HC Deb 25 May 1882 vol 269 cc1616-7

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant for Ireland, How many trials there had been for treason and treason-felony in the last 10 years in Ireland; how many convictions, disagreements, and acquittals; and if he would give the same information for the last 12 months as to the other classes of crime which it was proposed to make triable by Judges under the new Coercion Act?


I have received reports in reference to this Question from all the Crown Solicitors in Ireland, from which I find that in the last 10 years there have been no trials for treason or treason-felony in Ireland, but there have been two prosecutions for conspiring to hold seditious courts. These are the only cases coming at all within the first paragraph of the hon. Member's Question. In one of these cases, which occurred in County Kerry, seven persons were proceeded against, but the prosecution was finally allowed to drop. The other prosecutions took place in County Clare. Eight persons were indicted and tried, two were acquitted, and the jury was discharged without finding a verdict with regard to the other six. The case against them was afterwards allowed to drop. The other Return, I am sorry to find, was issued in such a shape is not to give the information in a sufficiently clear form. I have corrected the Return and desired the answers to be sent in as soon as possible. As to the other classes of crime mentioned in Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Bill—namely, murder or manslaughter, attempt to kill, aggravated crime of violence against the person, arson, and attack on dwelling-house, I find that in the last 12 months throughout Ireland there have been 408 trials for these offences, at which 410 persons were convicted, 229 persons were acquitted, and in 34 cases the jury disagreed; but in these Returns, in the first place, the Winter Assizes have been, to a great extent, included; in the second place, agrarian crime has not been distinguished from other crime, and they, therefore, have no relation to the Bill now before the House.