Oral Answers to Questions — Germany (Brian Cowell)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th April 1967.

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Photo of Mr Walter Loveys Mr Walter Loveys , Chichester 12:00 am, 17th April 1967

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is satisfied with the correctness of the translation made by his Department of the sentence passed by the German Court on Brian Cowell given in reply to the honourable Member for Chichester (Mr. Loveys) on 30th July, 1964; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

The charge on which Brian Cowell was sentenced was described as "murder in the course of robbery with extreme violence". Literally translated, the relevant extract from the German Penal Code could be rendered into English as "murder in conjunction with especially grave robbery".

The literal translation has no meaning in English law. The description originally given was intended to provide an indication of the comparable charge.

Photo of Mr Walter Loveys Mr Walter Loveys , Chichester

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the parents of Brian Cowell, who are constituents of mine, are most concerned with the use of the words "extreme violence", which did not appear in the actual court transcript? Would the hon. Gentleman change the description of the sentence to bring it more into line with the literal translation?

Photo of Mr William Rodgers Mr William Rodgers , Stockton-on-Tees

I think that what I have said this afternoon should go some way to reassure the hon. Gentleman's constituents.