HC Deb 18 July 1873 vol 217 cc607-8

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether he can now give the House an explanation of the circumstances attending the arrest and imprisonment for eight days of John Larkin, one of the chief witnesses against the coastguard in the Lettermullen shooting case; and, whether the Government is aware that this man was imprisoned on the charge of perjury upon the sole testimony of the person already awaiting his trial for manslaughter, and at a time when Larkin had voluntarily visited Galway for the purpose of obtaining his salvage money, thirty miles from where the inquest had been held, at which the accused person said Larkin had perjured himself?


in reply, said, he had received a report on the subject from Mr. Hill, the resident magistrate in Galway, and he did not think he could answer the hon. Member's question more briefly than by reading an extract from that report. Mr. Hill stated that John Larkin was brought before him charged with being drunk and disorderly in the public streets of Galway, and was fined 5s. and costs, or in default, seven days' imprisonment. Immediately after his conviction for the above offence, Lieutenant Drew, of the Royal Navy, tendered an information, in which he charged Larkin with having committed willful and corrupt perjury at the coroner's inquest, and added that he had reasonable grounds to believe that Larkin was about to leave the country, and upon that information, tendered in open Court, he (Mr. Hill) considered it his duty to remand Larkin to the next petty sessions, but he subsequently went to the gaol and informed Larkin that he was ready at any time to take ordinary bail for his appearance. No one appeared to bail him, and when he was brought up on the remand warrant eight days after, he got one man to enter as security for his appearance at the petty sessions, and he was forth with discharged. Having appeared at the petty sessions, he was fully committed for trial at the next Galway Assizes for willful and corrupt perjury, bail being offered and accepted for his appearance. He (the Marquess of Hartington) did not know that there was anything in that statement absolutely inconsistent with that contained in the question of the hon. Member; but he was unable to perceive that the resident magistrate, under the circumstances, could have acted otherwise than he did. He trusted that pending the trial, which would take place next week, there would be no further discussion on this subject.