HC Deb 07 August 1890 vol 348 cc101-2
MR. MOLLOY (King's Co., Birr)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the police have, for the third time, commenced a prosecution against Mr. John Powell, editor of the Midland Tribune, for inserting in his journal reports of meetings and other matter ordinarily inserted in newspapers; whether Mr. Powell was imprisoned in 1888 for two months, with the result that Mr. Powell lost the sight of one eye, besides permanent injury to his health; whether this same gentleman was again imprisoned in 1889, with the result that this imprisonment again injured his health, causing severe spitting of blood, and to such an extent that upon the prison doctor's certificate he was dismissed before the expiration of the term; and whether the Chief Secretary will use his influence to put an end to this persecution?


I am informed that the facts are not accurately represented in the question. Mr. Powell was not in prison in 1888. He was committed to Tullamore Prison in January, 1889, for seven days for contempt of Court, and in April, 1889, for two months for intimidation, not con- tained in matter ordinarily inserted in a newspaper, but in leading articles in two successive issues of his paper. The medical officer of the prison reports that neither his health nor his eyesight was in any way injured by imprisonment, but, on the contrary, his general health was better on his discharge from prison than it had been on committal, he being naturally a delicate man, and he gained in weight during imprisonment. In August, 1889, he was brought before the Magistrates, charged with unlawfully inciting in a sub-leading article of the paper, persons to use violence and intimidation to others, and required to show cause why he should not find sureties for his future good behaviour. He was ordered by the Magistrates to give such surety, but declined to do so, electing to go to prison for three months in default. During that imprisonment he had a slight attack of blood-spitting. He was subsequently discharged from custody on the recommendation of the Medical Officer.