HC Deb 06 August 1888 vol 329 cc1698-700
DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is true, as stated in the Cork daily papers of Tuesday 24th instant, that Mr. Gardiner, R.M., was again absent from the Cork Police Court. That in his absence Sir George Penrose tried the case of Thomas Ahern, who was charged by Sergeant Knox with coming up to him in a threatening manner in Patrick Street with a walking stick in his hand; whether the report correctly states that it was sworn that while the prisoner was Walking in Patrick Street the sergeant came up and kept staring at him; then after a little time he asked the sergeant if he thought he was either a robber or murderer, and told him if he had any charge against him to make it, and for this he was arrested. That Sir George Penrose then said— You appear to be a very bad boy. The police would not be doing their duty if they passed you by without staring at you. You are fined 40s., or a month; whether Sergeant Knox, who stared at the prisoner, has been on several occasions incarcerated in a lunatic asylum; whether the report is true that in the next case tried, an Artilleryman, named Michael Seward, was charged and convicted of having assaulted an old man named Thomas Weston and attempting to commit an indecent assault upon his grandchild, and that the same magistrate fined him 30s., or 21 days; and, if the circumstances are as stated, whether the attention of the Lord Chancellor will be directed to the conduct of the magistrate, and the sentences imposed by him in these instances?


(who replied) said: Ahern was drunk and disorderly in the public streets of Cork, for which offence he was arrested by Sergeant Knox by order of his Head Constable. Ahern was brought up at the Police Court on July 23, the Bench consisting of two local magistrates, the Resident Magistrates being engaged on duty elsewhere. The accused was fined 40s., or one month's imprisonment with hard labour. There were 11 previous convictions against him for drunkenness and assault. There was no such matter sworn to as that alleged in the second paragraph. The remarks attributed to one of the magistrate are substantially correct. Sergeant Knox has not been on several occasions incarcerated in a lunatic asylum. He was, upwards of seven years ago, in one for some days through a paroxysm of grief owing to a serious domestic affliction; but the Resident Medical Superintendent of the asylum stated that he could not discover the slightest trace of insanity, and the sergeant was discharged. He is reported by his officers to be a very good policeman. Michael Seward, a Militiaman, was charged with being drunk and assaulting Thomas Weston. The assault was a trivial one, and there was no previous conviction against the accused. He was fined for drunkenness 10s. and for assault 20s. No such charge as that of having attempted to commit an indecent assault appears to have been made against the accused.


inquired if the hon. and learned Gentleman had not seen the report that the man was fined for an in- decent assault as well as for an aggravated assault upon an old man?


said, his information differed entirely from that which the hon. Gentleman had been supplied with. No such charge appeared to have been made against him.