§ MR. JOHN DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland (1) whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that on Thursday last, at the late assizes in Omagh, the Counsel for the Crown applied that the trial of James and Thomas Maguire should be adjourned until the next assizes, on the ground of the impossibility of having them tried again at the present assizes, and that Thomas Maguire was not put on his trial at the late assizes; (2) whether, seeing that that assize was for gaol delivery, it is proposed to keep Thomas Maguire in gaol in view of the fact that he was not tried; and (3) whether, in view of the fact that James Maguire has now been tried four times and Thomas three times, and have been acquitted in Belfast on the charge of murder, and that the only charge against them now is the charge of larceny, the Crown will immediately order the discharge of both prisoners?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. ATKINSON, Londonderry, N.)
The facts are substantially as stated in the first paragraph of the Question. Thomas Maguire was not put upon his trial owing to the fact that the prisoners refused to join in their challenges and the number of jurors attending the assizes was not sufficient to enable them to be tried separately. Immediately on the termination of the trial of James Maguire, Counsel representing the Crown, when applying for an adjournment by my direction, stated that the Crown would consent to the discharge of both of the prisoners on their giving moderate bail for their appearance to come up and take their trial on getting notice, and the Judge accordingly made au order to the effect that the prisoners should be discharged on giving hail themselves in £50 and two sureties in £20 each. I have no reason to think that the prisoners cannot get bail to this amount, but should this turn out to be the case, the Government will take the 566 matter into consideration with a view of releasing them from further confinement.
§ MR. DILLON
said that the right hon. Gentleman had not answered the last paragraph of his Question. He wished to know whether the Crown really proposed to proceed further, and to try these men, who had already been tried one three times, and one four times, and who had been acquitted on the main charge. Did not the right hon. Gentleman consider that to try them again would be a case of persecution?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND
No, Sir, I do not consider that it would be a case of persecution to try them again. If the men do not procure bail the matter will be considered by the Government. Of course if they do procure bail they will be released at once.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said that Thomas Maguire had been untried at the recent gaol delivery, and therefore he wished to know whether he was not entitled to be discharged unconditionally.