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British Subject, Belgium (Trial)

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 1 June 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is satisfied that John Robert Norgan, ex-Lancashire Fusiliers, has received a fair trial in Belgium; whether he has been satisfied that his case was given a fair hearing in the Appeal Court; what official British representative was present at the first trial, and at the appeal; what reports have been received by the Foreign Office on the original trial; and whether a copy of the evidence can be placed in the Library of the House of Commons.

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the trial at Bruges was conducted in accordance with proper Belgian legal procedure and that Mr. Norgan was properly defended by a Belgian lawyer. No official British representative was present at the first trial, but His Majesty's Consul-General, Antwerp, visited Mr. Norgan in prison shortly after the verdict was given and satisfied himself as to the competency of Mr. Norgan's lawyer. Our Vice-Consul in Brussels attended the first hearing of the appeal at Brussels on 15th May and the second hearing on 30th May in company with the honorary legal adviser to His Majesty's Embassy. Further hearing of the appeal has been adjourned until 20th June.A transcript of the evidence, which consists of some hundred pages of testimony in Flemish and French, has been lent to His Majesty's Consul at Brussels, but cannot at present be removed from Belgium.