16 JULY 1948, Page 5

There is something curious and rather disturbing about the appearance

of a conscientious objector, as such, before the Court of Criminal Appeal, for however misguided such a man may seem, or actually be, there is manifestly nothing in the remotest degree criminal about him. Let that, however, be considered merely as a matter of terminology and procedure. The problem set by Peter Green, aged 18, remains. He is a boy, I believe, of particularly good character—a fact with which his refusal to undertake military service can obviously have some association. But he not only refused service, he refused to be medically examined, and he refused to be registered as a conscientious objector. 'What was the court before which he was brought to do ? Their problem was almost insoluble, for the law cannot simply be defied, and the Military Service Act gives exceedingly reasonable treatment to conscientious objectors. But nothing could be more inappropriate than the sentence the court did pass—three years' detention at a Borstal Institution. That was recognised by the Court of Criminal Appeal, which on Monday varied the sentence to twelve months' imprisonment. It is a heavy punishment. It will do no one any good—certainly not Peter Green, unless he is a John Bunyan in the making. Yet what are you to do with a C.O. who, on what he is convinced on the highest grounds, refuses any form of alternative service ? One thing one man can do. The Home Secretary can order release when he thinks enough of the sentence has been served ; I hope he will.