§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Prime Minister whether he has read the admission of the Law Officers in Ireland that no civil authority had been consulted by the military in Ireland last May on the legality of trying persons not subject to military law by field general courts-martial held in camera in capital cases until Courts had been, for the first time, so held, and some persons not subject to military law executed and other such persons sent to penal servitude in pursuance of their sentences, and that the Law Officers men informed the military authority that the responsibility for their procedure rested with the courts-martial, having regard to the facts that, without the fiat of any Civil Court, judge, or Law Officer, persons not subject to military law have been executed and other such persons sent to penal servitude under this new procedure not warranted by any law, but only by a Regulation which has never been judicially reviewed, and that its victims are now powerless to have it so reviewed; whether he can cite the authority of any competent Civil Court for assuming the existence in field general courts-martial of a power to try in capital cases in camera persons not subject to military law, or for assuming that a field general court-martial has, without statutory authority, inherent power to exclude the public from such trials; in the absence of both law and authority of any competent Civil Court for the procedure in question, whether he will take immediate steps to obtain a decision of a competent Civil Court on the legality or illegality of trying civilians in capital cases by field general courts-martial held in camera, in order that Parliament may deal with the matter without delay; and when the Government intend to introduce a Bill to indemnify those responsible for the procedure in question in Ireland last May?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
With the exception of the last sentence this question is identical in purport with that put by the hon. Member on the 3rd July. I would therefore refer him to the answer I then gave. With regard to the last part of the question, I would refer him to a written answer given by my right hon. 737W Friend the Solicitor-General to the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone on the 17th July.