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Courts Of Inquiry (Reports)

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for War the reasons for the general policy of not publishing the reports of courts of inquiry, such as that which investigated the death of Sister Anthony, in view of the widespread demand that the full facts should be published.

The reason for this policy is that witnesses should have every protection in giving the fullest possible statement of the facts, and the court itself should have the assurance that its opinions will not be made public and will only reach those whose duty it is to consider the findings.

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware, despite the answer he has given, that there is a good deal of public disquiet about this matter, and that it is in the public interest not only that justice should be done but that justice should be seen to be done?

This procedure has gone on for a long time, and I am confident that it is wise that proceedings of this nature should not be published. There is, however, nothing to stop a statement giving the general terms of the findings of the court, and that is done in many cases.