§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that a complaint in writing was lodged by Mr. Stouppe M'Cance, a magistrate for the county of Antrim, on 28th March last, with regard to the alleged ill-treatment by a constable of the Belfast police force of a woman whom he was taking to the police station, of which Mr. M'Cance was a witness; whether Mr. M'Cance asked for an inquiry into the constable's conduct; whether an inquiry was subsequently 76 held without Mr. M'Cance being present; whether the constable was, in the absence of Mr. M'Cance's evidence, acquitted of blame; and whether, in view of the importance of the public being assured that any reasonable charge against the conduct of a constable will be impartially inquired into, he will order an official inquiry to be held as to the matter in question.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) It is the fact that Mr. M'Cance made a written complaint to the effect stated in the Question. No formal inquiry was held, but the Commissioner of Police obtained written statements from four persons who witnessed the woman's arrest, and these statements showed that the woman was very drunk and threw herself on the ground. All the statements, including Mr. M'Cance's written complaint, were placed before legal advisers of the Government, who decided that the case was not one in which any action should be taken.