HC Deb 24 October 1916 vol 86 cc966-7W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, if he will make it perfectly clear that local justices are entitled to sit in judgment on cases brought up in Ireland under the Military Service Act; what statute entitles a magistrate before whom informations and not depositions are sworn to deprive other justices from adjudicating in such a case; was it a clearly understood proceeding that only under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act could such a right be maintained; and are cases under the Military Service Act to be treated as under that Act or have instructions been issued to resident magistrates suggesting to them the desirability of excluding from the bench of justice in military service cases all magistrates who are tainted with Nationalist ideas?


No such instructions as those suggested by the latter part of the hon. Member's question have been issued. The question of the competency of a single justice to adjudicate in the cases of alleged absentees under the Military Service Act is at present, as I am informed, pending for decision in the case of an alleged absentee who has been arrested in the County of Limerick, and who is represented by counsel and solicitor. The Attorney-General has given instructions to the Crown solicitor to appear on behalf of the police, who made the arrest, in order that the question of jurisdiction may be fully argued and, if necessary, carried by either party for final decision before the High Court of Justice in Ireland. The Criminal Law and Procedure Act (Ireland) has, I am told, no bearing upon the case.