HC Deb 04 December 1906 vol 166 cc766-7
MR. GINNELL (Westmeath, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he will ascertain if District-Inspector Rutledge, of Mullingar, reported to the Inspector-General of the Royal Irish Constabulary the formal complaint of the magistrates, Messrs. Sullivan, Hyde and Nooney, made to him in the magistrates' room on the 23rd June last, regarding Constable Scott's illegal conduct in a specific case; if any officer reported repeated reprimands administered from the Bench to Scott for his improper and illegal conduct; is it the practice, as in this case. to allow police officers to nullify the complaints of magistrates, by failing to report them, and then to deny and ignore the complaints and promote the constable reprimanded; whether, seeing that Scott failed to pass the requisite examination for promotion, and is not the senior constable in his district, he will explain the reason for his promotion; and, having regard to a letter from one of the magistrates placed in his hands, will he have this promotion reconsidered.


I am informed by the police authorities that at Mullingar Petty Sessions before Messrs. Sullivan, Hyde and Nooney, Constable Scott prosecuted a man for drunkenness. The defendant was unanimously convicted by the magistrates on Constable Scott's evidence. When the Court had risen, Mr. Nooney asked District-Inspector Rutledge to come to the magistrates' room, and he there stated that he strongly disapproved of the manner in which Constable Scott gave his evidence in the case referred to, and he desired the District-Inspector to tell the constable so. Mr. Hyde, J.P., said it was only fair to state that the magistrates had previously on several occasions commended the constable from the Bench for the manner in which he brought up cases. Mr. Sullivan, R.M., remarked that the constable was perhaps too keen in the way in which he gave evidence on that day. The District-Inspector did not regard this conversation as a formal complaint by the magistrates and did not therefore report the matter to the Inspector-General. I am informed that there is no foundation for the suggestion that Constable Scott has been repeatedly reprimanded from the Bench. The constable passed the requisite examination for promotion in 1901. The reasons for his promotion were stated in my reply to the hon. Member's previous Question on 14th November, The Inspector-General understands that there is no reason for the suggestion that the magistrates generally are dissatisfied with the promotion, though one magistrate appears to be dissatisfied. The promotion of constables rests with the Inspector-General, who informs me that he sees no reason for re-considering the decision arrived at.