HC Deb 28 July 1879 vol 248 cc1412-3

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether he has seen a paragraph, which appeared in the Dublin "Evening Telegraph" of the 21st July, in which Mr. Stephen Seed, Crown Solictor for the County Kildare, addressing the Grand Jury at Naas, is reported to have spoken as follows:— There was, lie was sorry to say, a good deal of undetected crime in the county. The county inspector had made a return of twenty indictable offences committed since last assizes, but of that number one-half was undetected. This was a bad state of facts, and amongt the causes which contributed to it was a rule of the constabulary force prohibiting, under pain of instant dismissal, any constable being refunded the expenses he was out of pocket in bringing offenders to trial; and, whether, if such a rule exists, he will, seeing it is one which is likely to discourage constables in the detection of crime, take steps, in the interest of justice, to have it abolished?


Sir, I am afraid it must be admitted that there is a certain amount of undetected crime in the County Kildare, as well as in other parts of Ireland. I find that in that county there were several cases of sending threatening letters, and charges of that description, which have been undetected; but I think that is not due to the cause indicated by the Crown Solicitor. It appears that formerly a practice prevailed under which the Crown Solicitor disbursed sums of money practically on his own authority in the form of fees to constables engaged in tracing certain cases. That was a practice which did not work well; and a new rule was made to the effect that no constable or other police officer was to receive any money except through the local official chief of the force. That has been a great improvement on the course which formerly prevailed, though it may not have appeared in that light to the Crown Solicitor, who previously had the patronage in his own hands.


Sir, I beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman, If he will inform the House under what peculiar circumstances it was that the Crown Solicitor was obliged to take this most unusual course of addressing the Grand Jury at the Assizes, and whether the Mr. Stephen Seed, who adopted this course, was the same gentleman who, with reference to the packing of jury panels in the County Meath, told the sub-sheriff "to leave that in his hands, and he would do it effectually?"


Sir, I have not heard of the matter just alluded to; but I understand that, from time to time, this gentleman has made use of some strong statements. I do not know anything of the circumstances referred to.