HC Deb 25 February 1869 vol 194 cc311-2

said, he would beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether, in the selection of those Fenian Convicts now proposed to be released, the course has been adopted usual in the remission of sentences of obtaining the approval of the Judge who tried each case?


, in reply, said, that in ordinary cases when a memorial was presented from a prisoner for a mitigation of punishment or a free pardon, that memorial was referred to the Judge who had tried the case. But in the present instance no such memorial had been received by the Government, and the question was not con- sidered as one respecting a mitigation of an ordinary sentence. On the contrary, it was regarded by the Government as a question to be decided by themselves and by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. What they did was to institute a most rigid examination into the case of each prisoner, and in conducting that examination they had the assistance of the Law Officers of the Crown, and more especially of the Attorney General. The examination was conducted in every case in reference to the character of the person and the circumstances of the case, and to all that came out at the trial. Having done that, Her Majesty's Government and the Lord Lieutenant were of opinion that it was their duty to decide the question solely on their own responsibility, and without inviting the Judges to share that responsibility.