I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what was the number of persons who were called upon, during the twelve months ended 31st May, 1907, to enter into sureties to be of good behaviour under the Act of Edward III., or to be of good behaviour and to keep the peace under the combined authorities of that Act and the Magistrates Commission, in cases arising out of boycotting,† See (4) Debates, clxxv., 49.1421 intimidation, and other offences connected with the agrarian movement in Ireland; how many such persons gave the requisite sureties; and how many were committed to prison in default.
§ MR. BIRRELL
During the twelve months ending 31st May last, summonses were issued against eighty-seven persons, requiring them to show cause why they should not be required to find sureties for the peace or good behaviour, in connection with cases of the nature referred to in the Question. In forty-nine of these cases the magistrates made the order applied for, and in thirty-eight cases they declined to do so. Of the forty-nine persons required to find sureties, twenty-four did so, and the remaining twenty-five refused and were committed to gaol.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
asked if the right hon. Gentleman was aware that Chief Baron Palles in giving judgment in Dr. Tanner's case regretted that the power of sending to gaol, in default of giving sureties, men who had committed no offence was exercised, stating that it was an anomaly in the law, and also if he was aware that the present Attorney-General for England had characterised the exercise of such a power by Irish resident magistrates as an unjustifiable abuse of power.
§ MR. BIRRELL
I am acquainted with the observations of Chief Baron Palles, but I have not had the advantage of reading those of the Attorney-General.