HC Deb 15 February 1965 vol 706 cc153-4W
54. Mr. A. J. Irvine

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken to protect the interests of Leading Electrical Mechanic Alan Chesworth of H.M.S. "Owem" and from Edge Hill, Liverpool, at present imprisoned in the Spanish frontier Town of La Linea and accused of using insulting language about the Spanish Government.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

Chesworth and a friend of his from H.M.S. "Owen" called Henderson crossed the border from Gibraltar to La Linea in plain clothes and were involved in a disturbance in a Spanish bar. The police were called in and Henderson was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Chesworth went to the police station, refused to go away and was finally arrested. He was charged with

  1. (a) striking a senior police officer while under arrest; and
  2. (b) using insulting language about the Spanish Head of State and the Spanish people.

The British Vice Consul at La Linea and a naval officer from Gibraltar failed to obtain bail for Chesworth and subsequently visited him in jail and took him mail and money.

A preliminary hearing was held at San Roque and since we have now heard that the trial will take place in Madrid, a Spanish lawyer has been engaged for Chesworth's defence.

Both the naval authorities in Gibraltar and the British Embassy in Madrid are keeping closely in touch with the situation and will do all they can to help Chesworth.