HC Deb 17 February 1953 vol 511 cc1064-5
48. Mr. Wade

asked the Secretary of State for War how long Private Brian M. Jupp, whose plea of conscience was upheld by the advisory tribunal on 15th December, 1952, was imprisoned under sentence by court-martial by reason of his conscientiously objecting to performing military service; and in what prison or prisons he was detained.

The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison)

Private Jupp was imprisoned, following conviction by court-martial of an offence claimed to have been committed on the grounds of conscience, for a period of 47 days. The prisons in which he was detained were Canterbury, Eastchurch and Wormwood Scrubs.

Mr. Wade

Is it not anomalous that one who is found to be a genuine conscientious objector should be compelled to serve a sentence of imprisonment before his case is heard?

Mr. Hutchison

Where a soldier who had a chance of claiming conscientious objection before his service started develops a conscientious objection during his service, we want to be satisfied that the objection is bona fide. Therefore, he has to provide some form of evidence that he really does believe what he says has developed, and as soon as that has been done, he is released, as in the case of this man.

Mr. J. Hudson

Does that mean that the Government will insist on putting men through incarceration of one sort or another in order to find out whether they have a conscience at all?

Mr. Hutchison

Where conscientious objection did not exist originally, what the hon. Gentleman suggests is the system.