HC Deb 14 October 1941 vol 374 c1259W
Mr. McGovern

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the number of conscientious objectors now in Scottish prisons who have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment by courts-martial and those sentenced by the courts for failing to present themselves for medical examination; and the periods of sentence and respective prisons where they are detained?

Mr. Johnston

Conscientious objection is not a criminal offence and no one can be imprisoned on account of it. One man is undergoing a sentence of three months' imprisonment, and another a sentence of six months imposed by court-martial for offences alleged to have been committed on conscientious grounds. Sixty-three persons are serving sentences imposed by civil courts for failing to present themselves for medical examination under the National Service Acts. The warrants for imprisonment in those cases do not state whether the offences were alleged to have been committed on grounds of conscience, although in the majority of cases the men concerned had appeared before a conscientious objectors' tribunal and had been refused registration in the register of conscientious objectors. Of these 65 prisoners, 58 are in Barlinne Prison, Glasgow, 2 in Greenock, Edinburgh and Perth Prisons respectively, and I in Aberdeen. The sentences are as follow:

12 months' imprisonment, 54 persons; 6 months' imprisonment, 4 persons; 3 months' imprisonment, 3 persons; 3 months—20 days' imprisonment in default of paying fines ranging from £25 to £3, 4 persons.