HC Deb 04 April 1950 vol 473 cc979-80
4. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Secretary of State for War what progress has now been made in the trial by court-martial of Major E. James, 133973, at present held in arrest at British Army of the Rhine Release 6 Transit Centre.

Mr. Strachey

Nine of the witnesses required at the taking of the summary of evidence are in the United Kingdom and it was, therefore, necessary to hold part of the summary of evidence in this country. This has now been completed, and Major James has been returned to Germany for the completion of the summary of evidence.

Mr. Marlowe

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that there is something wrong with a system of justice which takes six weeks and a Question on the Order Paper before any action is taken; and as this gentleman has now been in arrest for eight weeks and has still not been brought before a court-martial, does he not think that needs investigation?

Mr. Strachey

The difficulty was that a good deal of the evidence necessary was in this country, and there had to be this delay. We are not sure, even now, whether the defence is ready, and that has to be considered.