MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)
I wish to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland a Question of which I have given him private Notice with reference to the Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Act, Whether his attention has been directed to the charge delivered by Mr. Baron Dowse to the Grand Jury of the County Wicklow on Friday last; whether it is true, as reported, that the learned Judge stated—He looked with sympathetic air on the Crown counsel. The number of offences had decreased from 13 to 7, though in minor cases there was an increase; but why there should be a decrease at one time and an increase at another, he could not say. It was like one day being wet, and another dry. He (the learned Judge) was to discharge the gaol, and there was no one in it.!Under those circumstances, he would ask the right hon. Gentleman, on what grounds the provisions of the Coercion Act were applied to Wicklow, or do they intend to fill the gaol, which is at present empty, with persons charged with offences which the late Attorney General (Mr. Holmes) said were created by the Act?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, before the right hon. Gentleman answered this Question, he wished to ask whether the learned Judge stated that he referred to overt cases of crime?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
, in reply, said, he had not had the advantage of studying Baron Dowse's Charge; but he had no doubt the extracts referred to were correct. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mac Neill) asked why the Government had put the provisions of the Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Act in force in Wicklow? They had not done so. The only provisions put in force were sub-head B and sub-head C of Subsection 3 of Clause 2, which, as the hon. Gentleman was aware, was very different to putting the provisions of the Act in force. He believed the statement of opinion which the hon. Gentleman quoted from Mr. Justice Holmes was not quite accurate.