HL Deb 30 March 1865 vol 178 cc484-6

in rising to put a Question to the Government on this subject, said, that he would in a few words explain the object of his inquiry, but it was unnecessary that he should enter at length into the circumstances of the mur- der which was supposed to have been committed by a foreigner named Serafino Pelizzioni on the person of a man named Harrington. After Pelizzioni had been found guilty of that crime and condemned to death, another Italian named Gregorio Mogni confessed that he was the culprit, and mainly through the agency of a benevolent Italian gentleman, Mr. Negretti, the matter was so strongly pressed on the authorities that Gregorio was put upon his trial for the same offence, and was convicted mainly on his own confession that he had used the knife freely, not of murder, but of manslaughter. A respite was, in consequence, granted to Pelizzioni, who was now lying in prison awaiting his second trial, But it had been stated elsewhere that it was the intention of the Government to place Pelizzioni again on his trial on the charge of having stabbed another person in the same fray, he believed, in which Harrington had met his death. That was a point upon which of course their Lordships could pronounce no opinion; but it had been represented to him that there was a strong feeling among the Italians resident in London that Pelizzioni would be placed at a disadvantage by being in custody, because if he had been at liberty he would have been taken before a magistrate, the witnesses would have' been examined afresh, and he would have had an opportunity of cross-examining them. He need not impress upon their Lordships the importance of avoiding in the case of a foreigner any appearance of prejudice or unfairness—more especially after the late very painful correspondence between Mr. Negretti and Sir Richard I Mayne, in which the former philanthropically contended for what he believed to be right, and the latter with equal zeal defended the force which he so ably commanded. He would, in conclusion, ask, Whether, if Serafino Pelizzioni, now lying in prison under respite from Her Majesty, be arraigned for a fresh offence, care will be taken that he should have all the Opportunities and Advantages of Defence that he would have had if he were at liberty?


said, that he did not exactly understand under what disadvantages it was feared that Pelizzioni would labour. No obstacle would be thrown in the way of his defence by the authorities, and every care would be taken that justice should be properly administered.


explained that the fear was that Pelizzioni might suffer from not having the witnesses examined afresh before a magistrate, and thus being able to cross-examine them, and to place himself in a totally unprejudiced position.


said, the noble Lord might rest assured that every fair opportunity of defence would be accorded to the prisoner, and he would not suffer from having been convicted upon another charge.