§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY (Londonderry)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has lately been called to the case of Michael Larkin, of Deal Street, Salford, on whose behalf a Petition was presented to the House of Commons in June 1888, from which it appears that Michael Larkin was convicted at the Limerick Quarter Sessions in January, 1862, on a charge of having uttered a base half-crown, and also on a charge of having been previously convicted of a similar offence at Cork in 1858, and was sentenced to penal servitude for life; but it having afterwards transpired that Larkin was not the man convicted at Cork, and that the evidence against him in the Limerick case was 699 much discredited, Larkin received a free pardon, after having been more than 15 years in prison, but got no compensation for these lost years of his life; and, whether, under all the circumstances, he will endeavour to obtain some compensation for Larkin?
MR. A. J. BALFOUE
Michael Larkin and one McMahon were on 7 th January, 1862, convicted at Limerick Quarter Sessions on the charge of uttering base coin, and this having been the second conviction for this class of offence of Larkin he was sentenced to penal servitude for life. He did not subsequently receive a free pardon on the ground alleged in this question. There was no doubt entertained in regard to his previous conviction, nor in regard to his guilt on the second occasion. But it appearing that the Chairman of Quarter Sessions, when passing the sentence of penal servitude for life, thought that according to the Prison Rules this man would after a period of years be released, the Government of the day decided that as he had served 15 years in penal servitude the remainder of the sentence should in substance be remitted, and he was freed from the obligations of conforming to the conditions of his licence. The man was properly convicted. That conviction was reviewed by successive Governments on memorials submitted by the convict while in prison, the decision invariably being that the law should take its course. And there is no ground whatever for considering the question of compensation in the matter.