§ MR. HALPIN (Clare, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been drawn to the statement of the judge at the assizes held at Ennis for the county of Clare, viz., that in not a single instance have the judges been called upon to investigate any serious crime; whether he is aware that the county of Clare has got an unqualified certificate of good character from Mr. Justice Johnston; and whether he will explain why the Government counsel wore employed in the prosecution of an individual charged with the larceny of a pair of winkers.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. CHERRY,) Liverpool, Exchange
I have seen a newspaper report of the learned Judge's address to the Grand Jury, in which he stated that the cases for trial were in no way exceptional. Eight cases in all were tried, none of which were of a very serious character. In six of these there 729 were convictions, and in two, acquittals. I gather from the reports of the police authorities that county Clare is, with the exception of one locality, in a satisfactory condition. In the particular case to which the hon. Member refers, the accused pleaded not guilty when before the petty sessions court, and demanded to be tried by a jury. The case having been sent forward in the ordinary way, I felt bound to direct it to be conducted by the Crown counsel. The seriousness of an offence cannot be determined alone by the value of the article stolen. The accused was convicted by the jury.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
Has the right hon. Gentleman's attention been called to that portion of the Judge's address in which, in endeavouring to describe the condition of the county, he said he could only compare it to Utopia? That is my constituency.
§ MR. MACVEAGH
Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been called to the statement of the Judge to the effect that in order to make this an assize case the Crown added sixpence to the value of the " winkers "?
§ [No Answer was returned.]