HC Deb 17 April 1957 vol 568 cc1916-8
42. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what date Mr. Richmond, former district officer in the Government service in Kenya, was employed by the Aberdare County Council, Kenya; and in what capacity.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Mr. Richmond was appointed on 1st December, 1956, as African Affairs Officer.

Mrs. Castle

Is not this an absolutely incredible piece of information? Is not the Colonial Secretary shocked, as I am, to learn this, which no doubt took place without his knowledge? Is it not a fact that it was owing to his influence that Mr. Richmond was sacked from the Government service because of his unhappy connections with the case of Kamau Gichina, an African flogged to death in his area? Is it not a fact that Mr. Richmond was accused of obstructing justice and the investigations of the police and helping criminals in connection with the police inquiries? Will the right hon. Gentleman have this matter considered?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think that the hon. Lady should get the constitutional responsibility for these posts and appointments more clear. The post of African Affairs Officer under the Aberdare County Council was created with the approval of the Kenya Government, but the appointment of Mr. Richmond to that post was a matter for the council and not for me or the Kenya Government.

Having regard to the latter part of the hon. Lady's question, I would say that I made it quite clear in the House at the time that I thought that the activities of certain people in Kenya under discussion at that time were regrettable, but in fairness to Mr. Richmond, it should be made clear once more that he was not himself involved in the brutal treatment of Africans and his offence was limited to what was described as a misguided effort to avoid incriminating other officers. Personally speaking, I am glad that he has now been given another chance in life.

Mrs. Castle

Is it not a fact that the court records of this case in the Supreme Court, which I have read word by word, show that Mr. Richmond's complicity was much greater than that, that he deliberately misled the doctor who gave the medical evidence and that the magistrate criticised him in court, and will he not take this matter up with the Kenya Government?

Mr. H. Fraser

On a point of order. Is it not dangerous that the hon. Lady and others should use the House of Commons for character assassination which they would not dare to repeat outside?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order.