§ MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is the fact that Mr. Justice O'Brien, when presiding at the current Clare Assizes, said—The criminal business you will have to deal with at the present Assizes, in performance of your duty as Grand Jurors, consists of but very few cases.
§ THECHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
If the hon. Member wishes for more information about Mr. Justice O'Brien's Charge, I am bound to oblige him; and I will read the two lines contained in his Question with so much of the context as is necessary to understand them— 513The criminal business you will have to deal with at the present Assizes, in performance of your duty as Grand Jurors, consists of but very few cases, those of any moment among those few being cases which, by reason of their having been committed in the presence of the constabulary, did not require any sympathy on the part of the community to make them answerable for the actual offences of any kind that have been committed since last Assizes. The cases that will be laid before you constitute but a very trifling amount. Indeed, from all the accounts that I have received as to the state of this county in the interval since last Assizes, on which occasion it became my duty to take a survey of its condition in reference to the maintenance of the law and public order, all these accounts concur in representing that no kind of improvement whatsoever has been made in the county. The information that I have been able to collect of various kinds, consisting in the communications of official persons whose duty it is to take part in the administration of the law, or actual reports of offences committed, and other information I have received—those, I regret to say, lead me to the inevitable conclusion that this County of Clare possesses the bad distinction of being the worst part of Ireland in respect of social disturbance and disorder; and to the further conclusion, not less inevitable, that this County of Clare is worse at present than at any time before, oven as to actual crime, compared with the corresponding period last year.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he had not checked the account given by the Judge with the actual figures in the calendar.
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
I should like the right hon. Gentleman to say if Judge O'Brien himself examined the Return laid before the House of outrages in Clare for the past three months; and whether he is aware that the Charge was made in a constituency where Judge O'Brien was defeated as a Home Rule candidate?
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the outrages perpetrated at Bodyke were in the Return laid before Judge O'Brien?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he had been unable to dissect the statistics or the information upon which Mr. Justice O'Brien administered the law—administered justice. It was for the House and the public to judge.