§ MR. FLYNN (Cork)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention had been called to the statement of his secretary, that "no person had ever been prosecuted either for cheering a popular patriot, or booing Mr. Balfour"; that at the last Petty Sessions in Newmarket, County Cork, a number of young men were summoned for being "guilty of conduct directly tending to scandalize the authorities, and to create contempt and disrespect for the law, and provoke a breach of the peace"; that the sole evidence given of a criminatory character was that two or more policemen swore that the defendants "cheered for Mr. O'Brien," and "booed for Mr. Balfour"; and if he would inform the House fully of what occurred at the Newmarket Petty Sessions?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
My attention was called to this statement by the hon. and learned Member for Longford. It is, I believe, accurate. While the police were conveying a drunken man to barracks, a mob collected and began to hiss and boo the police and call them names. They made use, among other expressions, of those mentioned in the Question. The sentiments uttered were innocent, and possibly even laudable; 26 but this does not of itself render legal an attempt to bring the law into contempt, or provoke a breach of the peace under the circumstances which I have described.
§ MR. FLYNN
Will the right hon. Gentleman say if it was the case that a number of young men were returning from a football match, and on entering the village, accompanied by a band, one of them in a moment of hilarity called out "Cheers for O'Brien" and was promptly arrested by two policemen; that he walked quietly to gaol and was kept in custody until the day of the prosecution; that the District Inspector proceeded to state the case; but the Resident Magistrate who was present or—
§ *MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is now making a counter statement: if he wishes to elicit further information he should give notice of a question in the usual way.
§ MR. SEXTON
May I ask if there was a crowd, why were only two proceeded against? Were the booing and cheering the gravamen of the offence?
§ Mr. A. J. BALFOUR
No; certainly not the gravamen of the offence. I answered the particular question on the Paper.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Member calls it a prosecution. I believe it was simply binding over to good behaviour.