HC Deb 26 February 1920 vol 125 cc1945-6W

asked the Home Secretary if he will inquire into the case of John Frederick Hedley, who was convicted at the Rotherham borough court under the Defence of the Realm Act on the 14th February, 1920, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment with hard labour, but was ordered to be admitted to bail pending an appeal to the divisional court; if he will explain why, instead of bail being accepted by the Rotherham police, the Chief Constable, purporting to act under orders from the Home Office, handed Hedley to an escort of Irish police from Belfast in order that he might be taken back to Ireland to serve the remainder of a sentence under the Crimes Act for unlawful assembly from which he had been released owing to hunger strike; whether the sentence imposed by the Rotherham bench is now running concurrently with the Irish sentence; and if, seeing that the conduct alleged against Hedley at Rotherham might have been dealt with under the ordinary Law as conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace, he will, in the circumstances, remit or suspend the sentences in order that Hedley may prosecute his appeal to the divisional court as to the validity of the emergency legislation under which he was charged?


I have made inquiry. It is not the case that the police refused to accept bail. The Chief Constable, after consulting the Home Office, warned Hedley that the Irish police might fetch him to complete his sentence. He was then brought before the magistrates in order that ho and his sureties might enter into their recognisances with a view to his appeal, but he refused to enter into any recognisances and in due course was handed over to the Irish police. I cannot recommend the remission of the sentences passed at Rotherham. The information I have at present does not enable me to say whether they are running concurrently with the Belfast sentence or not.