Sentence (Boy).

Oral Answers to Questions — Palestine. – in the House of Commons on 29th March 1939.

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Photo of Mr Ernest Bennett Mr Ernest Bennett , Cardiff Central

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the sentence of 10 years imprisonment and 18 lashes with a whip, passed on 25th March at Jerusalem, on an Arab boy of 13 who was charged with shooting at, and slightly injuring a Jew; and whether he would secure some mitigation of this sentence in view of the prisoner's age?

Photo of Mr John Parker Mr John Parker , Romford

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that a 13 year old Arab boy has recently been sentenced by a Jerusalem military court to 10 years imprisonment and 18 strokes of the whip for slightly injuring a Jew; and whether he will take steps to revise this sentence?

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

I have received no information regarding this case, but I have asked the High Commissioner for a report. The hon. Members will be aware that the review of sentences imposed by the Military Courts in Palestine is in the discretion of the General Officer Commanding.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Would the right hon. Gentleman really approve of lashing a boy of 13 in this country; and can he not prevent the infliction of this punishment in Palestine, especially in view of the need for encouraging Arab confidence in this country?

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

I think it would be better if I expressed no opinion about facts of which I am at present completely ignorant, but the hon. Member can be assured that the fullest attention will be given to the report when it is received.

Photo of Mr John McGovern Mr John McGovern , Glasgow Shettleston

Will the right hon. Gentleman at least see that the lashing does not take place in the meantime?

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

As I have said, I know nothing about it, but I am making inquiries. I do not know whether the stage of punishment has been reached. I will, however, consider the action suggested by the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

If the punishment has not been inflicted, surely the right hon. Gentleman can have it postponed?

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

As I have said, I will make inquiries as to whether the punishment has been inflicted or not, and certainly I will consider the action suggested by the hon. Member for Shettleston (Mr. McGovern).

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Could not the right hon. Gentleman have done this before now?

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Will my right hon. Friend ask that the punishment should be suspended pending investigation?

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

Cannot we have a definite statement?

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

I have already told the House that I am making inquiries, and I will consider the suggestion which has been made to me when I have a report as to the facts.

Photo of Mr George Lansbury Mr George Lansbury , Poplar Bow and Bromley

It is a question whether this boy is to be flogged or not, and we want to know whether the right hon. Gentleman will stop it, and stop it now.

Photo of Mr Cecil Poole Mr Cecil Poole , Lichfield

Are there any circumstances in which a sentence of this kind is justified; and, if not, will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that it will not be carried out?

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

I assure hon. Members that I, too, dislike a sentence of flogging on a boy of 13. All I can say is that I think it would be better if I ascertain the facts.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, by the time he has made his rather languid inquiries, the boy may have been flogged?

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

The hon. Gentleman has really no right to speak of "languid inquiries." I have already given directions that a report should be asked for.

Photo of Reverend James Barr Reverend James Barr , Coatbridge

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that, by a Bill which is before the House and which is now being discussed in Committee, flogging has been abolished?