HC Deb 13 June 1904 vol 135 cc1494-5
MR. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to a resolution recently passed by the Roscommon County Council, condemning the action of a local bench of magistrates in sentencing a member of the council to two short terms of imprisonment, without the option of a fine, on a charge for which usually a fine is imposed; whether he is aware that the charge was heard in the absence of the defendant; and, if so, whether, in view of a recent utterance of County Court Judge Adams to the same effect, he will consider the advisability of altering the law in order to give an appeal in every case from a sentence of imprisonment imposed by a petty sessions tribunal.


The defendant was convicted on two separate charges of permitting horses, his property, to be cruelly tortured by working them in an unfit state. When the case was called on the 14th May his solicitor applied for an adjournment for a fortnight, to suit the convenience of the defendant, who was unable to be present on that date. The application was granted. On the adjournment he failed to appear, and the solicitor who appeared for him on the first occasion stated he had no instructions. The principal witness for the prosecution stated it was the worst case of cruelty he had ever seen. The defendant was sentenced to two terms of imprisonment of seven days without hard labour. The presiding magistrate, in delivering judgment, observed that the sentence was the lightest possible consistent with the administration of justice. The question of assimilating the law in Ireland and England in respect of appeals is one that might be considered in the event of the introduction of legislation dealing with Petty Sessions Courts.