HC Deb 26 February 1886 vol 302 cc1380-1

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, in the case of Morgan Brien, charged at last Winter Assizes at Cork with wilful murder, the trial was put back after the case had been called at the commencement of the Assizes, to fully a month later, at great inconvenience to many witnesses who were subpœnaed from long distances; whether two of the witnesses for the Crown were medical gentlemen holding official appointments, one as dispensary doctor, the other as doctor of a workhouse; whether these gentlemen received the sum of £110 each as expenses for their services; if not, could he state how much they did receive; whether one of them, Dr. Hall, of Silvermines Dispensary, Nenagh Union, has since sent in a bill to the guardians for £14 for the salary of his locum tenens during his absence; whether both of these medical witnesses are connexions of the Crown Prosecutor in the case, Mr. George Belton; whether he (Mr. Belton) allowed it to go to the jury that the prisoner was in the employment of Lord Dunally as gamekeeper, and that he was boycotted, and had only acted in self-defence; whether the result was a verdict of guilty in the minor charge of manslaughter; whether Lord Dunally at once contradicted the statement put forward by the Crown Prosecutor that prisoner had been in his employment; and, what steps will be taken with regard to Mr. Belton's action in the case?


There were two postponements of this trial. The first, to enable counsel who were assigned for the defence by the Judge to consider their case; the second, in consequence of a certificate of the prison physician, that the prisoner was too ill to appear. Two medical gentlemen were witnesses in the case. A brother of one of them is married to a sister of Mr. Belton. The other is no connection of his. They were paid their expenses by Mr. Bolton according to Treasury scale, Dr. Minnett receiving £75 10s., and Dr. Hall £76 6s. Dr. Hall sent in a claim for his substitute, which the Guardians have refused. Evidence was given for the prisoner that he had acted as gamekeeper for Lord Dunally and had been "Boycotted," and his counsel argued that he might have fired the shot in self-defence; but Mr. Belton did not put forward or adopt any such suggestion, and the Judge told the jury there was not sufficient evidence of the prisoner being gamekeeper to Lord Dunally, who was not at the Assizes.