§ Mr. SNOWDEN
asked what is the maximum punishment which can be imposed upon a soldier for refusal to obey military orders by the commanding officer, by a regimental court-martial, and by a district court-martial; if a soldier can be given 339W imprisonment only by a district court-martial, and under what circumstances a sentence of detention and not imprisonment can be given; if soldiers who disobeyed military orders through conscientious objection can secure that they will be given a sentence of imprisonment and not detention; and, if so, what steps should a soldier take to secure a sentence of imprisonment and not detention?
§ Mr. TENNANT
As regards the first part of the question, the punishment for refusing to obey a lawful command is set out in Section 9 of the Army Act. A commanding officer cannot award any greater punishment than twenty-eight days' detention. A regimental court-martial cannot award a sentence of death, penal servitude or imprisonment, nor more than forty-two days' detention. A district court-martial cannot award a sentence of death or penal servitude. As regards the second part, a sentence of detention may be given in lieu of imprisonment for any offence for which imprisonment may be awarded—detention being a less severe punishment than imprisonment. A soldier can always claim trial by district court-martial when detention is to be awarded by his commanding officer. The answer to the third part is "No"— this rests with the Court by whom he is tried, but Army Order 179/1916 instructs Courts to award imprisonment in such cases. The last part of the question does not arise.
Mr. E. HARVEY
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been called to the treatment during his detention in military custody at Chelmsford of Mr. Harold Reulhe, a conscientious objector to military service; whether he was struck, knocked down, kicked, and otherwise maltreated; and whether measures are being taken by the authorities to prevent this method of treating men in his position from being employed?
§ Mr. TENNANT
I am making inquiries, but in the meantime I must not be taken as accepting the allegations contained in the question.