§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, that he was not averse to proceedings in Courts of Law being criticized by the press; on the contrary, he believed such criticism exerted a very beneficial influence in the country. He had no objection whatever to Judges, counsel, witnesses, and all parties being fairly dealt with by the critic. The particular journal to which he referred—The Times—lately published an article of consummate ability relative to a cause of great importance, but the criticism which he was about to notice referred to a criminal trial which recently took place in Mona- 448 ghan, arising out of the last election for that county, and he now asked the permission of the House to make a few remarks upon what was reported to have then occurred. He did not intend to complain of the criticisms of the journal which had yesterday taken up the matter; his object was simply to state the facts. On the 22nd of July, on the Saturday, the electors of the county of Monaghan were invited to record their votes at the very pleasing and formerly happy village of Castle Blayney, and a number of those electors assembled in the domain of a gentleman situate in the immediate neighbourhood of that place. The night previous to the election the Government very properly sent a military and a police force into Castle Blayney. The House should understand that a new theory had been broached in Ireland, which was not very satisfactory to the electors—namely, that the non-electors should attend the electors on the day of election, and dispose of them as might be found most convenient. He believed all parties to be most amicably disposed towards each other. The Government sent to the town a stipendiary magistrate and an additional force of police. On Friday night a large body of electors arrived there, and there was a disturbance, but the police authorities got the better of the rioters, a number of whom were seized, and very properly prosecuted, and prosecuted to conviction by the Government. A large body of non-electors also assembled in the town on the morning on which the polling took place, who were pleased to receive in not a very polite manner those adventurous voters who went to the poll, who in return called them, without the slightest respect, a mob. It also appeared that early on the Saturday morning a number of electors, who entered the town without any guard, were in a very disagreeable manner, legs foremost, removed from the car on which they were conveyed, and carried off by persons employed for that purpose. As soon as the resident magistrate was informed of the fact he proceeded to the place where those men were confined, and released them, and they afterwards voted for one of the candidates. That part of the proceedings passed off, but a party of 200 electors—a number sufficient to turn the election—arrived in the town from a place called Ballybay to vote for the Conservative candidate, accompanied by the old rector of the parish. It was a question of considerable nicety how to get those men to the poll. It had been thought 449 better to place them in a special train, to which no one but the electors were admitted, and thus to convey them to Castle Blayney, where they would be received by a guard. They reached that town about eleven o'clock. One of the voters, a most respectable man, having been hustled by a number of persons, the magistrate swore that he took him to the polling-booth, and seeing that he had a pistol, asked him to give it to him. The man, whose name was Gray, did so, the pistol was afterwards restored to him, and there was nothing further remarkable in the circumstance. Gray was a man whose father was described by Mr. Wyse in his history of the Catholic Association as having taken an honourable part in the Catholic question, and there was no reason why he should have any dislike towards the person whom he was accused of having murdered. It appeared, however, that after the 200 electors had voted, it became a matter for consideration what was to be done with them until the starting of the special train, which was not to leave the town till three o'clock. Permission was obtained for them to enter the domain of the gentleman whom he had already mentioned, and there they remained for two hours enjoying the scenery until the magistrate was ready to convey them back to the railway station. Accompanied by a troop of fifty Lancers, consisting of an advanced guard, a rear guard, and flanks, the electors, well-protected in the centre, were escorted by a back way—for the magistrate very properly determined that it was not desirable to take them through the street—but when they reached a passage leading to the cattle-market a shower of stones and brickbats was hurled at them by the mob. One of the Lancers swore that he had his jaw broken, and that he suffered under the injury which he sustained for three or four months. The old rector of the parish was struck twice. No shots were fired for the best of all reasons, because they had, he believed, no firearms. The voters and their escort, however, reached the station about half past two, thus, unfortunately, having half