Offences (Sentences).

Oral Answers to Questions — British Army. – in the House of Commons on 23rd June 1942.

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Mr. Robertson:

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he has considered the case of an officer convicted of stealing War Department petrol, and sentenced by general court-martial, to be dismissed from His Majesty's service, which was confirmed, and at once reduced to a severe reprimand; and, to prevent injustice, whether he will reconsider in the light of this case, that of the Streatham non-commissioned officer in the same unit convicted of a similar, but lesser, offence at about the same time, who was put under close arrest for 21 days prior to court-martial, and thereafter reduced to the ranks, and compelled to serve a sentence of three months in detention barracks?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

Both these cases were tried by court-martial, and the sentence in each case was reviewed by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Command. I do not feel that I should be justified in interfering with the decisions of the competent military authorities.

Mr. Robertson:

Is there not something wrong with a system which punishes the corporal so severely and lets the officer off so lightly?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

The hon. Member is assuming that the circumstances were the same in each case. So far as I can judge, and certainly so far as the responsible authorities have judged, the circumstances were not parallel.

Photo of Mr Charles Ammon Mr Charles Ammon , Camberwell North

But does not this case bear out the contention that there is a caste system in the Army?

Mr. Robertson:

In view of the gravity of this matter, I give notice that I shall raise it on the Adjournment at the first opportunity.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can give any information about Private P. Davis who received 28 days' detention for taking some steak-and-kidney-pudding that he was entitled to; and whether he will make inquiries about the matter with a view of having the punishment remitted?

Photo of Sir James Grigg Sir James Grigg , Cardiff East

My hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. Private Davis was not entitled to the tins of food which were found in his possession. I am not prepared to interfere with the sentence.