MR. T. M. HEALY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been called to the fact that last Thursday, near Draperstown, County Deny, two men were shot by gamekeepers; one was Bernard M'Eldowney, whose leg is shattered by a bullet from a Martini-Henry; the other, Patrick M'Guiggan, whose foot was smashed so that it will probably have to be amputated; and that the two gamekeepers, Deane, and Lees, were arrested, but released on £100 bail by Mr. C. W. Dysart, J.P.; whether lie is aware that the Magistrate shook hands with the prisoner, Deane, before the inquiry; whether it is usual to release prisoners, especially on such small bail, when serious injury has been inflicted; if not, will the Lord Chancellor's attention be called to the circumstance; did the police resist bail; was the Crown professionally represented; and what is the present condition of the wounded men?
MR. J. MORLEY
My attention has been drawn to a report of the occurrence referred to in the first paragraph. Each of the wounded men, who were poachers, was armed with a double-barrelled gun, and both of them fired the first shot at one of the gamekeepers, who, however, was not struck. They were shortly afterwards fired upon by Deane. One 1231 was seriously injured in the left leg, and the other in the left foot. The gamekeepers were arrested and charged with shooting at the poachers, and at the hearing of the case the Magistrate named took bail for their appearance at the next Petty Sessions. The Crown was not professionally represented at the hearing, but the District Inspector of Police conducted the proceedings and opposed bail being taken. I understand it is not usual to release prisoners on bail when serious injury has been inflicted, but it does not appear that the action of the Magistrate was illegal in the present case. I am making further inquiry into the matter, however. The police are unable to say whether the Magistrate shook hands with one of the prisoners before the inquiry, as alleged. The wounded men are improving, and no amputation, so I am told, will be necessary.