an hour to wait for the starting of the special train. During that time, being obliged to stay where they were, they were attacked on all sides, and wherever they appeared they were pelted with stones. The magistrate read the Riot Act, and a lieutenant of Lancers, it was said without authority, charged the mob at the head of his men. During that interval it was that the event 450 occurred to which attention had been called in the article to which he referred. A man named Shevelin was struck twice on the head; the doctor said not dangerously; but then somebody rushed forward suddenly, fired, and shot him dead. The question was whether the prisoner Gray was the man who was guilty of the murder. The Crown contended that he was, and it might be remarked that he belonged to the Conservative, or, as it was more distinctly called in the part of the country in question, the Protestant party. On the trial four witnesses were produced on behalf of the Crown. The first was a Lancer—a man named Heffernan, who said he was present on the occasion when Shevelin was shot; that he saw the ear of the man who fired, but not his face, and that he believed the prisoner, judging from his figure, to be that person. He could not, however, identify him, and added that the whole affair lasted not more than half a minute. Another Lancer gave evidence, who swore that he had a front view of the man who fired the shot, and that that man was not the prisoner. But the Crown produced, and very properly produced, a boy who said that he saw the disturbance, that there was a wall seven feet high between him and the station, but that he managed to raise himself up so that he had a view of what was going on, and he undertook to identify the prisoner as the man who fired the shot, although he had never seen him before. A surveyor, having drawn a plan of the place, stated that it was possible to see the figure of the man from the spot where the boy described himself as having been stationed, but not the lineaments of his face. None of the other witnesses carried the case further, and the trial taking place on Saturday and not being finished, it was adjourned till Monday. Now came the circumstances of which he complained. On the Sunday morning, before they went to church, the persons interested for the defence found the names of two persons, Kearnan and Wilde, on the back of the indictment, who were to come forward as witnesses for the prosecution without having previously made any deposition or statement which would enable Gray's solicitors to know who or what they were, or what it was they were about to prove; illustrating the saying of Curran as to an apparition appearing suddenly in the witness-box to be the supreme arbiter of life and death. Those two persons, it was discovered on Sunday, lived 451 in the top room of a not very good house, paying 8d. a week for their lodgings, and it was shown that a person standing up or sitting down in that room could not see the railway station, although by lying down and placing himself in a crouching position he might obtain a view of it. It appeared, moreover, during the progress of the trial that a committee had been formed to procure subscriptions for the purpose of securing the conviction of the accused man, and accordingly these two witnesses appeared and swore that they saw the man who fired the shot through a window through which it was almost impossible that he could be seen without looking askance. He might add that they had been present at the inquest on the body of the man who was killed, which was held quite close to their house, and yet they had never given any information as to what they had seen until afterwards, so that they came before the Court under very suspicious circumstances. Yet the statement which had inadvertently been made the day before in a journal of vast influence was that four witnesses clearly identified the man, which was a complete misapprehension of the case. Under these circumstances the prisoner was properly acquitted; but what he (Mr. Whiteside) complained of was, that the case had been so strained, that these men who were neither examined at the inquest nor before the grand jury, should have been allowed to come forward at the last moment and endeavour to swear an innocent man's life away. It was no objection that the jury was composed of Protestants, because the number of Protestants on the panel was large. As to the statement that the High Sheriff conducted a body of voters to the poll, he had only to say that that gentleman was not High Sheriff at the time, and he acted as he did because he was told by a magistrate that he ought to protect those voters. That was all he did, and he never interfered in the trial, which was conducted in the usual course of law. It had been rightly said that this man was armed, but he was armed in self-defence, and he produced four witnesses to prove that he was not the man who fired the shot. He thought the House had a right to expect that the Attorney General for Ireland would not in future allow unauthorized persons to interfere in prosecutions, bat would leave them to be conducted by the proper functionaries.
