HC Deb 16 July 1875 vol 225 cc1605-7

Resolutions [July 15th] reported. (3.) "That a sum, not exceeding £58,653, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1876, of Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges in Ireland.

First Two Resolutions agreed to.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Third Resolution be now read a second time,"


proposed to reduce the Vote by the sum of £100, estimated for— Expenses of Actions taken against Resident Magistrates, Divisional and other Justices, and the Constabulary for acts done by them in the execution of their duty. He said, that by giving a special subhead to this Vote the Government had drawn attention to it, so that if it were passed without observation no complaint could be made against them. Although the amount was small, the principle involved was important; for this was the first time such a Vote had been taken. He did not assert that there were not cases in which magistrates ought to be re-imbursed their expenses in defending actions brought against them for what they had done in the discharge of their duty; but he objected to an Estimate being taken in advance, because it might afford an excuse for an unscrupulous Minister to support a subordinate in a wrong course; and, further, because the existence of the item on the Estimates would be followed by an increase in future years which would still further encourage abuse. He did not object to generosity towards magistrates, but the generosity should be exercised by the House of Commons in respect of any case brought before it.


said, that the Vote appeared upon the Estimates in pursuance of an undertaking which he gave last year. The hon. and learned Member for Limerick (Mr. Butt) then complained that money had been paid for defending actions against the magistrates and constabulary for acts done by them in the execution of their duty. He told the hon. and learned Member that if the Government undertook to defend these actions it ought to do so openly and by a Vote of the House of Commons. He accordingly asked his hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury to put down a small sum in the Estimates for this purpose. These expenses might exceed the sum of £100, but, on the other hand, they might fall below it.


said, that as the time for suspending the sitting was close at hand, he would move the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to.

Debate adjourned till To-morrow,

And it being now Seven of the clock, the House suspended its sitting.

The House resumed its sitting at Nine of the clock.

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