§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether a man named Patrick Walsh was, on the 7th July last, convicted and sentenced at the Surrey Sessions to 12 months' hard labour for breaking a pane of glass in a public house; whether he can state why several witnesses, who attended the Court on subpoena to give evidence for the defence, were not called upon; whether one of those witnesses named Thomas Rogers, of 19, Saunders Street Lambeth, did, on the 22nd of July, swear an affidavit stating that he was himself the person who committed the damage for which Walsh was convicted; whether a second affidavit was sworn to by another of those witnesses named John Pratt, of 40, East Street, Lambeth Walk, corroborating the last named witness, and stating that he was himself present when Rogers broke the glass; whether a Petition has been presented to him signed by over 40 householders praying for Walsh's release; and, whether, under the above circumstances, he will re-consider his decision not to interfere in the case, and direct the release of Patrick Walsh?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
Patrick Walsh was tried and convicted by a jury at the Surrey Sessions for doing willful damage to the value of £5. Several witnesses were called for the defence, but not Rogers or Pratt. The prisoner was defended by counsel, who, I presume, exercised his discretion as to what witnesses would best assist his case. I have received the affidavits referred to, and also a Petition. I have referred the matter to the magistrates before whom the prisoner was tried, and the Chairman reports that the Court was quite satisfied with the verdict. He informs me that the landlord of the house and the barman both swore that they saw the prisoner commit the damage, and that he had previously assaulted 24 the landlord, the landlord's wife, and the barman, and was very drunk and violent. He had been previously convicted. The magistrate believed, from inquiries made by the police in addition to the evidence given at the trial, that the statement of Rogers was untrue; and, under these circumstances, I must decline to direct the release of Patrick Walsh.