§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE EARL OF CRAWFORD)
My Lords, in the months of June and July last certain prisoners in Belfast gaol made a series of allegations against the Royal Irish Constabulary and officers of the prison. Affidavits embodying those charges were presented to the 884 Government of Ireland, and after debate in the House of Commons it was decided that a special tribunal should be set up to investigate the charges. This Bill proposes that Mr. Justice Dodd should act as Special Commissioner, and it entitles him to make the inquiry in the fullest possible manner; in fact, as thoroughly as though formal legal proceedings were at issue. The proceedings, no doubt, will be in the nature of a civil trial, and the Judge will issue a report instead of giving a judgment. This Bill empowers that course to be adopted, and I submit it to your Lordships for Second Reading to-day. Such a matter is, I think, one that should be settled at the earliest possible moment, and, if convenient to your Lordships, I shall ask that the Committee stage be put down for Thursday next.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Crawford.)
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.