HC Deb 11 April 1893 vol 11 cc12-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case of James Farrell, who was tried by a jury at the recent Assizes for the County Kildare, on a charge of resisting the Sheriffs' officers when executing a decree of the County Court, and was acquitted by the jury; is he aware that the presiding Judge, Mr. Justice Harrison, told them that such a verdict was a perversion of justice, and disastrous and disgraceful to the country; and whether, having regard to the above facts, the Irish Government will consider the propriety of applying the provisions of "The Criminal Law Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887," to the County Kildare?

MR. BODKIN (Roscommon, N.)

Is it the fact that the same Judge, during the last Administration, advised a certain portion of the inhabitants of County Gal-way to resort to lynch law? Is the Judge or the jury the tribunal to decide the innocence or guilt of a prisoner?


I am not aware whether it was Mr. Justice Harrison who made remarks, which I faintly remember, about lynch law in Galway. I am aware of the case of James Farrell, and also that Judge Harrison made use of the observations mentioned. As regards the last paragraph of the question, the hon. Member appears to have overlooked the address of the Lord Chief Baron to the Grand Jury on the opening of the Kildare Spring Assizes, on which occasion he referred to the fact that there were only 13 cases included in the County Inspector's Return of specially reported offences since the last previous Assizes. The Lord Chief Baron observed that this was a very small number for a county such as Kildare, and especially one adjoining the Metropolitan County, and his Lordship further observed that what particularly impressed him in connection with this Return was that practically in every serious case comprised in it the persons accused had been made amenable to justice.


May I ask whether, as a matter of fact, the failure of justice on the part of the Kildare jury did not take place after the Charge of the Lord Chief Baron?


Yes, of course; the charge was to the Grand Jury. I am not prepared, without a fuller knowledge of the circumstances, to admit there was a failure of justice. With regard to the last paragraph of the question on the Paper, the remarks of the Chief Baron clearly show nothing could be more absurd than to apply the provisions of the Crimes Act to such a county as Kildare.

MR. T. D. SULLIVAN (Donegal, W.)

Arising out of the series of questions just asked by the hon. Member, I wish to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether inquiries addressed to Ministers founded on newspaper reports of crime in Ireland, which cases presumably are being dealt with in the ordinary course of law, is not a deliberate waste of the time of the House?


That is a matter for the House to judge.