HC Deb 25 February 1914 vol 58 cc1782-3W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland why in three cases at the last Munster Winter Assizes, two from Kerry and one from West Cork, all being cases of crimes with which there could be no popular sympathy, where the prisoners could challenge only forty-six of the jurors on the panel, the Crown ordered ninety-seven, nearly all Catholics, to stand aside; whether there was any evidence that those ninety-seven jurors, comprising some of the most respected men in the community, either sympathised with the crimes or had been successfully canvassed on behalf of the prisoners; on what ground the system of jury-packing, officially condemned during Lord Morley's Chief Secretaryship, was revived in this instance; and whether he will give the House the details of the sheriff's expenditure on the jurors selected by the Crown to try these cases?


I am informed that in these three cases the jurors were ordered to stand by as there was reason to believe that a searching canvass had been made of the jurors on the panel. In no case were any inquiries made as to the religious or political opinion of those persons. The Crown Solicitor acted on his own responsibility and in the letter and spirit of the rule established in Lord Morley's time. The sheriff's expenditure on the housing and feeding of the jurors is regulated by rule, and in the cases from county Kerry, which took two nights and three days, the expenditure was in one case £27 4s., and in the other £28 14s. In the case from West Cork the expenditure was £1 10s.