HC Deb 27 November 1893 vol 18 cc1799-800
MR. SHEEHY (Galway, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that, at the Presentment Sessions held at Woodford on the 3rd instant, two Magistrates, Mr. Shaw Tenner, agent to Lord Clanricarde, and Mr. Lewis, and two cesspayers attending, Mr. Lewis proposed that Mr. Tenner do preside, and on Mr. Tenner taking the chair Mr. Lewis left the Bench to present for the malicious burning of a vacant farmhouse on the property of his mother, whose agent he is; whether Mr. Lewis declined to offer evidence as to malice; that it was then proposed by one of the associated cesspayers that the presentment be rejected; but on another Magistrate then entering, Mr. Tenner and the new arrival supported the claim against the two associated cesspayers; and that, there being a tie, Mr. Shaw Tenner claimed, as chairman, the right to a casting vote, and passed the presentment; whether, under the circumstances, Mr. Tenner was entitled to give a casting vote; and if any steps will be taken to protect the cesspayers in the matter?


I am informed that the statements in the first paragraph are generally correct. Mr. Lewis loft the Bench when his claim for compensation came on, and objection having been raised to the amount of the claim—namely, £50, it was considered that it was too high, and after some discussion it was agreed to grant a sum of £20. It is reported that there was no cross voting on the question; that no casting vote was given by Mr. Tenner; and that the Magistrates and cesspayers were quite unanimous in awarding the sum of £20 as compensation. In the ordinary course the award will have to be confirmed by the Judge at Assizes, and it will then be open to any cesspayer to traverse the presentment; but I am advised that the matter is not one in which the Executive can interfere.

MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)

Was it according to the law or practice that Mr. Lewis, who was making a claim for compensation, should have taken part in the proceedings of the Court by moving the election of a chairman? With reference to the statement that there was no contention, is it not the case that one of the cesspayers moved, and the other seconded, a proposition that the case was not one of malicious injury at all?

MR. BYLES (York, W.R., Shipley)

Is it not true that the two gentlemen named were the only Magistrates on the Bench on the day in question? Was not one of them the agent, and the other the landlord, on the only two estates in the district on which the disputes had arisen?

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

Was it sufficient that a Magistrate should retire from the Bench when a personal case of his own was coming on? Is he precluded from acting on other cases at the same sittings?


I am not aware of some of the circumstances referred to by the Member for Kerry. I should have thought it would have been more in conformity with English usage if the gentleman had taken no part in the proceedings.

MR. BODKIN (Roscommon, S.)

May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman will receive any evidence I can tender contradicting the Report which the right hon. Gentleman has received with reference to this transaction? Was not Mr. Tenner's only qualification for the Magistracy the fact that he is the agent for the Marquess of Clanricarde?


I will consider any evidence which the hon. Gentleman may lay before me.