HC Deb 24 February 1888 vol 322 cc1361-3
MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Has his attention been called to the fact that, on charges where Resident Magistrates have no special jurisdiction (such as the preliminary hearings at Tralee into the murder of Quirke), the police are bringing prisoners solely before Resident Magistrates; did the Quirke investigation at Tralee begin in Potty Sessions; if so, has he any information to show why all the unpaid County Justices were absent; has his attention been called to the statement of Mr. Cecil Roche, R.M., at Tralee, to the unpaid Justices sitting in Court there, that he would direct the notice of the Lord Chancellor to their conduct, in refusing to give priority to the hearing of cases under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act; on what principle was this demand made for the postponement of the ordinary Court business; has Mr. Roche, R.M., made any representation in the matter, or will any notice be taken by the Government of the language reported to have been used by Mr. Roche; how long has Mr. Roche been himself a Resident Magistrate; can he state the circumstances under which Mr. Roche went to Tralee Gaol and obtained from a prisoner the statement to which he deposed in the Quirke case; had Mr. Roche previously sat in this case as one of the Resident Magistrates before whom the prisoners wore originally brought; did he adjudicate thereon, refusing remands, & c.; if so, how does it occur that Mr. M'Dermott, R.M., now sits alone in the case; is there any precedent for an adjudicating magistrate becoming a witness before a Court of which he is a member, as to matters occurring between remands; how many different Resident Magistrates have dealt with this case since the crime was committed; and, in what way, and by whom, is it decided that cases cognizable either by Resident Magistrates or Justices of the Peace, such as an assault on a policeman, are to be tried by Resident Magistrates to the exclusion of the unpaid Justices?


I cannot find that there is any ground for the allegation contained in the first paragraph of this Question. With reference to the Quirke case, it appears that Mr. Roche, having held a magisterial investigation, and having satisfied himself that the case was one for further inquiry as against the accused, remanded them to Petty Sessions, whore the case was heard in the usual way. It was open to the unpaid magistrates to attend, and I am unable to say why they did not do so. As to the third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs of the Question, Mr. Roche never had any controversy whatever with the local magistrates at Tralee as to the priority of cases under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act; but a question of the kind did arise at Rathmore. If this be the matter referred to by the hon. and learned Gentleman, I shall be happy to make inquiries if he repeats this portion of his Question. Mr. Roche was appointed on the 23rd of October, 1886. With reference to paragraphs 7 to 11, I have to state that it was at the urgent request of the prisoner, conveyed to him through the Governor of Tralee Gaol, that Mr. Roche visited him and obtained from him the statement that had appeared. Mr. Roche had previously heard some of the evidence; but after his interview with the prisoner he took no further part in the case, except to take the prisoner's depositions. Three magistrates acted in the case. The Attorney General for Ireland decides before what tribunal important cases should be tried; and in less important cases the directions are given by the Divisional Magistrates.


Who gave the direction in the case of the Mayor of Cork?


The prosecution in that case was directed by the Attorney General for Ireland.