HC Deb 01 July 1878 vol 241 c491

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a report of proceedings at Quarter Sessions, Dungannon; if it be true, as stated by the Sessional Crown Solicitor, that a Circular has been issued from Dublin Castle, signed by the Under Secretary, directing that medical gentlemen should not be summoned to give evidence in cases of assault unless where life has been endangered; and if, considering the statement made by the County Court Judge, Sir Francis Brady, when commenting upon a serious case of assault, that the issue of such instructions by any officer of the Government was an absolute frustration of justice, it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to direct that the Circular be withdrawn, and the production of medical testimony in future left to the discretion of the Solicitors for the Crown?


Yes, Sir, my attention has been called to the matter, and I find that a Circular was recently addressed by the Under Secretary, directing the attention of the Crown Solicitors to the fact, that great and frequently unnecessary expenses were incurred in connection with medical evidence by the attendance of medical gentlemen at inquests. The Circular does not go to the extent which the Question would indicate—of confining the medical evidence to cases where life has actually been endangered. I ought, however, to observe that a Constabulary Circular, dated 1865, apparently does go somewhat in that direction, and will require to be amended.