§ MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will state why, having regard to the fact that the number of cases of cattle-driving for the six months ending 27th June was 413, as compared with 381 cases for the whole of 1907, no charges arising out of these proceedings have been presented for trial at the recent summer assizes.
§ MR. CHERRY
The cases of cattle-driving which occurred in the six months referred to, though more in number were 1670 less serious in character than those in the corresponding period of last year. In every case in which the police have been able to obtain evidence of participation in cattle-driving against any individuals proceedings have been taken. The question whether the cases should be dealt with summarily or returned for trial is one to be determined according to the circumstances of each case, and the Government consider that proceedings of a summary nature are as a general rule more effectual in the preservation of peace and good order in the various counties than prosecutions at the assizes would be.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
asked the right hon. Gentleman how he differentiated cattle-driving and made out that one kind was less serious than another.
§ MR. CHERRY
replied that the circumstances of cases differed. It was a serious case when a large crowd assembled, intimidation was indulged in, and persons were injured, but when one or two men did no more than secretly at night open a gate to let the cattle out, it was not so serious.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
asked whether the failure of the police to obtain evidence was not due to the fact that the unfortunate owners of cattle had come to the conclusion that the Government were unwilling any longer to protect them?
§ [No Answer was returned.]