§ SIR PATRICK O'BRIEN
said, it was not his intention to find fault with the 452 verdict of the jury, but he must say that prosecutions in Ireland ought to be conducted on fair principles, and that juries should be so constituted as to induce the people to have perfect confidence in the impartial administration of justice. He protested against the very small proportion of Roman Catholics returned to the sheriff in the list from which the jury was taken, and also that the person who made it out should be the barony constable. He conceived that the system of jury panelling in Ireland was well worthy the attention of the Government. The persons who made the jury-book were the barony constables, and they were elected by the county grand juries, which were so constituted as to have a one-sided character.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, he thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University (Mr. Whiteside), had erred against the usual practice of not travelling beyond the terms of his Notice in commenting on the proceedings of a legal tribunal. He fancied, from the notice given by the right hon. Gentleman, that his statement would relate to the conduct of the High Sheriff. But what had the right hon. Gentleman done? He had given a graphic and a more or less correct account of the Monaghan election. The right hon. Gentleman produced no authority for his statement, but only said that it was a true account. Now, it so happened that, living in the neighbouring county, he had himself formed as to the facts of the case an opinion totally at variance with the statements of the right hon. Gentleman. [Mr. WHITESIDE: They were all proved.] But the right hon. Gentleman did not say where or when they were proved. Statements with respect to elections in Ireland were not unfrequently made in that House which afterwards turned out to be inaccurate. The statements made by the right hon. Gentleman must have reference to what passed at the trial, and the right hon. Gentleman constituted himself a volunteer reporter, and gave his own summary of the evidence on what was, after all, a collateral issue, because the question as to the manner in which the election was conducted was not before the jury. He thought it most undesirable that counsel engaged in trials, criminal or otherwise, should come to that House and give their own statements of the evidence which had been adduced. With respect to the trial at Monaghan, the simple fact was that a man had been tried for murder and acquitted by 453 a jury of his countrymen. Unfortunately, religious differences and animosities greatly interfered with the impartiality of juries in Ireland. It was therefore most desirable that every effort should be made to put the constitution of juries above suspicion. Riots, as they all knew, had taken place at Belfast, in which several murders were committed. There were the most aggravated assaults on both sides, yet not one single conviction had been obtained at the assizes, He did not charge partiality on the juries exclusively on one side. In one part of the country a jury of Roman Catholics would invariably acquit; in another a jury of Protestants would as invariably acquit. It was therefore advisable to act as far as possible on the direction giving by Baron Pigott in a certain case to obtain a jury of half Roman Catholics and half Protestants. The result in that case was that a satisfactory verdict was obtained. The case tried at Monaghan was a very remarkable one. It was a case of murder, which occurred when a party of voters were retiring from a contested election. The greatest possible prejudice existed on both sides, and the verdict necessarily depended on the constitution of the jury. The High Sheriff, it was admitted, had taken a very strong part at the election.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, that he had already stated as a matter of fact that the High Sheriff, Mr. Lucas, was not High Sheriff at the time of the election. He acted merely as an ordinary private gentleman.
§ MR. O'REILLY
said, that he had no intention of misleading the House. He thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had said that the gentleman who became High Sheriff in 1866 did conduct voters to the poll in 1865. That was the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. [Mr. WHITESIDE: No!] The High Sheriff who presided at the assizes, and who formed the jury panel, had taken a leading part in the election. The same gentleman, Mr. Lucas, in 1838 had been charged with a want of impartiality in the administration of justice as a magistrate. An inquiry was ordered by the then Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and Mr. Lucas was dismissed from the commission of the peace. The right hon. Gentleman was not quite accurate in saying that it was to be expected that a majority of the jurors in Monaghan should be Protestants. He lived within a mile or two of the county, and he knew that a 454 majority of the farmers were Roman Catholics. [Mr. WHITESIDE: Not of the jury panel.] There were fifty-seven Catholics on the list of jurors. At the trial there were five peremptory challenges—three of Catholics and two of Protestants of Liberal opinions, but no one was ordered by the Crown to stand aside. A jury of twelve Protestants were empannelled, who were known to hold strong political opinions, to try a ease in which strong political prejudices might be expected to influence men's minds. The result was a verdict of acquittal. That the trial was influenced by the jury panel was an opinion strongly entertained in Monaghan. It was most undesirable that such a state of things; should exist, and serious blame was attributable to the Law Officers of the Crown, who ought to have taken steps to secure the impartial administration of justice in Ireland. Very lately the Law Officers of the Crown had to conduct a series of political trials, and they had conducted them very well; but it was notorious that they had ordered a considerable number of jurors to stand aside because they believed, and rightly, that their political prejudices would influence their verdict. He blamed them for not even seeking to prevent the appearance of partiality in the constitution of juries in Monaghan. There was such a thing in criminal trials as changing the venue. That had been done in the case of the Rev. Father Peter Conway, where the venue was changed from Mayo to Dublin. The Law Officers of the Crown were perfectly aware of these facts; their attention was drawn to the desirableness for the interests of the administration of justice that the constitution of the panel should be closely watched, and they must have known before the trial took place the actual constitution of the panel, and the singular exclusion from it of Roman Catholics. He could not understand, therefore, why the Government should not have changed the venue of the trial. He should also mention that two men who were holding and beating the murdered man when he was shot in the back, were also tried by a jury consisting exclusively of Protestants, the only Roman Catholic who was called being desired to stand aside, it might be not without good reason. He believed the father of these men had been accused of slaying three men at different times in the same county. He had been convicted for murder, but the verdict was quashed at the time of Mr. O'Connell's appeal on 455 technical grounds. [Mr. WHITESIDE said, that the father was convicted only of firing with intent to kill.] He had only alluded to these things to show how the impression in Ireland had originated; that impartiality in such trials was not to be expected. He thought some explanation was required from the Law Officers of Ireland as to this case. The facts he had detailed were sufficient to account for the want of confidence in the administration which prevailed among the Irish people. There was one passage in the article in The Times to which the right hon. Gentleman had not referred. It was as follows:—Mr. Whiteside, who conducted Gray's defence with great ability, put the whole matter in a light perfectly intelligible to an Ulster jury when he stated that Shevelin's death, however much to be deplored, might be a salutary lesson to riotous mobs of non-electors.He was surprised to find that the right hon. Gentleman had made no remark on this passage.
