HC Deb 11 May 1893 vol 12 cc643-4
SIR THOMAS LEA (Londonderry, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been drawn to the case of a farmer named John Hunter, who was sentenced at Magherafelt Petty Sessions, on 26th April, for assaulting a constable during the recent Ballyronan disturbance, to a month's imprisonment, and convicted upon the constable's sole evidence, without any corroboration, the Magistrate refusing leave to appeal; whether he is aware that Hunter's solicitor wished, to call witnesses, who, he alleged, could have proved conclusively that Hunter was not there at the time of the alleged assault, but the Magistrate did not hear them, and that affidavits of defendant's innocence have been sent through the solicitor to the Lord Lieutenant, and the names of two sureties willing to enter bail for £1,000 that defendant would appear at any time to take his trial again if liberated now; and whether any, and what, reply has been returned to this application?

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

Is it not a fact that the hon. Baronet and his Colleagues of the last Government invariably voted against giving a right of appeal in all these cases?


I cannot say that without notice. Hunter, I am informed, was sentenced to one month's imprisonment for deliberately and without provocation assaulting a policeman; no witnesses were called for the defence, although the defendant had been summoned a week prior to his conviction, and had, therefore, ample time to produce any witnesses he pleased. The decision of the Magistrates in this case was unanimous, and it is true that they decline to accede to the request of defendant's solicitor to increase the sentence with a view to an appeal. The Lord Lieutenant has had before him the Memorial with affidavits on behalf of Hunter, and has decided that the law must take its course. This decision was communicated to Hunter and his solicitor on the 4th instant.


What is the meaning of the suggestion in the question that a man who has been convicted should have a right to another trial if liberated now?


That is a matter which perplexes me.