HC Deb 03 August 1882 vol 273 cc601-2

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he has observed the proceedings of a special Petty Sessions Court, held at Waterford on Friday last (and composed of Mr. Redmond, R.M. Dungarvan, and Mr. Meldon, R.M. Tipperary), with reference to a charge brought under the fifth section of the Crime Prevention Act against Miss Mary Keane, for interfering with the business transactions of Mr. Edward Courtney, a butter merchant; whether, although Miss Keane, pleading that the summons had only been served the day before, requested an adjournment for a week to prepare her defence, secure the attendance of her witnesses, and provide herself with professional assistance, the magistrates refused to adjourn, and sentenced her forthwith to a month's imprisonment, one of them remarking, as a reason for the refusal, that he had come fifty miles to try the case; and, whether, in the further administration of the Crime Prevention Act, care will be taken that due facilities will be given to persons charged to prepare their defence and provide themselves with professional assistance?


Sir, I have had to obtain a Report upon this Question by telegraph, as it only appeared yesterday. The Resident Magistrate informs me that when the case was called, the defendant, Miss Mary Keane, refused to appear, although at the time outside the Court. Information had to be sworn, and a warrant issued to compel her attendance. She then alleged that she had not been served with a summons; but it was clearly proved that a summons had been served on her personally on the previous morning. The charge was gone into, and a case of persistent intimidation proved in the clearest manner. Miss Keane cross-examined the principal witness; but, when called on for her defence, she asked to have the case adjourned for a number of witnesses. When asked to name them she refused several times, and eventually named but one. She refused to state what her defence was, and the magistrates were satisfied that the application for adjournment was not bonâ fide, but merely vexatious. Mr. Meldon, the Resident Magistrate, stated so, adding that the magistrates would not adjourn the case, especially as the Court was formed at some inconvenience, and he himself had travelled 50 miles to hear the case; but this was not assigned as the reason for not adjourning. The defendant did not claim that she had made any effort to procure professional assistance or the attendance of witnesses.