HC Deb 07 May 1867 vol 187 cc89-90

said, he wished to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If his attention has been called to the revolting character of the sentence on the Fenian convicts, that in addition to the penalty of death by hanging, they are sentenced to be dragged on a hurdle to the place of execution, to be decapitated, and to have their bodies divided into four quarters and placed at the disposal of Her Majesty and Her Advisers; and, if the Law requires the passing of such a sentence; and, if so, if he will take an early opportunity of amending the Law in this respect?


replied, that the sentence for treason was prescribed by 54 Geo. III. c. 146, and was in the words to which the hon. Gentleman had alluded, and that was the sentence lately pronounced by the Lord Chief Justice in Ireland. The Court had no option under the provisions of the statute to omit any portion of the sentence, and the same statute was in force in all parts of the United Kingdom. It was, however, in the power of the Crown to remit any portion of the sentence, and as he considered that no Government would authorize the execution of any criminal convicted of high treason in a mode different from other criminals, he saw no present necessity for any alteration of the law.