HC Deb 17 April 1888 vol 324 cc1475-6
MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether, on Tuesday, 3rd April, 1888, Constable Courteney (or Coatenay), of Ballyshrule Barrack, near Portumna, killed, or caused the death of, a cow belonging to Andrew Keane, of Bally-glass; whether the constable was found in the cowshed with the dying cow; whether he paid the owner £6 as compensation and hush-money on Thursday 5th April; whether at places where this constable has been on "protection duty" a sheep and a horse have died mysteriously by violence; and, whether, on the unsupported evidence of this constable, six young men in the district of Portumna were recently imprisoned for alleged intimidation, while two others only escaped punishment by establishing an alibi, though he had sworn positively against them also? He wished also to add to the Question a paragraph which had been struck out after he had handed it in. It was, whether if this Constable Courteney had not been caught redhanded causing the death of the cow, this death of the cow would have appeared as an agragrian outrage?


Order, order! The latter part of the Question was struk out by myself as being irregular.


I will content myself with dealing with the Question on the Paper. The Inspector General of Constabulary reports that the constable referred to, in a state of drunkenness, entered the cowhouse and lay down. The owner subsequently entered and charged the constable with killing a cow which was lying dead there. The constable thereupon offered him £6 compensation, and subsequently paid it to him. The district inspector, however, reports that the sergeant in charge of the station inspected some 36 hours after-wards the carcase of the cow, and found it in a state of decomposition, and from its condition considered it could not have been killed by the constable as alleged, and the general impression among the people in the district carries out this view. There does not appear to be any ground for the allegation that while the constable was on protection duty in other places a horse and a sheep died mysteriously by violence. As regards the last paragraph, six men were convicted, not on the unsupported evidence of the constable, but on the testimony of four constables, this man being one. In the case of one only of the two men who were acquitted did this constable give evidence.


Do I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that the sergeant reports that the appearance of the cow when it was only one day dead precluded the idea that it had been killed.


So I understand?