George Elsey (Prosecution).

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy. – in the House of Commons on 10th July 1922.

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Photo of Mr John Mills Mr John Mills , Dartford

97.

asked the Secretary of State for War if his attention has been called to the recent dismissal of the prosecution lodged by the War Office against Mr. George Elsey and the remarkable statement made by the magistrate at Bow Street, London; whether he is aware that this man, himself an ex-service man who served throughout the War in France and Italy, is trying to call attention to the alleged vindictive sentence passed upon his son, William H. Elsey, who had also joined the Army, had been wounded during his service, and was sentenced in 1919 to 112 days' detention for alleged assault on the military police, and to the subsequent injuries received after conviction which resulted in his death; whether he is aware that the coroner's verdict was that this man, whilst handcuffed, with hands behind his back, was kicked down a long flight of stone steps, which resulted in fracture of the thigh, left knee fractured, fingers broken, and eyes bruised; whether, in view of these circumstances, ho has inquired into the matter; and, if so, with what result?

Photo of Mr Robert Sanders Mr Robert Sanders , Bridgwater

Yes, Sir; I am aware of the circumstances of this case, and I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln on the 23rd June last.

Mr. M ILLS:

Is not that reply an admission that a military court of inquiry was held, and that the court called only four witnesses, whereas the coroner's court called 14 witnesses'! Does the right hon. and gallant Gentleman not consider that this man is determined to have some kind of justice, and that it might as well be granted early as after a period of prosecution and detention?

Photo of Mr Robert Sanders Mr Robert Sanders , Bridgwater

No; I am not prepared to admit that a court of inquiry of British soldiers would not come to an honest conclusion.

Photo of Mr John Mills Mr John Mills , Dartford

That is not what I suggested. Was it not a fact—I make no aspersions on the military officers at all— that the military court of inquiry heard four witnesses, whereas the coroner's court heard 14.

Photo of Captain Robert Gee Captain Robert Gee , Woolwich East

Is it not the fact that the War Office have already held two courts of inquiry, and that, in addition, a petition has been presented to His Majesty, and still they arrived at the same decision?

Photo of Mr Robert Sanders Mr Robert Sanders , Bridgwater

I was not aware of two courts of inquiry. One has certainly been held, with the result stated in the answer.