§ MR. SULLIVAN
said, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University had not adhered to the terms of his notice, which was to draw attention to certain statements in the leading journal—The Times—reflecting on the administration of justice in the county of Monaghan by the High Sheriff of that county. He (Mr. Sullivan) did not expect, after reading that notice, to hear a long account of the circumstances which led to the trial which had been mentioned. The only passage in the article of The Times which reflected on the High Sheriff was this—In this very instance the Orange contingent is alleged to have been led by Mr. Lucas, the present High Sheriff, and if this be true it is certainly an untoward circumstance that a gentleman personally interested in the transaction to be investigated should now fill that responsible position.As one of the officers of the Crown he must say it would have been much better if Mr. Lucas had not been High Sheriff at the time of this trial. Not that he thought that gentleman would be influenced by party considerations in the discharge of the onerous duties imposed upon him in that capacity; but the administration of justice ought ever to be above suspicion, and the people could not be expected to rely on the impartial administration of the law unless that principle was strictly observed. He quite allowed, therefore, that the case called for some explanation, and this he would proceed at once to give. High 456 Sheriffs in Ireland, as the House were probably aware, were selected by the Executive from three names which were sent in for each county by the Judges, and the invariable usage was to select the first gentleman on the list. [Cries of "No, no!"] He should, perhaps, have said the usual course was to do so, and the first name on the list was not-set aside without some grave reason. In the present instance, the only person really able to determine whether the part taken by Mr. Lucas in the election disqualified him from being High Sheriff this year was his right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Lawson), and his right hon. Friend, not being able to address the House a second time, authorized him to state that he took upon himself whatever blame the appointment might be thought to deserve. The fact was that his right hon. Friend fully intended to call the attention of the Lord Lieutenant to the circumstances of the case, not that he thought Mr. Lucas had interfered in the election in any way which would render his position as High Sheriff an embarrassing one, but he conceived that it would be better to avoid any suspicion of partiality. Owing, however, to the enormous pressure of business connected with the proceedings of the Special Commission for the trial of the Fenian prisoners, the appointment of Mr. Lucas, as Sheriff, was made before the Attorney General had an opportunity of conferring with his Excellency. Considering, then, that for the Government to supersede the High Sheriff on the very eve of the trial would have been open to grave imputation, the best course seemed to be not to meddle with the appointment, his right hon. Friend believing that Mr. Lucas would discharge his duty with the utmost fairness, and a close investigation had satisfied the Government that he had done so. With the result of the trial no reasonable person acquainted with the principles of our law could find fault, and the reasons for that opinion could not be better stated than in the very article on which the right hon. Member for Dublin University had commented. Its words were these—The swearing on both sides was so hard, and the undoubted fact of great confusion prevailing at the time was so favourable to the defence, that an acquittal was inevitable.The evidence was so conflicting that it could not be said that there was no reasonable doubt of the prisoner's guilt, and to the benefit of that doubt the prisoner was 457 entitled. One other point he must allude to. What was the motive of the right hon. Gentleman in giving the whole history of the transaction he could hardly say. At one moment he thought his intention was to argue that the act was justifiable, and to a certain extent that seemed to be his object. It had been said by the right hon. Gentleman in his defence of the prisoner—That some good might arise from what had taken place, because it would deter others from interfering to prevent the right of voting.Such language was an unnecessary and an indefensible appeal to the passions of the jury. He (Mr. Sullivan) maintained that the man's death was as clear a murder as was ever committed His life was wantonly taken without provocation, and when the voters were sufficiently protected. Under these circumstances, he put it to his right hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Whiteside) whether his observations merely were not calculated to rouse party passions, which it was the paramount duty of every Member of that House to endeavour to appease. The hon. Member for Longford was right in saying that the venue might have been changed. No doubt the Law Officers of the Crown were bound to consider this point. They did so, and came to the conclusion that they could not go to the Court of Queen's Bench and say that a fair trial could not be had in the county of Monaghan, which was a condition precedent to the consent of the Court to a change of venue. With respect to the setting aside of jurors, no man was directed to stand aside on the ground of his religious or political opinions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) had hinted at some aid having been given by some committee or other to the Crown in the prosecution. There was not a particle of foundation for such a statement. The administration of justice did not, either in England or Ireland, admit of such aid, and nothing was more strictly watched by the Crown prosecutors in Ireland than any interference by collateral or interested parties. He would submit, in conclusion, that the Law Officers of the Crown had done their duty and that no blame attached to them in this matter.
