17. Mr. FRED HALL (Dulwich)
asked the names of the prisoners now on trial in Belfast in connection with rioting, the offences with which they are charged, and the dates when these offences are alleged to have been committed; and whether, in view of the political complexion which has been given to the prosecution by the attempt to secure the hearing of the charges before magistrates likely, owing to their 747 political views, to convict the prisoners, the Government will authorise the release of the accused men, having regard further to the time which has elapsed since the occurrences for which they are charged?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
There are no persons now on trial for riot in Belfast, but preliminary investigations by a Justice of the Peace are proceeding in certain cases with a, view to having the defendants returned for trial by a jury at Assizes. As the offences are indictable the hon. Member is wrong in thinking that the magistrates have any power to convict. There is no intention to abandon the proceedings.