HC Deb 30 March 1882 vol 268 cc294-5

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Whether it is a fact that, in May last year, Robert Webster was summoned before the Gorey magis- trates on a charge of intimidating men from bidding at an auction held upon his farm, from which he had been evicted; whether the case was sent for trial at the next sessions; whether, at the July Sessions, in spite of the objections raised by Webster's counsel, the hearing of the case was postponed to the Winter Assizes; whether the case was not called at the Winter Assizes; and, whether it is a fact that Webster has recently received notice that the prosecution has been abandoned; and, if so, if he would explain to the House what justification exists for a course which has entailed considerable loss and inconvenience to the defendant? He hoped that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would answer the Question in English. ["Order!"]


Sir, I am sure the House will not consider it necessary that I should notice the last observation of the hon. Member. In reply to his Question on the Paper, I have to state that in May last Webster was committed for trial by the Gorey Bench. At the instance of the then Attorney General, the case was sent on to the Summer Assize, 1881, where a true bill was found; but owing to the absence of some necessary documentary evidence the trial was postponed, and the Crown paid the costs of Webster's solicitor. The trial could not have taken place at the Winter Assize, inasmuch as County Wexford was not included in the Winter Assize Order. When, after this long interval, the case came before me as Attorney General for directions as to the Spring Assize, I found that Webster had not further interfered in reference to the farm in question, and had conducted himself peaceably since last summer. I therefore directed that he should not be further prosecuted, and should be informed of the reason for my decision. This was done, and, in my opinion, Mr. Webster has been very leniently dealt with, and has nothing to complain of.