HC Deb 19 July 1888 vol 328 cc1769-70
MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been drawn to the following passage in the report published in The Freeman's Journal of the 10th instant, of the Judgment of the High Court of Appeal in Ireland in the case of "The Queen at the Prosecution of Byrne v. Knox and others:"— Lord Justice Barry in concurring observed that it had been stated by Mr. O'Brien in the course of argument that the carriage of a case stated lay with the magistrates and not with the parties. That was a dangerous and unconstitutional doctrine. It was contrary to the invariable practice in this country both at Assizes and in the Civil Bill Courts, which was that the parties themselves should state the facts, the Judge or magistrate settling any disputed matter. Otherwise, at the argument of the case stated one party or the other might find that the case did not contain facts that he required. He had heard it made a ground of complaint against some County Courts in England that they stated cases without the concurrence of parties, and without consulting them as to the facts; and, having regard to the difference between this statement of the law and that made by the Lord Chief Baron and Baron Dowse, what instructions he proposes to issue to the Resident Magistrates with respect to their duties in stating cases?


As far as I am able to judge, there is an important difference between the statement made in the High Court of Appeal and the Court of Exchequer respectively in the case of "The Queen at the Prosecution of Byrne v. Knox and others" on the course to be pursued by magistrates in stating a case. I feel that this difference of opinion is likely to be embarrassing to the magistrates; but I fear that it is beyond my province to act as a final Court of Appeal from the learned Judges, and that it would be inconsistent with my duty to advise magistrates on the course which they should pursue when acting in their judicial capacity.