Mr. W. A. REDMOND
asked the Attorney-General for Ireland whether, in view of the fact that the magistrates at Dungannon, after two investigations into a charge of unlawful use of firearms preferred against Hugh Weir, arising out of disturbances alleged to have occurred on the night of the declaration of the poll in East Tyrone, refused information, he will state by whose authority and on what additional information a bill was sent up against Weir at the assizes last week; and whether, in view of the fact that a jury composed of a large majority of Unionists acquitted this man he will advise the proper authorities to compensate him for all the trouble and expense to which he has been put by two magisterial investigations and a trial at assizes on an unfounded charge?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Redmond Barry)
The charge against the man Hugh Weir was that on the 17th December, 1910, he fired a gun from a comparatively short range at a group of men, as the result of which five 2243 persons were shot. The five injured persons examined before the magistrates positively swore that Weir was the man who fired the shot. Nevertheless, upon evidence given for the defence, the magistrates refused to send the case for trial. On considering the depositions it was my opinion that the action of the magistrates was not in accordance with their duty, and I directed that an indictment should be preferred against Weir at the Assizes. It is true the man was acquitted. I have no knowledge of the composition of the jury, but as to compensation there is no fund for it or right to it in such cases.
Mr. W. A. REDMOND
Is the right hon. and learned Member aware that Lord Justice Holmes in charging the jury in this case said he could not understand why Lundy's effigy was burnt or what sort of patriotism it was. Will he now circulate this declaration among the Orange Lodges?