HC Deb 05 August 1872 vol 213 cc451-2

asked Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland, If he is aware that at the late assizes for the Queen's County eight Roman Catholics, several of them special jurors, were set aside by the Crown Solicitor in a trial concerning the burning of Judge Keogh's effigy; if he is prepared to state the reasons for the exclusion of these gentlemen; and, if it was done with his sanction or authority?


said, that the Crown Solicitor for the Queen's County, in common with all the other Crown Solicitors of Ireland, acted under certain rules issued by various Attorney Generals, the last having been issued by the present Vice Chancellor of Ireland. Those rules laid down that when, in any case, there was sufficient reason to believe that any person summoned to act as a juror was open to challenge, on account of partiality, or bodily or mental infirmity, such person should be ordered to stand by. That procedure was also to be adopted in case of persons who might be resident in any locality where popular excitement prevailed, and where it might lead to a partial verdict. A copy of the Question had been sent to the Crown Solicitor, with a request for an explanation; and in reply he had stated that none of the persons set aside were personally known to Mr. Gerrard, the Crown Solicitor of the Queen's County; that he knew nothing of their religion at the time; that one of the eight he had since found was a Protestant; and that four of them were shopkeepers or farmers in the neighbourhood It was further stated that the Crown Solicitor had acted according to the rules laid down to the best of his judgment; that the religion of the persons in question had nothing to do with their being set aside; and that he had acted under the advice of the senior Crown counsel.


asked the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether, having regard to the evils which arose under the rules, it would not be desirable to amend them?


said, that no case had been brought under his notice in which anyone had been set aside on account of religion. When such a case occurred he certainly would call the offender to account.