HC Deb 28 July 1953 vol 518 cc135-6W
125. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for War in how many cases during 1952 and 1953 have details from medical reports on men and women serving in the Army been made available to outside persons or for publication in the Press; to whom such disclosures were made; and what were the circumstances of each case.

Mr. Head

Without considerable research, I cannot give the exact number of cases in which details from Army medical reports on serving personnel have been made available to outside persons during this period. Since, however, such disclosures are normally made only if the individuals concerned are facing serious criminal charges, the number must be very small. In no case have details been given for publication in the Press.

126. Mr. M. Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for War what inquiries he has made into the disclosure at a recent court-martial of part of an Army medical report on Private Irene Rosser; and with what result.

Mr. Head

I have made inquiries into this matter and find that a copy of a medical report on Private Rosser dated 6th May, 1953, was put in evidence during the re-examination of Colonel Gleave at his court-martial.

When State documents of this kind are required for the defence at a court-martial they are normally in the possession of the Department and it is therefore necessary to make application to the Secretary of State for his permission to produce them. This affords the Crown an opportunity to consider whether or not it will claim privilege for the document concerned. In this case the copy of the report was already in the possession of Colonel Gleave himself and no application was made. Under these exceptional circumstances I had no opportunity of considering whether privilege should be waived in this case or not.