HC Deb 22 March 1917 vol 91 c2072W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for War if he will make investigations concerning the case of James. Helliwell, a conscientious objector, who was given work under the Home Office scheme near Market Drayton, and, whilst there employed, after finishing a day's, work, went for a stroll and was taken ill, in consequence of which illness he was found in the main street at Stafford unconscious, and was afterwards arrested for being absent without leave, kept in detention about eight or nine weeks, and then. Court-martialled and sentenced to twelve months' military detention and two years' hard labour, with a view to the mitigation of punishment under the circumstances?


My hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. This case was most carefully considered by the Committee on the Employment of Conscientious Objectors. The place where Helliwell was found was twenty miles from the camp, and on a review of the evidence-obtained by the Committee the only possible conclusion appears to be that Helliwell, who had previously outstayed his-leave, absconded from his work contrary to the conditions of his release. The question of remission of the court-martial's sentence is one for the War Office; but the Committee cannot again employ him, and he would therefore on release have to return to the Army.