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Mr Hugh Christopher Thorne

Volume 929: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why an award of compensation of only £3,000 was offered to Mr. Hugh Christopher Thorne, a former barrister, in respect of whom neglect and mal-administration over a period of 55 years has been admitted; and whether he will arrange for a further investigation into the case.

Mr. Thorne, a former solicitor, was convicted of a criminal breach of trust in Malaya in 1922. He obtained a Royal Pardon from His Highness the Sultan of Perak in 1964. Subsequently the English Courts of Appeal dismissed Mr. Thorne's claim for damages against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and refused him leave to appeal to the House of Lords. Nevertheless on 24th February 1977 Mr. Thome was offered an ex-gratia grant of £3,000 as a sincerely intended expression of sympathy. It was made clear that the payment was made in the absence of any legal liability and it was not in any way to be regarded as compensation. I do not consider that further investigation into this case is necessary.