HC Deb 31 May 1886 vol 306 cc499-500
MR. SHIRLEY (Yorkshire, W.R., Doncaster)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it is true (as stated in The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent of May 28th) that at Downpatrick, on May 27th, four lads were charged under an Act of Edward III. with disorderly conduct, by shouting and cheering for Home Rule after ten o'clock at night, and were each sentenced to three months' imprisonment; and, if true, whether he will state to the House what this Act of Edward III. is; and, whether it is really intended that these boys should be kept in prison for three months?

MR. SMALL (Down, S.)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers the Question, might I ask if it is not also a fact that the magistrates only allowed one hour to obtain bail, and thereby increased the difficulty of finding bail?


I cannot answer as to details. The hon. Gentleman has just brought before the House a question of bail which I cannot answer. There are three Questions on this subject on the Paper to-day, which, with the permission of the House, I will answer together. The four young men referred to were not exactly boys, all but one being over age, and that one over 20. They were brought before the Downpatrick Bench for disorderly conduct at night in the public streets, cursing, and using violent Party expressions. Three local magistrates presided. The defendants were ordered to give moderate security for their future good behaviour, or, in default, to be imprisoned; and, as a matter of fact, were all released on bail the next day. As the Towns Improvement Act—under which proceedings of this nature are an offence—is not in force in Downpatrick, the prosecution was under 34 Edward III., c. 1, and the Justices' Commission. The Statute of Edward enables magistrates to take security of persons for their good behaviour, when their conduct is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, and I understand that prosecutions under it are by no means uncommon.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Londonderry, S.)

asked who were the magistrates, and also how many Catholics were on the Downpatrick Bench? He would also ask whether the Statute of Edward III. only applied to marauders and murderers?


said, he was obliged to point out that he had answered the paragraph in question. He was unable to say how many Catholics were on the Downpatrick Bench.