HC Deb 04 July 1916 vol 83 cc1372-3W



asked the Prime Minister on what charge the late Thomas Kent, of Coole, Fermoy, was convicted by the secret court-martial; whether counsel on his behalf was allowed to question the legality of trial by secret court-martial on that charge; what occasion is alleged for the military and police breaking into the house of the Kent family, smashing the doors without waiting for them to be opened; whether the alleged offence consisted in that Thomas and Richard Kent, on entering the hall, found their mother's life threatened by Constable Rowe with the point of his bayonet to her breast, fired at Rowe, the military and police firing upon the Kents simultaneously and wounding them severely in the head and body, from which wounds Richard Kent has since died; whether there is any instance for a century in this country of a death in such circumstances being punished as murder; whether those who fired upon the Kents have been or will be tried for murder; whether Thomas Kent, for the purpose of being executed, had to be propped up in a chair, his wounds, making standing impossible for him; why a priest was at first refused permission to attend him in preparation for death; what was the text of the document which the priest, on persisting, was required to sign but refused to sign; under whose orders the raid, which could have been carried out peacefully, and the subsequent proceedings were so conducted that of Mrs. Kent's sons Thomas has been executed, Richard killed, and David sent to penal servitude for five years for defending their mother in her own house; and, if he disapproves of all or any of the proceedings, what action has he taken to signify his disapproval, and whether he contemplates any action with reference to Mrs. Kent and her son David?


Thomas Kent was convicted by Field General Court-martial of taking part in an armed rebellion, under Regulation 50 of the Defence of the Realm Regulations. In the interests of the public safety it was decided to exclude the public from this Court, at which no counsel appeared for the prisoner. The house of the Kent family was never broken into The door was opened by the inmates when they surrendered. Head Constable Rowe did not threaten Mr. Kent's life with a bayonet or any other weapon; his head was blown off by a shot fired from a window of the house whilst he was standing in the yard. Thomas Kent was not wounded. He was given a chair at his execution owing to his nervous condition. A priest was given every facility to attend him, and did attend him before and at the execution and at the burial. Another priest was invited to, but refused, to sign the following declarationI hereby declare upon my honour that I will convey no information, message or document of any kind, and that I will treat aft absolutely secret any information I may receive from any rebel or prisoner with whom I may be permitted to communicate. The arrest of Thomas and David Kent was ordered by the police, who asked for and received assistance from the military authorities. Richard Kent was shot while attempting to escape after the surrender.

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