back into history, but I know that in the past few generations this has not been the practice, and no Government, either in the Gold Coast or here, would for a moment condone a practice of this kind.

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