HC Deb 09 May 1904 vol 134 cc770-1

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the proceedings of the last petty sessions in Kilkeel, county Down; whether he is aware that a prosecution by the local guardians for overcrowding had to be adjourned for the third time owing to the refusal of Mr. Bull, R.M., to wait half-an-hour for the evidence of the dispensary doctor; and that it was explained that the doctor was delayed owing to the difficulty in obtaining a locum tenens for the dispensary work; and whether, in view of the inconvenience caused to the parties concerned, and of the fact that Mr. Bull is a public servant and had not to attend any other Court on that day, he will cause representations to be made to him as to the inconvenience produced by his conduct.


This case has been before the Court on three different occasions. On the first the dispensary doctor, who is also Sanitary Medical Officer, was in Court. When called he refused to give evidence unless paid his fee of one guinea. The Solicitor for the district council refused to do this and asked for an adjournment. On the next occasion the doctor failed to appear, and an adjournment was again applied for and was granted. On the last occasion the case was first on the list. When called on the doctor again failed to appear, and the case was put at the bottom of the list. When it was reached the doctor was still absent, though his dispensary is very near to the Courthouse. It was intimated that when the doctor had finished his business at the dispensary he would attend. This was an indefinite undertaking, which might mean minutes or hours, and the plaintiff again applied for a third adjournment. In the exercise of their discretion the magistrates, of whom Mr. Bull was one, granted the application. Their action was quite legitimate and proper.