§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether it was true that the Attorney General for Ireland refused, through Mr. Burke, Sessional Crown Solicitor for Roscommon, to consent to adjourn the hearing of the appeal of the hon. Member for North Monaghan against a sentence of four months with hard labour under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, from the 22nd to the 24th or 26th instant, on the grounds that such adjournment would inconvenience counsel for the Crown; and, whether he could now say that the hearing would be adjourned to allow the hon. Member to take part in the debate and Division on the Arrears Bill of the hon. Member for the City of Cork Mr Parnell)?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
, in reply, said, he had just received a telegram which he hoped would enable him to supplement the answer which he had prepared; but, unfortunately, it did not. As he understood the facts, it was not accurate to say that the Attorney General for Ireland had refused the application of the solicitor of the hon. Member for North Monaghan on the ground that such an adjournment would be inconvenient to the counsel for the Crown. The grounds on which the application was refused primarily and principally was that the Judge had himself fixed a long time ago to try criminal cases in the Athlone Division on the 27th, so that it was impossible to begin a trial, which would probably take two days, on the 26th. There was a second reason; but that second reason was not the inconvenience of the Crown counsel, but the public inconvenience that would arise either from a change of the counsel in the middle of the trial, or from 1796 removing the gentleman who was the Crown Counsel, as the adjournment would prevent him from attending certain very important murder cases to be tried in another county on the 27th. He, therefore, fully concurred in the course which the Attorney General for Ireland had taken; and he could not see how the Attorney General could have consented to the particular postponement that was required; but he had telegraphed over a suggestion that the trial should be postponed until Thursday afternoon, so as to give the hon. Gentleman the Member for North Monaghan the opportunity of voting on the Bill referred to, and of returning to Ireland in time for the trial on Thursday afternoon. He (Mr. A. J. Balfour) had expressed the hope to the Attorney General for Ireland that if such a course were possible he would communicate himself to the hon. Member by telegraph.