HC Deb 24 February 1896 vol 37 cc943-4
MR. T. J. HEALY (Wexford, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is the case that the charge brought at the Gorey Petty Sessions, on the 7th instant, against James Pelan, for being drunk and disorderly on his own licensed premises in the town of Gorey, was heard in the Grand Jury Room, in the Court House, and not in the Court where the ordinary Petty Sessions cases are heard; whether he is aware that Mr. M. Redmond, J.P., one of the Justices who sat on the Bench that day, denies that any case against Pelan was heard in open Court; whether, seeing that the Chief Secretary was informed that the charge against Pelan was heard in open Court, and that one of the presiding magistrates denies that statement, he will cause an independent Inquiry to be held on the facts of the case; and, what charges were brought against Pelan that day, what were the penalties inflicted, and who were the Justices who adjudicated on the charges?


The charge preferred against the accused was for being drunk on his own licensed premises, and was heard, so I am now informed, in the Grand Jury Room a few minutes before the Petty Sessions opened and in the presence of complainant, witnesses, solicitor for the accused, and the Clerk of Petty Sessions. I regret that I was misinformed when I stated, in reply to the hon. Gentleman's previous Question on Friday last, that the case had been heard in open Court. At the same time, it appears that the doors of the Court House had previously been thrown open to the public; there was free access to the Grand Jury Room, and no attempt was made to conceal the case from the public. On the application of the solicitor for the accused, and for the purpose of meeting his convenience, and with the consent of the complainant, the Resident Magistrate, who adjudicated, amended the charge by confining it to one of drunkenness, to which the accused pleaded guilty, and was fined the sum of 5s. and costs.


Why was the case heard in the Grand Jury Room in place of the ordinary Court House?


I believe it was to suit the convenience of a solicitor who wished to catch a train.