HC Deb 04 July 1822 vol 7 cc1500-2
The Marquis of Londonderry

, seeing an hon. member in his place who had given notice of a motion respecting the Chief Baron of Ireland, wished to ask him if he would object to postpone his motion to an early period of the next session? Under the present pressure of business, he thought such a course would best satisfy the ends of justice. It would be remembered, that at the end of the last session the charge preferred by the hon. gentleman, with the answer of the chief baron, was referred to a committee. The committee reported that there were several circumstances which called for explanation, which were not to be found in the answer of the chief baron. A farther inquiry subsequently took place, the report of which, he believed, did not reach the House till about a month from the time at which he was speaking. It was necessary that this second report should be laid before the chief baron, for his consideration and review. It had been forwarded to him. He had read and commented on it; but his letter on the subject had not been received till within the last ten days. It had been printed for the use of the House, but had not been in the hands of the members more than seven or eight days. He was therefore of opinion, that the ends of substantial justice would best be answered by postponing the motion.

Mr. Spring Rice

was anxious to take, in the first instance, whatever step might best promote the ends of justice; and in the next, whatever might be most consistent with the dignity and convenience of that House. It was true, that if the business were now hurried on, much inconvenience would arise from commencing proceedings at a period of the session when it was impossible to carry them to a conclusion. But there was another in convenience; that of keeping a charge pending over the head of an individual, without bringing the case forward. For doing this, which must be the consequence of acceding to the noble marquis's proposition, he hoped he should not be held responsible. He did not mean to say that any blame attached to the noble lord opposite, as, upon the whole, he considered the course which he had suggested to be the best that could be taken. There was, however, another consideration of some importance. It was proper to consider how far an individual could with propriety continue in the administration of justice against whom such a charge had been preferred. If any means could be devised to prevent this, so that the party might remain prepared to meet the accusation directed against him, without in the meantime acting as a judge, it would be very desirable that such an arrangement should be made.—The nobles marquis had admitted the importance of the charge to be such, that it must be brought to some decisive issue, tending, as he (Mr. S. Rice) could say with as sincere a hope as the noble lord, either to the complete exoneration, of the chief baron, or leading to a judicial inquiry of the most serious consequences. Such being the admitted importance of the case, he thought the government would not be justified if they did not now look into it, and act decisively for themselves.