HC Deb 10 February 1887 vol 310 cc1090-1

asked Mr. Attorney General for Ireland, Whether, in the case of the "Queen v. John Dillon, M.P.," and others, now pending, the accused having been returned for trial in the City of Dublin, the Crown have sent, or intend sending, up the Bills of Indictment before the Grand Jury of the County of Dublin; whether the Crown originally commenced the proceedings in the County of Galway, and abandoned that venue in favour of the City of Dublin; whether there is any precedent in recent years for the action of the Government in sending up the bills in the county, except the case of the York Street riots, when the change was made at the wish of the accused, who were Orangemen; and, what the reasons were which induced the Government to change the venue?


(who replied) said: Some of the traversers in the case referred to having been arrested under a warrant in Galway, it was deemed expedient to take steps to have them and others returned for trial in the City of Dublin, where the Plan of Campaign was originally published. A bill has been sent up to the Grand Jury of the County of Dublin, pursuant to a law which exists both in England and Ireland, and the value of which has been recognized by the Criminal Code Commission. In a jury panel of the County of Dublin there is no preponderance of persons of any particular religion or politics; and as regards all classes and creeds it is more generally representative than any other panel in Ireland. The sole reason for having the bill sent to the County Grand Jury, was the belief that a fair and impartial trial could in this way best be had. The change of venue in the York Street case was made on the suggestion of the Queen's Bench Division; and I am informed that this is not the only case in recent times in which the venue was similarly changed.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I wish to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman if it is alleged, on the part of the Crown, that there is anything in the constitution of either the Grand or the Common Jury panel sent up from the present Commission which would interfere with the fair trial of my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) and the other traversers in the City of Dublin?


May I ask, also, whether it is a fact that nine-tenths of the legal business of Ireland is done in the City of Dublin?


In answer to the second Question, I may say that a great part of the legal business of Ireland is done in Dublin, but I am not aware of the exact proportion. With reference to the Question of the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton), I have to say that I decline to go or enter into a controversy upon the merits of the jurors.


I wish to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, not to enter into any controversy, but simply to answer the Question whether there is anything in the state of the panel to prevent a fair trial being had?

[No reply.]