HC Deb 01 August 1881 vol 264 cc360-2

asked Mr. Attorney General, If all the justices of the peace whom the Lord Chancellor recently called upon to show cause why they should not be removed from the Bench in consequence of corrupt practices in connection with Parliamentary Elections, have now either resigned or been struck off the roll; and, if so, if he will lay upon the Table a complete list of them?


asked whether it was the intention to publish a list of these magistrates?


, in reply, said, it had been decided that 28 Justices of the Peace had been guilty of corrupt practices in connection with Parliamentary Elections, and one death reduced the number to 27. Of that number, 25 had been directed by the Lord Chancellor that their names should be removed from the Commission of the Peace, and of these 14 had resigned. Several of the other cases, for good and sufficient reasons, were under the consideration of the Lord Chancellor. In answer to the Question whether he would lay on the Table a complete list of those Justices who had resigned or been struck off the rolls, he would say that complete lists of the names of those Justices had already been published in the districts in which they exercised jurisdiction, and it was known in those localities that they had received this practical censure from the Lord Chancellor; and, as there might be very different degrees in the breaches of the law which they had committed—many of them being of a purely technical character—he must say that he did not think it would be fair to lay on the Table a full list, inasmuch as to do so would be to presumably include in the same category all the offending Justices, without reference to the relative gravity of the offences which they had committed. He thought they had already received sufficient punishment without the additional disgrace of being thus placed together. If, however, the hon. Member wished to move for a Return of the names, he was in a position to do so, and then it would be for the House to take upon itself a responsibility which he (the Attorney General) did not see his way to assuming.


wished to ask whether the hon. and learned Gentleman was aware that 200 persons were now incarcerated in Ireland without any trial, and that no distinction was made between John Dillon or any of the remainder?


asked if all the prosecutions contemplated had been instituted, and if the Attorney General could state how many had resulted in a conviction?


said, that all the prosecutions had been proceeded with that it was intended to take, except two cases of poor persons at Sandwich, who were stated to have emigrated, or, at least, there seemed no way of making them amenable. He would not enter into a complicated account of what had taken place at Boston; but there had been one conviction, in two cases the jury had been discharged without a verdict, and in one instance no service of summons could be effected, and although a warrant had been issued, this had so fax been unsuccessful in arresting the party. There had been nine charges in connection with the Sandwich Election, and in all cases verdicts of guilty had been returned. In Macclesfield there were two, and verdicts of guilty in each case.