HC Deb 21 March 1873 vol 214 cc1960-1

gave Notice that on going into Committee of Supply this day week he should move for a Select Committee to inquire into the operation of the 34 and 35 Vict. (the Juries (Ireland) Act), and whether it was necessary to amend the same in order to secure the due administration of justice in Ireland.


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, If it be the fact that the leading Counsel prosecuting on behalf of the Crown at the late Limerick Assizes postponed, by instruction of the Attorney General for Ireland or otherwise, several prosecutions which were ripe for trial; and, if so, whether such postponement was due to the unsatisfactory nature of the Jury Panel as constituted under the recent provisions of the Juries Act (Ireland)?


in reply, said, that he had ascertained that four prosecutions were postponed at the late Limerick Assizes. The postponement of three of those cases was for reasons wholly unconnected with the nature of the Jury Panel, but which, in the judgment of the counsel who appeared for the Crown, rendered it expedient, in the interest of justice, that such postponement should take place. The propriety of the postponement of the fourth case was agreed upon at a conference between the Crown Solicitor for the county and the two counsel who appeared for the Crown. One of those learned counsel and the Crown Solicitor state that the reasons which influenced them in advising the postponement were unconnected with the Jury Panel. Upon the other hand, the learned counsel who led for the Crown appears to have been influenced by the state of the Jury Panel, which he did not consider to be satisfactory. It may be convenient that I should state that the Irish Government has, since the recent Juries Act came into operation, used—and is continuing to use—every exertion to obtain accurate and detailed information as to the operaration of that Act, and that before the adjournment of this House for the Easter Recess I propose to move for a Select Committee—a course in which I have been anticipated by the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Bruen)—to inquire into the matter, and to report whether any alterations ought to be made in the present law in relation to juries in Ireland. I do not anticipate that the duties of that Committee will occupy any very lengthened period; and I should hope that if any amending legislation shall appear to be necessary, a Bill may be brought in and passed before the commencement of the next Irish Assizes.