HC Deb 22 February 1884 vol 284 cc1714-5

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether the following case, reported in the local Conservative journal, The Wicklow Newsletter of the 26th ul- timo, has been brought under his notice as having occurred at Newtown, Mount Kennedy Petty Sessions, before a full Bench of Magistrates, including Mr. M'Level, R.M.:— Curious Prosecution for Rabbit Trapping on Sunday. Mr. C. R. D. Gun Cuningham, J.P. prosecuted a labouring man, named Thomas Keane, for unlawfully using and setting traps for the purpose of taking rabbits on Sunday 23rd, and Sunday 30th, December, at Ballyronan; whether Mr. Cuningham swore that he was concealed behind a ditch for twenty minutes watching Keane, and that he brought the prosecution, not for taking rabbits off the land, but for trapping on Sunday; whether it was proved by John Byrne, the occupier of the farm, that he had made an agreement with Keane to trap the rabbits; was it under an old statute of the Irish Parliament the proceedings were taken; whether, on hearing the evidence, the following sentence, involving fines to the extent of £3, was passed by the Court:— The Magistrates retired, and, on resuming their seats on the Bench, the Chairman said they had carefully considered the cases. The penalty the defendant was liable to was £4 in each case, but the Bench considering that the present cases were merely technical offences, they were disposed to impose the low penalty of 10s. and costs in each case; and, whether, under all the circumstances, he will recommend His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant to remit the fine?


This case was brought under my notice by the hon. Member, and I submitted it to the Lord Lieutenant, who inquired into the facts, and has had them under his consideration. The defendant was charged under the old Act referred to with setting traps on Sundays, and he was also charged under 43 & 44 Vict. c. 47, with setting spring traps in the open. The evidence was clear and conclusive; and it was proved that, though warned on the first occasion mentioned, he repeated the offence a week later. The magistrates inflicted mitigated penalties, amounting in all to £3, and the Lord Lieutenant has been pleased further to reduce them to 25s. in all.