HC Deb 15 February 1884 vol 284 cc1005-6

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he has yet learned by whose instructions summonses had been issued at Castlebar Petty Sessions against the child Annie Burke; whether the sentence of imprisonment and hard labour will be carried out in the case of her brother and sister; and, whether these are also of tender age?


As I have already stated, this was a private action for trespass. The summonses, I am informed, were issued on the instructions of the agents to the trustees of the estate of the late Walter Joyce, and were served by an ordinary summons-server. The police were not concerned in the matter. It now appears that none of the defendants appeared in Court, and that they were all sentenced in their absence—their respective ages being unknown to the magistrates. The sentence will not be carried out in the case of any of the children, as the magistrates, when informed of their ago, at once directed that the warrants should not issue. I only received these Reports to-day; but I will communicate again with the magistrates, and ask them to consider whether a person who would serve summonses on children of such an extremely tender age is fit to continue to hold his office.


I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to communicate also to the magistrates the suggestion made by him in the King's County case—that magistrates should not sign summonses in cases of trespassers where there was a remedy by civil action.