HC Deb 09 March 1886 vol 303 cc298-9
DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is a fact that a man named John Dunseath was prosecuted by the Excise authorities, at the Stewartstown Petty Sessions, on the 6th January 1886, for having arras without a licence; whether the facts were clearly proved by three witnesses named James M'Keown, Thomas Conlan, and Jane Magowan, no contrary evidence being adduced, and that, notwithstanding the protest of Mr. French, R.M., the unpaid magistrates dismissed the case; whether the same John Dunseath was further prosecuted by the Queen, at the complaint of Sergeant Matthew Price, for having arms in his possession at Stewartstown, contrary to the provisions of the Peace Preservation Act; whether the said John Dunseath was proved, by the evidence of the three before-mentioned witnesses, to have had and presented a revolver at an unarmed crowd on the 2nd December 1885; whether this case was also dismissed by the same unpaid magistrates, Mr. French, R.M. leaving the bench after recording his dissent; whether the chairman, Mr. C. Stanley, J.P. is correctly reported as having said— You see, the presentation of the implement, whatever it was, had the desired effect of frightening the people; and, whether the attention of the Lord Chancellor of Ireland has been, or will be, directed to the conduct of these unpaid magistrates?

THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. JOHN MORLET) (Newcastle - on - Tyne)

Mr. Speaker, I understand that John Dunseath was prosecuted on the two charges mentioned in the hon. Member's Question. The evidence was given as stated; but the charge was dismissed by the majority of the Bench, Mr. French, R.M., dissenting. It is, I believe, correct that Mr. Stanley, during the course of the trial, made the observation attributed to him. His explanation is that his observation was a jocular one. An appeal has been taken against the decision of the magistrates, and is now pending.