HC Deb 29 April 1902 vol 107 cc169-70
MR. M'KEAN (Monaghan, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has seen a Report of the proceedings in the case of M'Dermott v. Lynam, tried before the King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in Ireland on the 17th April last; whether his attention has been directed to the comments of Lord Chief Justice O'Brien and Mr. Justice Gibson on the action of the Crown in bringing the case before the King's Bench Division; and whether the Irish Government propose to continue a practice in favour of which counsel for the Crown was unable to cite one precedent from among the cases tried before the English Courts, and for which, according to Mr. Justice Gibson, there was no precedent among such cases.


At the request of my right hon. friend, I will reply to this Question. My attention has been called to a newspaper report of the proceedings, including the interlocutory observations of the judges made during the argument. I am not in a position to say whether it is accurate or not. The jurisdiction of the Superior Court to require, at the suit of the Crown, persons who used language similar to that used by Mr. Lynam to give sureties to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, has been established in Ireland by three separate decisions, founded mainly on English authorities. The jurisdiction is undoubted; it, as well as the use of the language complained of, was, I understand, admitted in the case by the counsel for Mr. Lynam, and the Executive Government will apply to the Court for its exercise, whenever they consider it their duty so to do for the maintenance of peace and order. The observations of the learned Judges referred to, as reported, only amounted, as I understand, to this: that there was no reported case among the English precedents where the form of the application was precisely similar to that before the Court, but that they did not attempt to lay down the entirely untenable proposition that the jurisdiction did not exist in England, and has not been exercised there.