HC Deb 16 January 1913 vol 46 cc2274-5W

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case of a Clare prisoner named Arkins, sentenced at Cork Winter Assizes to seven years' penal servitude for pulling down a small piece of wall; was evidence admitted to show the condition of county Clare, to the prisoner's prejudice; was Arkins arraigned under the Whiteboy Acts, and will he say who decided the question of the mode of arraignment and who drew the indictment, how many Catholic jurors were ordered to stand aside by the Crown, and how many challenges could the prisoner exercise; will he say whether the Crown prosecutor, Mr. George M'Sweeney, K.C., is still a member of the staff of the "Freeman's Journal" and of the executive of the United Irish League; and what personal knowledge had the Clare Crown Solicitor of Cork jurors; who marked the jury panel for him to indicate the Catholics to be challenged; and did the Crown Solicitor visit the judge before the trial of the prisoner?


My attention was called to this case some time ago by the hon. Member for East Clare. Patrick Arkins was indicted at the Winter Assizes in Cork for having with others assembled by night and unlawfully by menaces attempted to compel a tenant named Fitzpatrick to quit her farm, and with having unlawfully and maliciously injured a wall on the farm, and was found guilty. No evidence save that legally admissible was given. The indictment was directed by the Attorney-General, and was under the Statutes popularly called the White boy Acts. It was drawn, as is the practice, in conformity with the Attorney-General's direction by the Junior Crown Prosecutor. No juror was ordered to stand aside by reason of his religion. The Crown Solicitor followed the course laid down by the Circular of 1894. The prisoner had a right to challenge six jurors without cause, and any number for cause. I am informed that Mr. George M'Sweeney is neither? member of the "Freeman's Journal" staff nor a member of the executive of the United Irish League. There is no founda- tion for the suggestion that the Crown Solicitor visited the judge with reference to this case. It is usual in Ireland for the Crown Solicitor to pay a formal visit of courtesy to the judge before the Assizes open.

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