Oral Answers to Questions — Free Pardon (Fireman, Sheffield)

– in the House of Commons on 26th November 1942.

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Photo of Mr Cecil Wilson Mr Cecil Wilson , Sheffield, Attercliffe

asked the Home Secretary of State whether a copy of the Warrant under the Royal Sign Manual for a free pardon is sent to the person most concerned or only when the person asks for it; why, in the case of Fireman Spink, of Sheffield, whose conviction was upon the court and police records, whose finger prints and photograph were held by several police forces, no intimation of the free pardon was received by the Sheffield court or police until two months after the warrant has been signed, so that the conviction remained upon the records; and whether this is the usual practice when a free pardon is granted?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

With regard to the first part of the Question, it has not been the invariable practice to send a copy of a free pardon to the person concerned, but a copy was sent to Fireman Spink as soon as it was known that he wished to have it. With regard to the second part of the Question, a notification was sent to the clerk to the justices as soon as it had been decided to recommend the grant of a free pardon. In the course of subsequent inquiries it was discovered that this notification had never been received, and a copy was at once sent to the clerk to the justices. The first communication was on 15th May and the second on 21st July.

Photo of Mr Cecil Wilson Mr Cecil Wilson , Sheffield, Attercliffe

In a case where very grave injustice has been done and a free pardon is granted, should it not be granted in the most generous, frank way possible and not merely because it is asked for?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

There is no lack of frankness about it, but there is point in what my hon. Friend says, and I have given instructions that a copy of the pardon shall be sent in each case.

Photo of Mr Cecil Wilson Mr Cecil Wilson , Sheffield, Attercliffe

In sending a pardon that has been asked for, is it in accordance with the dignity of the Crown and of this House that it should simply be signed by a typist—"Herbert Morrison"?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

I think my hon. Friend is wrong. My recollection is that I signed it personally by my right name, which is Herbert Morrison. I am talking about the one that I signed. I cannot sign a dozen. This is probably a copy. I will check it up, but my recollection is that I always sign these personally.

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

As it is admitted that this man was wrongly imprisoned, will my right hon. Friend look up precedents as to whether any solace can be given him?