HC Deb 27 November 1956 vol 561 cc210-1
19. Mr. Marlowe

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the observations of the Lord Chief Justice on 19th November on the hearing of the appeal of Private R. F. Renn, Portslade, against his conviction for murder by court-martial; and what action he is taking, having regard to the views expressed by the Lord Chief Justice to the effect that had he been tried by a civil court Private Renn might not have been found guilty of murder.

Mr. Hare

The Army Council have reviewed the proceedings of the court-martial held on Richard Frederick Renn at Herford in Germany on 10th May, 1956, and have taken into consideration the observations of the Courts-Martial (Appeal) Court on 19th November when the appeal against conviction was dismissed. The Council has decided that the sentence of ten years' imprisonment which this soldier is now serving shall be reduced to a sentence of two years' imprisonment. This reduction of sentence has been promulgated.

Mr. Marlowe

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the observations of the Lord Chief Justice, and the sense of urgency in his representations to the War Office, indicated his view that this soldier ought to be released at once? Will my right hon. Friend have the sentence of two years, to which it is now reduced, reviewed again?

Mr. Hare

I am sorry, but my hon. and learned Friend has absolutely the wrong end of the stick. The Lord Chief Justice, who was President of the Court, did not indicate anything of the kind, and I would ask my hon. and learned Friend to read carefully his report before making that kind of allegation.