§ MR. BIGGAR
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been called to a newspaper report of the proceedings of the Belfast Police Court, of the 10th instant, in which Constable Walsh summoned Mr. John Spratt, a schoolmaster in the Belfast Workhouse, for seriously assaulting a pauper pupil of his school, named Corr, who is only eleven years of age; if it be true that the constable who made the complaint, the boy Corr, Dr. Aicken, and Dr. Corry, were all examined, and testified to the brutal nature of the assaults; the medical evidence particularly setting forth that twelve wounds were still visible on the lad's body, from some of which the blood had flowed freely; if it be true that the presiding magistrate, Mr. Gaffikin (who is also a guardian, and originally ordered Corr to be flogged), dismissed the complaint; is it true that there are twelve other boys in the Workhouse schools who were similarly treated at the same time, and whose cases have not undergone investigation; and, will the Local Government Board retain Mr. Spratt in his situation?
§ MR. TREVELYAN
I am informed that the prosecution in this case was undertaken by order of the District Inspector; and the magistrates, after hearing the evidence, dismissed it. The presiding magistrate was not Mr. Gaffikin, but Dr. Browne; and he announced the decision. Mr. Gaffikin, who sat with him, is an elected Guardian, and is one of a number of Guardians who recently ordered corporal punishment to be inflicted on several boys for insubordination; but he did not, as alleged, order the boy Corr to be flogged individually. From the Reports submitted to me by the Local Government Board, it appears 793 that the matter has been specially investigated by the School Committee of Belfast Union. There has been a great deal of insubordination in the school, which rendered corporal punishment necessary. Corr was punished for disorderly conduct, and using very violent language. The punishment was carried out in accordance with the Workhouse Rules. The Committee examined Corr and other boys, and state that none of them present the appearance of having been severely punished. As the Guardians are giving the necessary attention to the state of the school, the Local Government Board do not consider their intervention necessary at present.
§ MR. BIGGAR
Does the right hen. Gentleman think that boating a boy until the blood flows from his back is within the Rules laid down by the Local Government Board?
§ MR. BIGGAR
The sworn evidence in the Court was that he was actually beaten until 12 bleeding wounds were visible.