HC Deb 30 April 1888 vol 325 cc896-8
MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)

asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Whether there is any legal procedure in the nature of an appeal, or otherwise, by which the legality under "The Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887," of the increased sentences recently passed by the County Court Judges in Ireland upon those who appealed to them against sentences imposed by the Resident Magistrates, can be tested by the Superior Courts; and, if so, whether the Government will institute such appeal or other proceedings?


asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Whether he has carefully considered the legality of the recently increased sentences on appeal in Ireland; how the question of legality can be raised according to the procedure of the Courts in Ireland, whether by application for writ of habeas corpus or otherwise; and, whether the Government will facilitate the raising of the question with a view to its determination in the Superior Courts in Ireland?


The Law Officers of the Crown have carefully considered the question of the legality of the sentences referred to, and they are of opinion that the County Court Judges acted within their powers, and that the sentences are accordingly legal. The law of Ireland affords to any person imprisoned under a sentence which he regards as illegal the same facilities for having the question of its legality determined as exist in England. There are no proceedings which can be taken on the part of the Crown for the purpose of testing the legality of those sentences, as suggested by the hon. Member for the Camborne Division of Cornwall. The Crown will, I need hardly say, place no obstacles in the way of any person who desires to question the legality of any sentence under which he is imprisoned; but it is not in their power to facilitate the course of the proceedings by interfering with the arrangements of the Courts of Justice.