HC Deb 30 March 1897 vol 48 cc121-2

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case of a young man named John Gormely, who was arrested for alleged drunkenness in the streets of Omagh on the 19th ultimo, and brought before two local Justices on the following morning without notice to Gormely's father, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment; whether, seeing that the Petty Sessions of Omagh were held on the 22nd ultimo, he will explain why Gormely was not summoned to appear there, or before a Resident Magistrate, instead of being thus tried in camera; whether it is usual for local Justices to deal with police charges in private within two days of the sitting of local Petty Sessions Court, and give such sentences as three months; and, whether he will advise the police authorities of Omagh to have recourse to the Petty Sessions with such cases in future?


The prisoner, who is an old offender, and who absconded on previous occasions when summoned to Petty Sessions, was arrested in his father's presence for being drunk and disorderly. Gormely assaulted the police on the same occasion. He was sentenced to one month's imprisonment on the first charge, and to two month's imprisonment for assault on the police. Before sentence, his family, when requested to supply him with clean linen, refused to do so, alleging, as a reason, that he had previously assaulted his father, mother and brothers. The case was heard in the Petty Sessions Office at the Court House, to which the public had access, and was not heard in camera. Cases of drunkenness and disorderly conduct have been similarly disposed of on market day held on Saturday, though the Petty Sessions are held on Monday, and where it is known that the accused would not appear if summoned.


Did the right hon. Gentleman approve of this system?


Order, order! The hon. Member must not discuss the matter.


Will the right hon. Gentleman order in future that these questions will be brought before the petty sessions, and not tried by a private tribunal?

[No answer was given.]