HC Deb 24 November 1884 vol 294 cc268-9

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, on the 10th instant, at Fintona (county Tyrone) Petty Sessions, in a case in which Peter M'Casker charged a man named M'Cauley, gamekeeper to Mr. Eccles, a local landlord, with assault, although it was proved in evidence that M'Cauley had presented a gun at M'Casker, and that M'Cauley and his three sons attacked M'Casker and a boy twelve years old, who was in his company, and beat M'Casker so seriously that he had to be attended by the dispensary doctor, the Justices dismissed the charge against M'Cauley; whether, when M'Casker applied to the bench for a summons against M'Cauley, one of the Justices said that M'Cauley, as a gamekeeper, was in the execution of his duty, and afterwards, when the case against M'Cauley had been heard, the same Justice declared from the bench that there was nothing wrong in the assault upon M'Casker; whether, notwithstanding that at the time of the assault upon him M'Casker was proceeding across the fields from his father's house to the house of a neighbour, had neither dog nor gun with him, and was at least a mile distant from the mountain preserved by M'Cauley's employer, the Justices fined M'Casker ten shillings for being in the pursuit of game; whether the Justices, on the same day, fined two other men £2 10s. for carrying a gun without a licence, but refused to impose any penalty on M'Cauley, although he had no licence, and did not procure an Inland Revenue licence until after the summons had been taken out against him; and, whether the Lord Chancellor of Ireland will investigate this Case?


I am informed by the police authorities of the district that the facts of this case are as follows: —A gamekeeper, named Mellon, with his son, a lad of 15 or 16, met M'Casker and another man on a preserved property, beating for game with sticks, and having stones in their hands. He warned them off, and a scuffle ensued, in the course of which M'Casker got a cut on his head. The gamekeeper did not present a gun at him, but threw his gun down. M'Casker went to the dispensary, and had the injury dressed. It was not serions. He applied to the magistrates for a summons against the gamekeeper for assault, and it was at once granted. The case was dismissed by a Bench of eight magistrates. I have not been able to ascertain that any such statements were made from the Bench as are mentioned in the Question. M'Casker was convicted and fined 10s. for the trespass in pursuit of game. On the same day two other men were fined £2 10s. each for carrying a gun without a Revenue licence. This was the lowest penalty the magistrates could legally impose, but it has since been reduced by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. The magistrates could not have imposed a similar penalty on the gamekeeper, as be was not charged with the offence. It is a fact, however, that he had not a licence at the time, and I understand the case is now before the Inland Revenue authorities for consideration whether a prosecution should be ordered.