HC Deb 31 July 1916 vol 84 cc2093-4W

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Ithel Davies, of Tafolog Merionethshire, was awarded non-combatant service by the Appeal Tribunal as a conscientious objector; that he was attached under the Military Service Act, to the 4th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, at Oswestry; that on 11th May Private Davies was tried by court-martial for disobedience to military orders and sentenced to 112 days' hard labour; that on 22nd May, his sentence having been reduced to one months' detention, he was removed to the Mold Detention Barracks; that during the first three days he was subjected to harsh treatment; that on his release he was sent back to join his battalion at Oswestry; that on 21st July he was again tried by court-martial for disobedience to military orders on 21st May and sentenced to six months' hard labour; and that it was admitted that Private Davies was a genuine conscientious objector, although the court-martial had no knowledge that he had been awarded noncombatant service until the Rev. R. E. Davies, Llanllechid, Bangor, put in the Appeal Tribunal's certificate; whether, having regard to all the circumstances of this case, and to the fact that Private Davies has already undergone one sentence, he can see his way to mitigate the sentence of six months' hard labour; and if he will say what is to become of Private Davies after he has served his sentence?


In view of the fact that Private Davies will have the opportunity of appearing before the Central Tribunal and that if his claim is accepted he will be released from prison, no action on the lines indicated by the hon. Member is at present necessary. In the event of Private Davies' appeal being rejected by the Central Tribunal the sentence will be reviewed in regard to its severity and at the termination of his sentence as mitigated (if such a course be taken) Private Davies will return to his unit.

I would here take the opportunity of informing the House that this will be the procedure in all such cases. It will be realised it would be a waste of depart mental time to make any mitigation of a sentence of a conscientious objector who is awaiting the decision of the Central Tribunal, as, in the event of the tribunal deciding in his favour, the man will be released from prison. The severity of all sentences, however, will be at once considered in cases where the man's appeal is rejected.