§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General for Ireland if he is aware that at Ballymacarbery, county Waterford, petty sessions, on the 13th of January last, James Graham (Lord Ash-town's gamekeeper) prosecuted a man named Ryan for illegally having in his possession a strokehaul on the banks of the River Nire for the purpose of taking fish, and that Graham proved that he took the strokehaul from Ryan, and produced it in Court; that in direct opposition to the evidence the majority of magistrates dismissed the case; that the two resident magistrates present, Messrs. Orr and Dixon, were in favour of a conviction; that Graham and his assistant, Butler, were convicted of an assault on Ryan on the same occasion and sent to gaol for fourteen days, the majority of the magistrates refusing to increase the sentence to thirty-two days to enable them to appeal, and that next day they were discharged by order of the Lord Justices; that Graham appealed against the dismissal in the fishery case, and the 258 appeal was heard on Saturday the 4th April at Durgarvan quarter sessions, when the Bench was filled with magistrates from all parts of the county, when the appeal was dismissed by seven to five; and that the County Court Judge stated from the Bench that it was a scandalous miscarriage of justice; how many of the magistrates present were magistrates only by virtue of their position as chairmen of urban or rural district councils; and will he bring this matter before the Lord Chancellor with a view to putting a stop to miscarriages of justice of this kind.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. CHERRY, Liverpool, Exchange)
As regards the two cases before the magistrates at petty sessions referred to in the first part of the Question, I beg to refer to the Answers to Questions on the 5th, 12th, and 20th February last. In reference to the appeal of Graham to quarter sessions from the decision of the magistrates, I am informed that the Bench at quarter sessions by a majority dismissed the appeal. The County Court Judge dissented, and is reported in the newspapers as having said that the decision of the Bench was a gross miscarriage of justice. Only one of the magistrates sat by virtue of his position as chairman of a district council. The Lord Chancellor informs me that there was no illegality in the constitution of the Bench, and no irregularity in the proceedings, and I am not prepared to say that in my opinion there was any miscarriage of justice. In these circumstances I do not, propose to take any action in the matter.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
Was there not a miscarriage of justice in the case when Graham was sent to prison?
§ MR. MOONEY (Newry)
Is it in accordance with the rules of the House to allow to be inserted in a Question a statement to the effect that the magistrates dismissed the case in direct opposition to the evidence?
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG
Has the attention of the Lord Chancellor been drawn to the second part of the Question, seeing that the right hon. Gentleman himself had to admit that the magistrates were wrong and to reverse their decision?