Charge (Court of Inquiry)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th April 1945.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst 12:00 am, 11th April 1945

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will set up a committee of inquiry, whose chairman shall be independent and at which evidence can be taken on oath, in the case of Miss Middleton, of which particulars have been sent him.

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

No, Sir. This case has been fully investigated by a properly constituted Service court of inquiry, at which evidence was taken on oath.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Miss Middleton, against whom this very serious charge was brought, claims she was not in court all the time and had no opportunity of cross-examining other witnesses? As this was a travesty of British justice, will the right hon. Gentleman order a new inquiry?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

No, Sir, certainly not. It was a thoroughly competent and careful inquiry and this very serious charge was brought, not against Miss Middleton, but by her against a doctor employed in the Royal Air Force. It was most patiently inquired into, and I am convinced that the report of the court of inquiry is correct.

Photo of Sir Waldron Smithers Sir Waldron Smithers , Chislehurst

Was she allowed to cross-examine witnesses?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

No, Sir, she herself was a witness. She was not the accused; the doctor was the accused.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Can the Minister say whether Miss Middleton was present throughout the whole of the inquiry and had an opportunity of making any observations she thought fit, or conducting any cross-examination which she thought the evidence warranted?

Photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair Sir Archibald Sinclair , Caithness and Sutherland

As a witness, of course she was not present throughout the whole of the inquiry. The accused was present throughout the whole of the inquiry.