HC Deb 06 March 1888 vol 323 cc370-2
MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether Captain Stokes acted as Divisional Resident Magistrate for Cork in place of Captain Plunkett, during the six weeks' vacation allowed the latter in the past year; whether during that period police evidence for the prosecution of Alderman Hooper was collected under his supervision; whether Captain Stokes was one of the two Resident Magistrates who subsequently tried Alderman Hooper; whether the same Captain Stokes adjudicated at the trial of Mr. William O'Brien at Mitchelstown; and subsequently, acting Divisional Resident Magistrate at the trial of Mr. William O'Brien's appeal in the same case at Midleton, jumped on the table of the Court-house, wearing his hat, and with a stick in his hand, ordered Mr. O'Brien's arrest before the warrant for his committal had been made out, though the County Court Judge had stated Mr. O'Brien might leave; and, for what reason was he promoted to the position of temporary Divisional Magistrate after his adjudication in Mr. O'Brien's case at Mitchelstown?


(who replied) said: In reply to the first and third paragraphs of the Question I have to answer in the affirmative. As regards the second paragraph, no police evidence for the prosecution of Alderman Hooper was collected during the period referred to. It is the case that Captain Stokes adjudicated on the trial of Mr. O'Brien at Mitchelstown, and that his appeal before the Recorder at Midleton came on for hearing while Captain Stokes was acting as Divisional Magistrate. I am precluded from entering into the allegations made against Captain Stokes in reference to the proceedings in the Court-house at Midleton, there being, I understand, a civil action pending against Captain Stokes in regard thereto. In the temporary absence of Captain Plunkett through illness it was necessary that his place should be taken by some other Resident Magistrate, and the Government nominated Captain Stokes, on the grounds of competency and public convenience, to act in his stead.


I wish to ask, whether it is the practice that these Divisional Magistrates should sit on the Bench while cases are being heard under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, as in the case of Colonel Turner, where he sits beside the Resident Magistrates on the Bench, and his private secretary sits with the prosecuting counsel below? Also, whether the Divisional Magistrate is a direct agent of the Castle, and thus both their prosecuting and judicial functions are mixed up?


I wish to ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, whether it is not a fact that in the case of Alderman Hooper there were 13 charges against him on the occasion when he was tried by Captain Stokes; and whether, as a matter of fact, a number of these charges were not for offences alleged to have been committed during the period which Captain Stokes was in charge of the district as Divisional Magistrate; and whether, that being so, it was not Captain Stokes' duty to report to Dublin Castle on those offences for which he subsequently tried and convicted Alderman Hooper?


That does not appear upon the Question. If it had I would have had an inquiry on the subject. I think the hon. Member who put the previous Question will see that it does not in any way arise from that which is on the Paper.