I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether in view of the recent statement of Mr. Justice Ross regarding the ineptitude of the authorities in Dublin Castle in reference to the crime of cattle-driving, boycotting, and other forms of intimidation, it is his intention to proceed further with the Contempt of Courts Bill; and whether he is aware that, if passed, such a measure would seriously interfere with the powers at present possessed by Mr. Justice Ross in dealing with offenders against the law.
§ MR. BIRRELL
As regards the remarks of Mr. Justice Ross, I would refer to the answer which I have now given to the Question of the hon. Member for Mid Armagh. It is intended to proceed with the Contempt of Courts Bill. That measure limits the imprisonment which can be imposed for contempt of Court to a term of three months, and limits the fine to one of £500, and it also gives to the person fined or imprisoned a right of appeal. To this extent the measure interferes with the powers for dealing with contempt of Court at present possessed by Mr. Justice Ross.
§ MR. BIRRELL
No, Sir. Everybody knows that the whole subject of contempt of Court has long been before Parliament.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
Is it not the fact that this Bill is practically identical with that passed by the late Lord Selborne in the House of Lords in 1883?
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
Was not the Bill introduced shortly after the hon. Member for North Westmeath was sent to gaol by Judge Ross?
§ [No Answer was returned.]