HC Deb 15 July 1952 vol 503 cc1966-7
30. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War how many of those members of Her Majesty's Forces now in prison were sentenced for crimes of turpitude and how many for Service offences; how many of these offences were proved to have been caused by domestic trouble in the lives of the offenders; and if he will take steps to review these cases.

Mr. Head

The latest available figures show that, as a result of conviction by Army courts-martial, 83 men are now serving sentences of imprisonment in this country for offences of a purely Service nature, and 87 for other crimes. How many of the offences were caused by domestic trouble is to a large extent conjectural but, where domestic trouble is pleaded in mitigation of offences, special consideration is always given to the circumstances.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Secretary of State remember the Army (Suspension of Sentences) Act of 1915 which, after the First World War, authorised the suspension of sentences and had a very good effect? Would he consider putting something like that into effect now?

Mr. Head

All court-martial sentences are periodically reviewed, and in a large number of cases they are suspended.