HC Deb 02 June 1954 vol 528 cc1278-9
56. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Africans in Kenya have been sentenced to capital punishment during the last 12 months; how many of these sentences have been carried out; and on what charges these Africans have been sentenced.

Mr. Lyttelton

Five hundred and sixty-six and 289, respectively, in the 12 months up to 30th April. The charges were:

Murder 268
Unlawful possession of arms, ammunition and explosives 204
Consorting with terrorists 58
Administering unlawful oaths 27
Acting with intent to further terrorism 9
Mr. Brockway

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware of the great disquiet regarding these death sentences, whether he has seen the leading article in "The Times" of 6th May on this matter, and whether there have not been cases in which influence has brought about the release of certain men, while other men in exactly the same circumstances have been sentenced to death?

Mr. Lyttelton

I do not accept in any way the last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question implying that certain influences are at work. Of course, the prerogative of mercy has been used, and certain appeals have been allowed, but this has nothing to do with influence. With regard to the first part of the supplementary question, what is deplorable is that there have been so many cases of breaking the law.