§ MR. ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies what law of Natal empowers the Government of that Colony to arrest a British subject and detain him month after month in prison, as has been done in the case of Dinizulu, without formulating and informing the prisoner of the definite charge against him.
I beg further to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Dinizulu is still confined to prison, and in that case have his legal advisers full access to him and to any papers that they may deem necessary, especially such as were taken from Dinizulu when arrested; whether any definite charges against Dinizulu have been formulated and communicated to him; 1240 and whether the date of his trial has been fixed.
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE FOR THE COLONIES (Colonel SEELY,) Liverpool, Abercromby
Perhaps I may take my right hon. friend's two Questions together. Dinuzulu is still confined to prison. The utmost access to the prisoner has, I am assured, all along been given to his counsel. The proceedings against Dinuzulu are being taken under the Ordinance of 1845 for regulating the manner of proceeding in criminal cases in Natal, and the indictment which will specify the exact charges on which the prisoner will be tried unless discharged by the magistrate, cannot as I understand be framed until he has been committed for trial. The long delay is regrettable, and the Secretary of State has been in communication with the Governor of Natal on the subject, who has telegraphed the following reply from Ministers:—"Dinuzulu's preliminary examination is proceeding as already stated and until it is completed no date can be fixed for trial. No papers were taken from him. He had between the date he was told to surrender and the date of his surrender some five days in which to arrange for the disposal of any correspondence. What this Government has is a mass of papers evidently abandoned and thrown about on the floor and elsewhere." The Secretary of State is again pressing for an answer as to the conclusion of the preliminary examination, even if only an approximate date can be given at the moment. I may add that Dinuzulu's advisers have full access to all statements and depositions used by or before the magistrate, with liberty to cross examine witnesses on them, and the Government of Natal has promised to give the usual opportunities to the defence to collect evidence before the trial comes on. I would remind my right hon. friend that, as my predecessor stated in reply to a question which he put on the 31st of March, if any grievance as to the course of the proceedings is felt to exist by Dinizulu's advisers, application can be made on his behalf to the higher Courts.
§ COLONEL SEELY
said no; so far as the Ordinance was concerned, there was no limit of time, but he thought it was reasonable to assume that the delay would not be inordinate. The Secretary of State was pressing to be informed as to the approximate length of the proceedings.
§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
asked if there was any reason to suppose that the prolongation of the proceedings was with the idea of finding evidence to support charges which it was not yet possible to formulate—whether, in fact, it was a fishing inquiry.
§ COLONEL SEELY
said there was nothing at the Colonial Office that would give colour to such a suggestion. Though regrettable in many ways, so far as he had information the delay was not objected to by Dinizulu's counsel.