HC Deb 10 April 1905 vol 144 cc1033-4
MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that upon the hearing of two claims by farmers for compensation for malicious destruction of hay, at Limerick Quarter Sessions last week, Head Constable Doherty expressed the opinion that the hay was burned on behalf of the applicant, whereas County Court Judge Adams rejected that opinion, which he said was unsupported by any tittle of evidence and awarded the claimant compensation; and whether, with the view of preserving the independence of the Constabulary, he will direct a full inquiry to be made into the circumstances under which the police officer made these unfounded allegations.


The Head Constable only expressed the opinion complained of after he had been pressed to do so by the Judge. The police are instructed, when giving evidence in such cases, to claim privilege if their answer would interfere with the administration of justice. I am advised that the Head Constable would have been justified in claiming privilege in this case and declining to make a grave criminal charge on suspicion. I am making further inquiry into the matter.