HC Deb 25 February 1898 vol 54 cc21-2
MR. M. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state why the practice of allowing persons accused and imprisoned in connection with deaths to attend the coroner's inquest in England is not followed in Ireland; whether in Ireland it is necessary to apply for habeas corpus in order to secure the attendance of the accused person from prison, or otherwise a verdict seriously affecting him may be given by the coroner's jury behind his back; and whether he will make inquiry with the view of extending to Ireland the same practice adopted in such cases in England?


With my right hon. Friend's permission I will reply to this Question. A prisoner cannot be produced in Ireland at a coroner's inquisition without a, writ of habeas corpus, obtained by him or by the Crown. In England the law is different, as under the 16th Vict., cap. 30, sec. 9, which does not extend to Ireland, a prisoner may be produced on the warrant of the Secretary of State. The question of assimilating the practice in England and Ireland has been fully considered by the Irish Government from time to time during the past 20 years, and more recently by the late Government in 1894, when it was decided that it was not desirable any change should be made in the existing Irish practice. In the absence of evidence that this practice is detrimental to the interests of prisoners, I see no reason for an alteration in the law.