During 1955, twelve naval ratings have been convicted by courts-martial on charges including striking their superior officers. Nine of the men concerned have not yet completed their sentences. I will circulate details of the sentences in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Can the First Lord say whether these convicted prisoners include Mr. McSporran, who had an unfortunate difference with an admiral? Is Mr. McSporran still in prison, and what point is there in keeping him in prison when he is no longer of any use to the Navy and could be doing useful work outside?
The list I have mentioned does include Mr. McSporran, whose sentence on consideration I considerably reduced. I cannot agree with the hon. Member. This is a disciplined Service, and any attempt to strike a superior officer is a very serious offence and must be severely punished.
Following are the sentences:
- 1 of 2 years' imprisonment, reduced to 1 year on review by the Admiralty.
- 1 of 30 months' imprisonment, reduced to 20 months.
- 2 of 18 months' detention.
- 1 of 15 months' detention, reduced to 9 months.
- 4 of 1 year's imprisonment.
- 2 of I year's detention.
- 1 of 9 months' imprisonment, reduced to 6 months.One of the men awarded 18 months' detention was subsequently sentenced to 3 years' imprisonment for threatening and attempting to use violence against his superior officer while undergoing his sentence of detention.In every case where a sentence of imprisonment was imposed it was accompanied by a sentence of dismissal from Her Majesty's Service.