Imprisoned Soldiers (Release).

Oral Answers to Questions — Kut-El-Amara. – in the House of Commons at on 9 April 1919.

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Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

72.

asked the Secretary fo State for War whether any, and, if so, what, decision has been reached with regard to the discharge or release of soldiers who, for offences under the Army Act, are serving terms of penal servitude and imprisonment for less than two years?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

Unless their sentences are commuted to detention under the provisions of paragraph 583 (iv.) and (v.) of the King's Regulations such soldiers will be discharged from the Army in consequence of their conviction and released from prison on the termination of their sentences.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

73.

asked the Secretary of State for War whether his decision that all soldiers who have been sentenced to imprisonment for offences under the Army Act will be discharged for misconduct applies to those who have committed civil offences as well as to those who have committed purely military offences?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The discharge of soldiers for misconduct is consequential upon their being committed to a prison in this country to undergo their sentence. In all cases, therefore, where the sentence is not commuted to detention under the provisions of paragraph 583 (iv.) and (v.) of the King's Regulations, discharge from the Army will be carried out.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

Is it the intention of the Army Council to make no difference between a soldier who has been convicted for some civil offence, such as rape or stealing, and a man convicted of a purely military offence, such as using insubordinate language to his superior officer?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Dundee

The peace-time practice is that for all military offences, not involving what one might call moral turpitude from a civilian point of view, soldiers are not imprisoned, but sent to detention barracks. Therefore, they go back to the Army after serving their period of detention. Anybody who in peace-time is sentenced to imprisonment does not go back to the Army. He is turned out of the Army because of the taint of the atmosphere of the gaol. In war-time it was thought that a man should not escape from duty in the firing line by merely taking refuge, as it were, in prison, so that has been suspended. But now that fighting has stopped we have reverted to the practice of peace-time.