§ MR. GEORGE
said, he must express his astonishment that a simple Notice such as that placed upon the Paper by his right hon. and learned Friend should have led to a debate of such a character. His (Mr. Whiteside's) object was to correct an in- 458 advertent and mistaken report in the leading journal of the day in reference to the manner in which his hon. and learned Friend, as the counsel engaged, had conducted this case. His object was twofold—first, to state that nothing of corruption or impropriety of conduct had appeared in the acts of the Sheriff or the swearing of the jury, and next to correct an unfair imputation that four credible witnesses had sworn to the identity of the man who was upon his trial. He did not believe that his right hon. and learned Friend had the slightest intention of impugning the conduct of the Law Officers of the Crown. [Mr. WHITESIDE: Hear, hear!] It was, however, an unusual thing that any one should be allowed to interfere with a Crown prosecution, and it was stated on the trial that a committee had been appointed and funds collected to get up evidence in order to patch up the case. His right hon. and learned Friend had shown that there was no ground for impeaching the conduct of the Sheriff.
§ MR. SERJEANT ARMSTRONG
said, that having read the article in The Times the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Whiteside) was not satisfied with coming from the county of Monaghan with his blushing honours thick upon him, but he must come down to that House determined to have a second verdict in his favour—determined to be not only his own reporter but almost his own trumpeter, and demanding of the House in effect to have the case re-tried. The right hon. and learned Gentleman had called in question the main statement on which the comments of The Times were founded—namely, that four persons had deposed to the fact that the prisoner Gray had inflicted the deadly wound upon the deceased man. Now, he was not himself about to ask the House to re-try the case or to travel again over the evidence; and he must say that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, having earned his fee and come back to this country to spend it, as an Irish gentleman ought, should have rested content, and should not have expected a re-investigation of the case. But, as the right hon. and learned Member had taken upon himself to challenge the accuracy of the statement of The Times, he must, on his own part, state that four persons did depose that the prisoner Gray was the man who discharged the fatal shot. There were some observations, perhaps, in the article of The Times to which the right 459 hon. and learned Gentleman—if he did not in his own mind regret the language which he had used at Monaghan—might have objected. Certainly, he had employed a strength of expression which, however it might be pardoned as coming from the counsel for a prisoner, who sometimes took great licence, particularly in Ireland, no man would venture to repeat in this House or in any reasonable society in this country. [Mr. WHITESIDE: I say that not only would I repeat it—"Order, order!"] He was astonished that some feeling of annoyance at The Times having presumed to animadvert upon his conduct should have induced the right hon. and learned Gentleman to bring the matter forward. He himself repudiated the notion of there retrying that case; but when the attention Of the House had been invited to an alleged misstatement of the leading journal, he must take leave to point out that the fact to which he had referred was testified to by four witnesses. With respect to what had been said about the committee at Castle Blayney for getting up subscriptions for the prosecution, he must distinctly state that on that occasion neither he himself as representing the Attorney General for Ireland, nor the eminent and learned Gentlemen who were associated with him in the case, nor the Crown Solicitor, nor any person on the staff connected with the Crown, had to his knowledge or belief any communication with or assistance from that committee or any person acting on its behalf. They knew nothing at all about it, and went to Monaghan perfectly ready to conduct their own case. As to the production of witnesses who had not sworn informations in the ordinary way, no one knew better than the hon. and learned Member for Wexford (Mr. George) that it was not a sufficient reason for rejecting the testimony of a witness in Ireland that he had hesitated till a late period, or even till the Assizes, to give his evidence. Sometimes in Ireland it was difficult to get witnesses to come forward at all. If a man and his wife went to the Crown Solicitor and stated that they both saw a certain thing done, and that they were ready to swear to it, what was the Crown Officer to do but to lay instructions to that effect before counsel? That had happened in this instance, and he and his learned colleagues therefore held a