102. Mr. F. HALL (Dulwich)
asked the Chief Secretary if it has been recently decided at the Belfast Assizes that the action of the Customs authorities in seizing arms and ammunition imported into Ireland was illegal; by whose instructions these seizures were made, and if the instructions have now been cancelled; and if it was by the direction of the Government that the Irish Attorney-General protested against the bringing of the action before a Belfast jury rather than in Dublin, where the Government assured of a verdict in its favour?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
As regards the first paragraph of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the question of the hon. Member for the Enfield Division on this subject on the 30th March. The seizure was made by the Customs officers under the proclamation of the 4th December last, which has not been cancelled. The Attorney-General did not protest against the action being brought before a Belfast jury, and I must repudiate the imputation on Dublin juries contained in this question. The Attorney-General suggested that if it was desired to obtain a speedy determination of the question of law involved, this could be better achieved by bringing it to a hearing before the Court at Dublin than by having a trial of issues of fact, which were not in controversy, raised before a jury in Belfast.