HC Deb 13 June 1956 vol 554 cc568-70
24 and 25. Mr. Hale

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) why Richard Acheng Oneke, who was brought to trial in Kenya in 1952 and acquitted in 1953, is still being imprisoned notwithstanding the finding of not guilty and if he will reconsider this matter and also place in the Library of the House particulars of charges outstanding and evidence in support of them

(2) why ex-Chief of the Kikuyu, Mbyu Koinange, who was brought to trial in 1953 and acquitted without the defence being called upon, is still in detention and has been in detention since before the outbreak of the Mau Mau rising under laws passed subsequent to his arrest; and whether he will reconsider this matter and also place in the Library the charges which have been made and the evidence in support.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have nothing to add to my replies to the hon. Member on the 9th March and 26th October, 1955.

Mr. Hale

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Questions raise two entirely different cases which have no connection whatever, one being that of a charge arising out of Mau Mau and the other that of a charge having nothing to do with Mau Mau?

First, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Richard Acheng Oneke faced a trial lasting many months, that the court of appeal said that there was no evidence at all against him, that he was then rearrested under the Emergency Regulations which had been passed while he was in prison, that he has been in prison since before the state of emergency was declared, and that, therefore, this Christian pacifist cannot possibly have broken any Emergency Regulations because he was locked up miles from the scene?

Secondly, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the ex-chief of the Kikuyu is over 80 years of age, has been in prison since before the emergency was declared, and that at his trial the court of first instance dismissed the charge without calling on the defence on the ground that there was no evidence against him?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As to the latter case, as the hon. Gentleman knows, or should know, the circumstances of the chief's detention are very generous, particularly because of his very great age. I am satisfied that there is this in common between the two cases, that it is in the interests of the mass of the people of Kenya as a whole that these persons should not be prematurely released. I am sure that it is because action of this kind has been taken that the mass of the good people of Kenya can now look forward with confidence to an early better life.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Bevan

The right hon. Gentleman gets cheers from behind him but few in the country. Is it not a fact that the retention of this man of over 80 years of age who has been declared innocent by a court of law disgusts all decent opinion in Great Britain?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

No, Sir.

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