HC Deb 28 June 1962 vol 661 cc1336-8
5. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Central African Office) on how many occasions during the last year, to the most recent convenient date, sentences of caning were imposed in Northern Rhodesia.

6. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Central African Office) in how many cases sentences of caning in addition to imprisonment have been inflicted in Northern Rhodesia during the past twelve months; and for what offences this punishment has been inflicted.

Mr. R. A. Butler

In the year ending 31st December, 1961, which is the most recent period for which figures are available 78 adults and 740 juveniles were sentenced to caning. I will, with permission, circulate the list of offences in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mrs. Castle

Does the right hon. Gentlemen not think that these figures are extremely alarming and very unsatisfactory? Why should caning, in addition to imprisonment, be imposed for such offences as theft and acts to prevent arrest? Is it not quite wrong that young people aged between 16 and 21 should be liable to this double punishment for all offences for which a sentence of over three months imprisonment is imposed, except where in lieu of a fine? Will not he stop this iniquitous situation?

Mr. Butler

These matters are the subject of Northern Rhodesian law. Therefore, any question of revision is for the Northern Rhodesian Legislature to decide and I do not think that I can add further to it today.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these figures are disturbingly large, much larger than we expected? Is he aware that he has a responsibility for what the Northern Rhodesian Legislature does? Will he not enhance the reputation he has of being a humane Home Secretary by showing himself to be a humane administrator in penal matters in these colonial affairs?

Mr. Butler

There are limits to the extent to which I can intervene. This is essentially a matter for the Northern Rhodesian Legislature. I have given the figures accurately, as I have obtained them by telegram, and this is the latest position.

Mr. Manuel

How can the Home Secretary possibly justify the attitude he is taking in this case? How can he justify a standard that he would not dare to adopt here in relation to people sentenced—that they should have this additional caning? Will not he look at the matter again and try to exert his good influence in order to get a moderating influence in connection with caning in Northern Rhodesia?

Mr. Butler

When questions were asked before by the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) I asked for full information to be given me. I am in the process of studying it. Meanwhile, I must preserve the position of the Northern Rhodesian Parliament.

Sir C. Osborne

How can it be fairly said that these punishments are excessive without knowing the full details of the crimes?

Mr. Butler

Perhaps my hon. Friend will study the list of offences when I circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Manuel

What did the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) get as a boy?

Sir C. Osborne

I used to be walloped.

Following is the information:

Offence Adults Juveniles (a person under 19 years of age)
Against public order 10 78
Escape and rescue 1 9
Rape 2 2
Indecent assault 1 8
Other offences against public morality. 1 6
Grievous harm, wounding, assault, etc 4 22
Other offences against the person 3 19
Theft 21 260
Theft by servant 4 64
Burglary and theft 3 10
Housebreaking and theft. 3 71
Storebreaking and theft 4 63
False pretences, cheating and fraud 7
Receiving stolen property 2 10
Arson 19
Forgery and coinage 1 22
Other offences against property. 6 27
Motor traffic ordinances 1 14
Interference with a motor vehicle. 8
Other offences against local laws 4 28
Total 78 740