HC Deb 13 February 1956 vol 548 cc2076-7
71. Mr. Benn

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations why a group of Bamangwato women were recently flogged in Bechuanaland; what offences they were charged with; by whom they were tried: under what authority such punishments are authorised; by whom and where and under whose supervision the sentences were carried out; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Commander Allan Noble)

In December, 1955, at Gweta, two women who were involved in a drunken brawl assaulted a tribal policeman and subsequently insulted the Subordinate Native Authority in his kgotla. The Subordinate Native Authority ordered the two women to receive two strokes each. The sentence was imposed under Section 13 of the Bechuanaland Protectorate Native Courts Proclamation and was administered in kgotla according to native law and custom.

The Native Authority had already prohibited corporal punishment of women and he has been asked to remind all his subordinates again that corporal punishment should not be administered to women.

Mr. Benn

I am sure that the House will receive the latter part of the Under-Secretary's statement with satisfaction. Will he give an assurance that there has been no more recent example of this, as a few days ago there were reputable Press reports suggesting that another incident had occurred more recently?

Commander Noble

I am not aware of more cases recently, and the Press reports probably referred to the case in question.