HC Deb 24 February 1888 vol 322 cc1378-9
MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he is aware that in order to obtain the release of Sullivan, the Kerry blacksmith, from the sentence of Resident Magistrates under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, no less than nine applications on different days had to be made to the Superior Courts in Dublin; that though the Court of Exchequer decided that there was no evidence on which the man could be convicted, yet they held there was no power to give costs against the Crown on habeas corpus; is it the fact that in the case of the sentence on Mr. Walsh, of The Wexford People, of three months' hard labour for publishing the reports of suppressed branches, which the same Court quashed, the costs of the argument of the "case stated" will not include the heavy costs in the hearing below before the Resident Magistrates; and, whether, as these convictions were held illegal and unwarrantable, the Government intend the prisoners to be left charged with the costs involved, thus involving practically the infliction of a heavy sum on men declared innocent by the highest authority?


(who replied) said: The Chief Crown Solicitor reports as follows: — In the case of Sullivan proceedings were at first taken for certiorari before the Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice, and the Court, composed of four Judges, unanimously refused the application of Sullivan. Proceedings were then taken for habeas corpus to the Exchequer Division; and the Court being composed of three Judges, two of them ruled in Sullivan's favour, and he was accordingly discharged, but no costs were given. I am unable to state the number of days on which these applications were made. The Attorney General adds— In Sullivan's case, which was an application for a writ of habeas corpus, the Court of Exchequer decided that there was no power to give costs; but in Walsh's case, which was a case stated by the magistrates, the Court decided there was power to give costs. This was the decision of the Court of Exchequer, which decided both cases. As to the release of Sullivan on the ground that there was no evidence, this arose from the accidental omission of not entering in the particular case of Sullivan the evidence of Mrs. Curtin, which had been previously recorded, and which applied to all the cases heard on that day, including Sullivan's. The Government have no intention whatever of paying Sullivan's costs.


Apart from the argumentative matter which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has thought fit to introduce into his answer, I have to say that the latter portion of his answer is grossly inaccurate.


Order, order!