HC Deb 04 December 1890 vol 349 cc532-3

I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether he has had brought under his notice the verdict in the case of "Heffernan v. Carter and Tuohy," in which the jury found that The filing of the shot which killed Heffernan was not necessary for the self-defence of Carter and the police; and whether the Law Officers of the Crown in Ireland will now institute proceedings against the officer who ordered the shot to be fired and the policeman who fired it?


Proceedings were instituted on behalf of the Crown against District Inspector Carter and Constable Tuohy as long ago as the month of November, 1889. The Magistrates refused to return them for trial on the ground that they acted in discharge of their duty, and were justified in the course which they took in the circumstances in which they were placed. This decision is fully supported by the evidence in the civil action and by the findings of the jury in this action upon the issues with respect to which they were able in the first instance to agree. They found without any hesitation that it was the duty of District Inspector Carter and his police to disperse the crowd, and that the performance of this duty was attended by personal danger to the Inspector and the police. Having agreed on these issues, they came into Court and told the Presiding Judge that they were unable to agree on the remaining issues, namely, whether the firing of the shot was necessary for the self-defence of Carter and the police, and whether the plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit from the continuance of the deceased's life, and they suggested to the Judge whether they might not return an answer to the former of those two issues conditional upon the answer to be returned to the second. On being informed by the Judge that such a verdict could not stand, they again retired, and ultimately returned with findings answering both these questions in the negative. This amounted to a verdict for the defendants. I have, of course, no information as to how a unanimous decision on the two last mentioned issues was arrived at, but, having regard to the decision of the Magistrates, to the facts proved in evidence in the civil action, and to the verdict and action of the jury taken as a whole, I see no reason to direct any further proceedings in the case.