HC Deb 26 April 1877 vol 233 cc1947-9

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the conduct of the police authorities of Manchester in connection with the arrest of the Reverend Father Jackson, one of the Jesuit Fathers on the mission in Manchester, on the night of the 30th December last and the course of procedure adopted by Mr. Alderman Murray, a magistrate of that city, in connection therewith; whether it is true that "half an hour after midnight, on the morning of December 31st last," a police inspector, accompanied by two constables, came to the house attached to the Church of "The Holy Name," where the Reverend Father Jackson resides with several other clergymen, and on the pretence of a "sick call," decoyed the reverend gentleman from his residence; whether, in reply to the interrogation, "Is it really a 'sick call,' as, if it is, I must take the last sacraments with me," Inspector Gill assured him that it was; whether, on being searched in the city hall, the "holy oils," &C. were taken from the person of Father Jackson, and, after he had given them to the police, his pockets were searched by Inspector Gill; whether Mr. Alderman Murray, J.P. stated from the Bench "that, as a magistrate, he had a right to act as he did, and would do the same again;" whether, in view of this declaration, the Lord Chancellor deems it right to continue this individual in the commission of the peace; whether Inspector Shandly, who had been formally applied to by Dr. Noble to obtain from the committing Magistrate a written permission to see the Reverend Father Jackson, and who afterwards made inquiries at the Presbytery about the case, and interfered in no other way, has been practically forced by the police authorities of Manchester to send in his resignation, after thirty years' service; whether the authorities there, on Sunday December 31, 1876, refused to the Catholic Magistrate, and to the Most Reverend Dr. Vaughan, Bishop of Salford, to accept bail for the appearance of the Reverend Father Jackson the following day; and, whether, considering all the foregoing circumstances, he will order an inquiry into the entire matter?


in reply, said, his attention had been called to the subject referred to, and he must say that it was certainly an extraordinary case. It appeared that an information had been laid against the rev. gentleman on the charge of administering drugs to a young woman. The magistrates and police believed she was in a dying state, and her depositions were taken down, in which she made an allegation against the clergyman. The clergyman stated most positively that when the police came to call him up they said nothing about the charge against him, and only said that it was a "sick call." Believing, therefore, that he was called to attend upon a sick person he took the "holy oils" with him. He was thus, as he stated, practically decoyed by the police into the presence of the woman who had accused him for the purpose of being identified by her. The police authorities, on the other hand, after an inquiry by the watch committee, entirely denied that the Rev Father Jackson was decoyed from his residence on the pretext of a "sick call" and asserted that he was told "straight out" what the charge against him was. He had not yet been able to say which statement was true, because one statement was made by one side and a directly opposite one by the other. There was no doubt he was searched at the City Hall and the "holy oils" were found upon him. With regard to the magistrate, when he heard the case on Monday, the charge against the rev. gentleman was dismissed at once and an indictment for perjury was ordered to be preferred against the girl. This indictment must come before the ordinary tribunals of the country, and when it had been heard he should be able to form a judgment upon it better than he could at present. He had received through the hon. Member who asked the Question, "a long statement from the clergyman, who complained of having been kept in custody during the whole of the greater part of Sunday without being admitted to bail. This complaint would require further investigation, and he had directed an inquiry to be instituted.