HC Deb 04 April 1892 vol 3 cc577-8
MR. KILBRIDE (Kerry, S.)

I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland, with regard to the case of John Sweeney, junior, Kilgarvan, County Kerry, who was arrested on the 13th February, 1891, charged with the murder of Denis Harrington (a gamekeeper), Glengariffe, and who, having been 16 times remanded, was kept in custody for ten months, and ultimately released on his own recognisances, whether the Crown still retain a portion of his wearing apparel; whether he has applied to District Inspector Sullivan, Bantry, for the remaining portion of his clothes; and whether the Crown will restore him his property and compensate him for the injuries which he has sustained? The hon. Gentleman also asked what was the amount of the charge furnished to the Crown for the expenses of witnesses for the defence in the case of the Queen v. John Sweeney, junior, Kilgarvan, County Kerry, at the Cork Summer Assizes and Nenagh Winter Assizes last year, and what amount has been paid and when the balance will be discharged? The hon. Gentleman further asked whether in February, 1891, the police took possession of a gun and two dogs, the property of John Sweeney, senior, Kilgarvan; and, if so, by what right; whether they still retain possession of them, and, if so, whether he will direct their return?


With the permission of the House, I shall now reply to the three questions of the hon. Member bearing on the same subject. The man mentioned was arrested on a charge of murder, was remanded twelve times, and was finally committed for trial at Cork Summer Assizes, 1891, where a true bill for murder was found against him by the Grand Jury. The man was subsequently released on bail at Cork Winter Assizes, 1891, to which the trial had been postponed, but at which it was not proceeded, with. The amount claimed as witnesses' expenses for the defence was £14 16s. 3d.; the amount found on examination to be admissible was £2 18s. 6d., which has been paid. The articles of clothing, the gun and dogs, were detained by the police as evidence in the case. The question as to their disposal is now being submitted to me by the Constabulary authorities.


What right have the Crown to keep the man's clothes which were so left?


They have a perfect right to take anything that they think may lead to identification, and it was on that ground that they were taken.


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the man is compensated?


Oh, no, Sir; that is a very different story.