§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether evidence elicited at inquiries, conducted in privacy, into charges and complaints against members of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Force is taken on oath; and, if not, whether he will take stops to insure that in future witnesses at such inquiries shall 424 be sworn; whether such inquiries have been held in the absence of the accused; whether, during the chief commissioner-ship of Mr. Jones, every encouragement was given to accused policemen to produce all evidence that could possibly bear on their cases; whether such encouragement is now withheld; whether, during Mr. Jones's period of office, complicated cases were usually adjourned and sometimes submitted to two or three superintendents, who were delegated to make searching investigations, at which the evidence was recorded by a shorthand writer; whether this practice has since been abandoned; and whether he will take steps to insure that such procedure, it abandoned, shall be reverted to.
The Chief Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police informs me that disciplinary inquiries in his force are not conducted in privacy. Evidence is not taken on oath at these inquiries, nor is it considered necessary or desirable that it should be so taken. Inquiries are never held in the absence of the accused. The Chief Commissioner understands that his predecessor permitted witnesses to be examined on behalf of accused constables when he considered it necessary or desirable, and a similar course is followed now. Complicated cases are now, as formerly, adjourned when necessity arises; and when occasion requires such cases are now, as formerly referred to two or more superintendents for investigation. The practice of having a shorthand note taken by a member of the force at such investigations was found not to greatly facilitate matters, as the note taker in many cases was not a rapid writer; and the practice was therefore abandoned. The Chief Commissioner does not think a return to the practice necessary or desirable.