asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is a fact that Mr. P. N. Fitzgerald, now detained in Sligo Gaol, was seized in the street in London, and forced into a cab without being shown a warrant for his arrest, and was refused permission, either while detained in London or in Dublin, to see any friend, or to consult a solicitor; whether, 464 on arrival at Sligo, he was privately remanded by a magistrate, on the application of the police, in a room of the gaol; whether Mr. W. M. Stack, who waited upon Mr. Fitzgerald with an authorisation from Mr. M. J. Horgan, solicitor, to act as his deputy in taking instructions for his defence, was refused an interview with the prisoner by the governor of the gaol, the county inspector, and the resident magistrate; whether Mr. Fitzgerald has yet been shown the warrant for his arrest, or given any facilities for preparing his defence; and, whether the resident magistrate will be directed to hold any further investigations respecting the charge against Mr. Fitzgerald in open court, and in presence of the representatives of the press?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
Fitzgerald was arrested in London, taken at once to Scotland Yard, and sent the same evening to Dublin on his way to Sligo. The warrant was not shown to him because police were out looking for him in different directions, and the men who arrested him did not happen to have it with them. Moreover, the charge being one of felony, I am advised that a warrant was not necessary to justify the arrest. In the public interests it was not advisable to permit him to see anyone in London or Dublin, and I am advised that prisoners are not entitled to see persons while in transit. The prisoner was privately remanded in Sligo Prison, the remand being merely a formal one. Mr. Stack was refused permission to see him because he was unknown, and could get no one to identify him. Mr. Horgan was telegraphed to; but when his answer was received identifying Mr. Stack, the police could not find him. Fitzgerald is fully aware of the grounds of his arrest, and he will, of course, be afforded ample opportunities of preparing his defence. The inquiry will be proceeded with as rapidly as possible; and if the interests of justice do not require otherwise, it will be in open Court, as I have no reason to doubt it will be.
I would wish to ask whether it is usual that a man should be arrested without a warrant, hustled away to Ireland, and remanded week after week since, and the police should be spreading false reports about him— [Cries of "Order!"]
I wish to know whether there is any redress for this system of illegal arrest, secret remand, and official libelling practised on this man?
§ MR. SEXTON
I also would wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary whether it is the case that 11 men, charged in Tubbercurry, in the County Sligo, have been remanded without evidence; and whether the Government will bring the case to a definite issue by having the men committed for trial if there is evidence against them, and if there is not such evidence, will have them discharged from custody?
As the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has not thought fit to answer my Question, I would like to ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary whether there is any precedent in England, even in the case of the very worst of criminals, for hugger-mugger inquiries? [Cries of "Order!"]
I am trying to suit my language to the circumstances of the case —[Cries of "Order, order!"] I would ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether it is usual in England, or whether there is any precedent for having men seized in the streets without a warrant and hustled away to a gaol, remanded from week to week in a secret room in the prison, and then stories spread that they have turned out to be informers after they had been remanded in this manner from week to week? Is there any precedent for a case of that sort in England?
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
I did not understand that this Question was addressed to me. As to the arrest without a warrant, I understand that it is the case in a charge of felony that a man can be arrested without a warrant. As for the other part of the proceedings, the question of remand is a question entirely for the magistrates upon circumstances stated to them. It is usual in England, and in all parts of the United Kingdom, that a remand should be granted until the evidence is complete. Whether that remand is asked for on 466 sufficient grounds is a question entirely for the magistrates.
I will take the first opportunity of calling the attention of the House to this system of secret arrest and remand.
§ MR. SEXTON
As the right hon. Gentleman has not answered the Question I put to him about the 11 men arrested in the county which I have the honour to represent, I beg to give Notice that I will repeat it.