consultation, when it struck them all that of course the prisoner's counsel would animadvert upon the fact of 460 those witnesses having come forward at the last moment as being a circumstance throwing suspicion on their testimony. But the man and his wife were persons of good character, on which, after they had undergone cross-examination, no blemish was left. He had never seen or known them before himself, and it was not for him to have said that they were unworthy of credit, merely because they had delayed in regard to giving their evidence. The value of their evidence under all the circumstances was a matter to be left for the jury; and in any similar case he would to-morrow repeat the course he had taken. In what a position would counsel conducting prosecutions for the Crown be placed, if they assumed the responsibility of discarding such witnesses as perjurers? He maintained that after what had taken place in that House, the High Sheriff of the county came badly out of that business. He was a fine, bluff, honest, country gentleman, and when he came to read his Times of to-morrow morning, and found it recorded to all time that some twenty-eight years ago, "in the merry days when he was young," he was dismissed from the commission of the peace, he would be apt to exclaim, "This is what Mr. Whiteside has brought upon me; save me from my friends!" With respect to what had fallen from the hon. and gallant Member for Longford, he would only say that a rule had long prevailed that had been recommended by high authority, by which a certain class of persons were set aside at jury trials in Ireland wholly irrespective of creed. It had been a practice to set aside publicans, and probably the person referred to had been set aside under that rule. At all events, he could positively state he was not set aside because he was a Roman Catholic, and that he (Mr. Serjeant Armstrong) would be no party to so monstrous an Act. He might say with regard to the jury, that on a panel of about 300 not thirty were Roman Catholics, and of the 100 who answered to their names only nineteen were Roman Catholics. It followed that the prisoner, who could challenge twenty peremptorily, might have an exclusively Protestant jury, and, in fact, he had it. Still, having regard to the principles upon which the criminal law of the country was administered, by which the jury were always directed to give the prisoner the benefit of the doubt, in the present instance the jury were perfectly justified in giving their verdict of acquittal, as the 461 evidence was conflicting, and reasonably suggestive of a doubt.
§ MR. S. B. MILLER
said, he thought that Mr. Lucas had reason to complain of the way in which he had been dealt with in this discussion. He contended that the hon. Member for Longford had unjustly raked up a dismissal of that gentleman from office which took place: twenty-eight years ago. Since then Her Majesty's Government had thought it right to reinstate him as High Sheriff for the county; the Judges recommended Mr. Lucas for the office, and the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General had sanctioned that appointment. He had been struck by an observation that fell from the Solicitor General, that no person was allowed to assist in a ease conducted by the Crown. Now, from his own knowledge, he had found this statement to be incorrect. He knew that solicitors and counsel had been allowed to act with the counsel for the Crown, and he had himself held a brief under such circumstances. The next of kin had repeatedly instructed both solicitors and counsel, and they had taken their turn in the examination of witnesses. With respect to the time which had been occupied in the discussion, he did not think that the paragraph which had been referred to could have been made intelligible without giving a statement of the facts which had led to it.
§ MR. COGAN
said, he did not think the time of the House had been at all wasted in discussing the administration of justice in Ireland, and thought a great deal of credit was due to the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) for having brought the Monaghan trials under the notice of the House. There was a widespread feeling of astonishment and dissatisfaction at the manner in which the trials had been conducted, and it was a striking fact that the jury panels, consisting of 300 persons, contained the names of only fifty-seven Roman Catholics, and that the first panel contained no more than seven, so that under no circumstance could more than seven have been challenged. It was a matter of surprise, considering what happened years before, that the present Sheriff should be in that office at the time of the trials. He considered it the duty of the Government to deal with the jury laws in Ireland so as to prevent such a miscarriage of justice as had taken place in this instance, where a foul murder had been committed and no person had been made amenable to justice.