§ 7. Mr. William Shepherd
asked the Secretary of State for War why the date of discharge from full-time service of 22330907 Lance-Corporal Parker was altered in his discharge book from 31st January, 1952, to 25th February, 1952.
§ The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Antony Head)
This alteration was made to correct a mistake by which the date on which this soldier reported for part-time service, instead of the date on which he completed his terminal leave, was entered in his discharge documents.
§ Mr. Shepherd
Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that this alteration had nothing to do with the charge that was subsequently laid against Lance-Corporal Parker?
§ 8. Mr. Shepherd
asked the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been drawn to the fact that 22330907 Lance-Corporal Parker was kept under close arrest for nine days, and was subsequently sentenced to 28 days' detention for the unauthorised borrowing of a motor-cycle; and whether he will cause a review of this sentence, in view of its severity.
§ Mr. Shepherd
Can my right hon. Friend say why it is necessary in a case of this kind to keep the soldier concerned, who is on discharge leave, under close arrest? In a similar case tried by the civil authority he would not have been so detained.
§ 12 and 16. Mr. Stephen Swingler
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) why 22774347 Signalman G. W. Parsons, 7 Training Regiment, Royal Signals, Catterick Camp, was not granted legal aid in the preparation of his defence before a district court-martial;
(2) on what date 22774347 Signalman G. W. Parsons, Royal Signals, was tried by court-martial at Catterick Camp; and on what date his sentence was confirmed and by whom.
§ Mr. Head
The trial took place on 20th March, 1952; the sentence was confirmed by the Commander, Signals Training Centre, Catterick, on the following day.
All applications for legal aid in this country are considered by the Director of Army Legal Services. For trials by court-martial for purely military offences, it is granted whenever the case presents particular legal difficulty or in cases of mutiny, serious cases of insubordination and certain other specific offences. The charge in this case, under Section 33 of the Army Act, was a straightforward one and did not come within the scope of the scheme.
§ Mr. Swingler
Is the Minister satisfied that this trial was properly conducted? Is it or is it not a fact that just before this trial this soldier was charged and summarily convicted on a charge of making a false statement to obtain pay, and that on investigation a senior officer quashed the proceedings on the ground of irregularity? Is it not a fact that the soldier was told at the trial that he should have had expert legal advice on a certain point, and that certain important evidence was never produced?
§ 18. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will make a statement on the case of Gunner J. E. O'Leary, missing in Malaya since 2nd March, 1951.
§ Mr. Head
A death certificate could not be provided by my Department until 1387 an investigation in connection with a murder charge had been completed by the civil authorities and an inquest into this death had been held. The civil authorities have now decided to dispense with an inquest, and I hope that the death certificate will very soon be issued.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
Is the Minister aware that in this very deplorable case the parents have been treated with a lack of consideration which is really heartless, especially in view of the right hon. Gentleman's promise in the House on 13th November that the fate of this lad was going to be cleared up within a week or two? I am really ashamed of the way in which this has been handled.