HC Deb 14 March 1867 vol 185 cc1802-3

said, he wished to ask Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Whether he has taken any steps to investigate the two cases of Homicide which occurred at Dungarvan, and which formed the subject of the Coroner's Inquests held there; and, whether his attention has been called to the observations of Mr. Justice O'Hagan to the Grand Jury of Waterford upon that subject?


said, in reply, that two inquests were held at Dungarvan upon the bodies of two persons who mot their deaths at the county of Waterford election. Those inquests were returned to the Crown Office, and through that office to the Crown solicitor of that circuit. On the 5th of February the depositions and the finding of the jury were laid before him, and on the 16th of February he gave instructions to the Crown Solicitor to the following purport:— Without coming to any conclusion as to the legal character of the homicides, I think every inquiry should be directed to ascertain by whom the homicides, or either of them, were caused, and of identifying the individuals. The Crown Solicitor should communicate with the county inspector of constabulary to ascertain if any faith worthy person can depose as to identity; he should also apply to the military authorities for the names of the soldiers engaged at Dungarvan, and if any faithworthy person comes forward, or can be found, who can identify the individual soldier or soldiers alleged to have caused the death of O'Brien or Keily, a communication should be made to the colonel of the regiment to have the soldiers who were at Dungarvan paraded for the purpose of identification. He had received various communications from the Crown Solicitor subsequent to those instructions, and he felt satisfied that the Crown Solicitor had used every possible exertion to identify the individuals in question. With regard to the second branch of the question, Mr. Justice O'Hagan was reported in The Freeman's Journal newspaper to have said, in charging the grand jury on the 5th of March— There were two cases of homicide arising out of the late election, in one of which the jury had found a verdict of 'manslaughter,' and in the other a verdict of 'wilful murder.' Bills could not be sent up to them at the present assizes in either of those cases, the occurrence of which he deeply deplored, and trusted that the cause of them would be made the subject of searching investigation. He thought it right to say that he attributed very little importance to the finding of the jury in one of these cases, in which they found a verdict of wilful murder. Although the counsel for the next of kin to the deceased closed an excited and exciting speech by demanding the highest verdict of the law, which was manslaughter, the jury, with a feeling of liberality which the learned Gentleman could not have imagined, actually found a verdict of wilful murder.