§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the fact that Mr. Justice Boyd, at the close of the criminal business at the Assizes for county Limerick on Saturday last, stated that he considered it a farce to be trying prisoners before the Limerick county common jurors, that in his opinion the jurors in all cases before him were not willing to discharge their duties, that their verdicts were a disgrace to justice, and that in not a single case had they found a verdict in accordance with the evidence; whether this general disregard of a solemn oath to decide cases according to the evidence calls for some governmental action; and what steps he proposes to take?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have seen a newspaper report of the learned judge's observations. The defendants in the particular case to which he referred have been remanded in custody for trial on another charge arising out of the same facts. Their case is, therefore,sub judice, and I cannot refer to it. As regards the general question, it is the duty of the Attorney-General in directing prosecutions to consider the suitability of the venue, and he informs me that in every case where the circumstances suggest the possibility of prejudice existing, either against the prisoner or the Crown, he instructs Crown Counsel to apply for a postponement with a view to change of the place of trial. He is not prepared to concur in a general condemnation of Limerick county juries.