HC Deb 30 October 1882 vol 274 cc362-3

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been called to the action of the magistrates at Newtown Mount Kennedy Petty Sessions, county Wicklow, as reported in the local paper, as follows:— Magistrates' Sons and Magistrates' Laws. A young ex-soldier, named Thomas Ryan, was brought up by Acting Constable Byrne, on the sworn information of Sub-Constable Barry, for assaulting Mr. Frizell, junior, at Round wood Pair; whether he has received complaints of partizanship being shown by some magistrates in putting suggestive questions to the witness against the prisoner, and stopping him when putting lawful questions to his own witnesses; whether, with reference to Acting Constable Byrne's statement that he was directed to bring this prosecution under the Crimes Act, he will ascertain by whose direction the prosecution was brought; whether it is the fact that the father of Mr. Frizell sat on the bench and took part in the proceedings which resulted in Ryan being sentenced to four months' imprisonment with hard labour; and, whether, under the circumstances, he will move the Lord Lieutenant to remit the remainder of the sentence?


I have obtained reports upon this case, from which I find that Thomas Ryan was charged under the ordinary law, not under the recent Prevention of Crime Act, with assaulting Mr. Frizell, and further with committing a violent assault on the police who arrested him. The hon. Member will observe from the report in the newspapers that this man was something more than a young ex-soldier, that he had been previously convicted and sentenced to five years. For each assault he was sentenced to two months' im- prisonment with hard labour. I am assured that there is no ground for supposing that the magistrates exhibited any partizanship in the case, and that the prisoner was allowed every facility to question his witnesses. Mr. Frizell attended the Petty Sessions, but did not sit on the bench while his son's case was being heard. If Ryan or his friends think the sentence imposed on him was unmerited or excessive, it is open to them to memorialize the Lord Lieutenant for its remission or mitigation.