HL Deb 03 April 1865 vol 178 cc629-30

in presenting a Bill to amend the law relating to Juries in Criminal Cases in Ireland, said, the matter was one which ought to be taken up by the Law Officers of the Crown, and not left in the hands of a private Member of their Lordships' House; but there had been lately some glaring instances of failure of justice in Ireland which were quite sufficient to justify him in laying the present Bill upon the table. In Donegal an accused person had been three times put upon his trial for the murder of a steward, named Grierson; the jury could not agree, and after the third trial the prisoner was discharged. A merrymaking was the consequence, at which the Roman Catholic clergyman appeared, tar barrels were burnt, and great mobs assembled to rejoice at the escape of the accused. In Monaghan a man was tried for the second time for the murder of his wife, and there again a most lamentable failure of justice took place. A man was tried in Mullingar for having attempted to seduce a soldier from his allegiance to Her Majesty, and to induce him to enlist in the American army. In that case one of the jurymen said he considered it no crime at all, and he would never consent to a verdict which would tend to the support of British laws. Unfortunately, in Ireland, the Crown had abandoned the right of challenging the jury, and the consequences were such as he had mentioned in the north-east and west of Ireland. Now what he proposed to do was to enable juries to return a verdict where three fourths were agreed, and also to enable the Law Officers of the Crown to change the venue where such a course might appear to be required.

Bill to amend the Law relating to Juries in Criminal Cases in Ireland, and for other purposes—presented, and read la; and to be printed. (No. 55.)