HC Deb 09 July 1964 vol 698 cc615-6
40. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, when considering the compensation to be awarded to those now granted a free pardon after being wrongfully imprisoned on the evidence of Detective-Sergeant Challenor, he will bear in mind the sums already awarded in connection with the half-brick case to persons who spent little or no time in custody, and ensure that these further awards are proportionate to the former ones.

47. Mrs. Butler

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what basis compensation will be paid to Mr. David Silver and Mr. Lionel King, who have been granted free pardons and who suffered imprisonment as a result of conviction on evidence from Detective-Sergeant Challenor.

Mr. Brooke

I informed the House on 2nd July that I should be prepared to consider any claim for ex gratia compensation by these men. I have so far received intimation only of a claim by Mr. King. In deciding the amount of ex gratia compensation in such a case, it is the practice to be guided by the advice of an independent assessor, in accordance with arrangements notified to the House by my predecessor on 2nd May, 1957.

Mrs. Butler

In view of the fact that Mr. King is at present without money, without a job and without a home, and that he is most anxious not to receive charity and was in prison from 25th June last year until last Thursday when he received a free pardon, will the Home Secretary make the compensation he is to receive as generous as possible to enable him to rehabilitate himself and his family?

Mr. Brooke

I think the House would wish that in this as in other cases I should put the claim before an independent assessor, someone quite independent of me, and obtain his advice.

Mr. Driberg

But will the independent assessor be aware of previous awards? Without asking the right hon. Gentleman to anticipate his final decision or the assessor's recommendation, may I ask if he will not at least agree that it would be quite contrary to justice if people detained for one night only received a substantial sum while equally innocent people detained for eight or nine months did not receive appreciably more?

Mr. Brooke

I shall certainly make available to the assessor any relevant information he might wish to have.

Mr. Denzil Freeth

Will my right hon. Friend inform the aggrieved person of the decision to grant an ex gratia payment, should that decision be reached, so that the aggrieved person can submit a claim for damages and costs suffered, through my right hon. Friend to the Official Referee, in addition to any information he might submit to the Official Referee?

Mr. Brooke

I am not quite sure what my hon. Friend has in mind. It is open to both these men to make claims, and one has done so. When I have appointed an independent assessor, I shall put before him the whole content of the claim that is being made to me together with any other relevant information he seeks.