§ 23. Mr. O'SHEE
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that at the Cork Spring Assizes, at the trial of Patrick Power and James Power on the charge of taking forcible possession of the dwelling-house on the farm from which their father had been evicted, the judge stated that if they gave an undertaking not to interfere with the farm again he would release them to come up for judgment when called on, and that if they refused to give such an undertaking he would sentence them to three months' imprisonment; that subsequently, on the prisoners offering a limited undertaking, he sentenced them to eight months' imprisonment, and that after they had been in prison for more than three months a memorial signed by twenty-two magistrates was presented to the Lords Justices, acting in 205 the absence of the Lord Lieutenant, asking for their release, but the Lords Justices declined to grant the same; whether the Lords Justices asked for any explanation from the judge as to why he inflicted a sentence of eight months' imprisonment contrary to his previous statement that he would inflict a sentence of three months; and on what grounds the Lords Justices refused to grant the memorial for their release after three months?
§ Mr. DUKE
I think the hon. Member is misinformed as to the course taken by the learned judge with regard to the duration of the sentence. The sentence has expired and the prisoners have been released. It would be contrary to precedent to state the grounds of decisions given on memorials praying for the exercise of the prerogative of clemency.