HC Deb 12 May 1915 vol 71 cc1652-3

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether the Irish Law Officers now act in accordance with the undertaking given by him on their behalf that jury packing would be discontinued in Ireland; whether the Irish judiciary have been consulted, and have unanimously approved of the new system of trial of political cases in secret Courts, closed against Press and public; whether he will state the statutory authority for each of those two systems; whether he will state the dates of the successive trials of Mr. Bolger, now suffering imprisonment for a political matter, the composition of the Court, whether public or secret, what facilities, if any, were given to the accused for self-defence, and the decision in each instance; and if he will specify the law under which Mr. Bolger is subjected to unlimited imprisonment for an alleged offence which the Crown is unable to prove?


I am unable to trace the undertaking referred to in the first part of the question, but I am satisfied that the Irish Law Officers use, with discretion, their powers of ordering persons to stand aside. With regard to the second part, the power of the Court to make an order for the exclusion of the public from the proceedings at the trial of an offence against any regulations made under the Defence of the Realm Act has not so far been exercised in Ireland. The Irish judiciary has not been consulted with regard to it. The reply to the remainder of the question is that Mr. Bolger, charged with a felony under the Defence of the Realm Act, will be put on trial for the first time at the next sitting of the Criminal Commission for the City of Dublin in June. He remains in custody because the Court to which he applied for bail refused it, and he will, of course, be afforded the usual facilities for being represented by counsel.

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