HC Deb 29 August 1831 vol 6 cc761-2

Colonel Evans moved the printing of the petition of Mr. and Mrs. Deacle, which was laid before the House on Monday last. It was, he conceived, a very important petition, inasmuch as it affected a class of functionaries to whom, in a great measure, the administration of justice throughout the country was intrusted.

Lord Althorp

said, that when, on a preceding night, the petition was brought forward, he did not object to its being laid on the Table. He did not now object to the printing of it on the ground that it contained any thing disrespectful to the House; but he felt himself called on to do so on this ground—that if this petition were printed, as it contained allegations against the conduct of certain gentlemen, those gentlemen, in their own justification, would most probably come forward with other petitions, and thus the journals of the House would be made the vehicle of a paper war between the parties.

Sir Thomas Baring

said, that he would offer no observation with respect to printing the petition. With that point the House would deal just as it pleased. But there was one passage in the petition to which he wished to advert. A Magistrate was there accused of having tampered with a man named Barnes, who, it was alleged, was told, that in the event of his giving evidence against Mr. Deacle, he should not himself be prosecuted. With respect to that statement, he had the positive authority of Mr. Long, the Magistrate alluded to, and who was present when the transaction was represented as having occurred, to contradict it in the most positive terms.

Mr. O'Connell

said, that Mr. Deacle had not asserted that Mr. Long had made any such declaration to Barnes, but only that Barnes, when examined at the trial as a witness, declared he had done so. This statement it now appeared was wholly false, and yet the man who made it was one of the witnesses against Mr. Deacle. As the petition had already received extensive circulation, by the same means that the charge was conveyed to the public, he agreed with the noble Lord, that there was no necessity for printing it, to encourage rejoinders which it was likely the other parties interested, would desire to make to the allegations contained in it.

Mr. George Robinson

concurred in the sentiments of the hon. and learned Gentleman.

Sir Thomas Baring

hoped the House would give him credit so far, that (after being many years a Magistrate) he would not join in so absurd an act as to suggest or acquiesce in a proposal that a man should not be prosecuted if he would give evidence against another.

Colonel Evans withdrew his motion.

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