HC Deb 16 November 1882 vol 274 cc1545-6

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the Return moved for by the honourable Member for Sligo, Whether, and, if so, in what manner, the report of the shorthand writer employed by the Crown is an official record of the sentence passed upon Patrick Walsh, convicted of murder at the Dublin Commission on the 22nd August last?


Sir, the shorthand writer's Report referred to in this Question, a copy of which has been presented to the House on the Motion of the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton), is not in any sense an official record of the sentence passed upon the prisoner Patrick Walsh. The entry of a judgment and sentence in the Crown Book is, in law, the record of the proceedings of the Court. It is conclusive as to what those proceedings were, and cannot be questioned or impugned by any other evidence. In the present case the shorthand writer's note is not only without authority, but, in fact, appears to be incorrect, as it omits the words usual in cases of capital convictions, which prescribe the mode of execution; which words were, in fact, used by the learned Judge in passing sentence. My reasons for supposing that the words were, in fact, used by the Judge are because that part of the sentence was not delivered extempore, but was read by the Judge from a manuscript. I am informed that this is usually done by the Judge in passing sentence of death. After delivering sentence the learned Judge handed down his manuscript to the Clerk of the Crown, who thereupon made the official entry of the sentence in the Crown Book. The Clerk of the Crown and his assistant, from their position in Court, had the best opportunity of hearing the sentence. They agree in saying that they observed no departure from the settled form of words in use on such occasions. The omission from the shorthand writer's note was apparently caused by the fact that the learned Judge read the sentence in a low tone of voice, and that there was some excitement and noise in Court owing to the exclamations of the prisoner.


asked if the right hon. Gentleman was aware whether the shorthand writer employed on the occasion was not a reporter attached to The Daily Express, the local Conservative organ, and whether he was not corroborated by the other reporters who were present for The Freeman's Journal and Irish Times?


asked if the right hon. Gentleman could say whether he was aware that it had been testified before the Select Committee of the House that all the reporters present united in their testimony that the words specifying the mode of execution was not used by the Judge.

[No answer was given to these Questions.]