HC Deb 21 November 1884 vol 294 cc134-5

asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Whether it is the fact that, after the solicitor for the defence in the Tubbercurry prosecutions, lately abandoned by the Crown, had certified the attendance of witnesses to the Crown Solicitor, and after the Crown Solicitor had fixed the sums to be paid them, the Attorney General refused to grant the expenses, unless he was allowed to see a statement of the evidence which would have been given by these witnesses, in case the trials had gone on? He wished to know, further, whether the expenses would be paid on the Solicitor certifying that they were witnesses necessary for the defence?


in reply, said, that it was the duty of the Attorney General, under the statute, according to his recollection, to see, before he sanctioned costs for the attendance of witnesses, that these witnesses were required for the purpose of the defence. In the present case £128 was advanced towards the costs of the defence. After the inquiry had fallen through, a further bill was furnished for 29 witnesses. The Attorney General asked for some evidence that these witnesses were required. The Crown Solicitor asked that he should be allowed to see the brief, now that the case was over. The solicitor answered that no brief had been prepared. The solicitor for the prisoners was then asked to give his certificate, as all the witnesses were material and necessary; but he declined. If the solicitor for the prisoners would only furnish some reasonable evidence that these witnesses had been required the Attorney General would have no objection to the costs being paid.


Will the Attorney General consider it reasonable evidence if the solicitor for the defence certifies that in his opinion the witnesses were requisite and necessary; or, will it be essential that the Crown, having abandoned the prosecution, must now pry into the evidence of the witnesses for the defence?


It is not the intention to pry into the brief; but it is material that some reasonable evidence should be forthcoming.