§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Attorney-General, seeing that the notice on the Order Paper of a Motion for the record and other documents constituting the authority for the detention of the hon. 369W Member for South Longford follows the precedent of the Government in the case of John Mitchel in 1875, that the present case is, like that, one of imprisonment before election, and that there is greater necessity for the record and other documents owing to the trial and conviction having been secret throughout, if he will state the grounds of differentiation so far as regards withholding the documents in the present case?
§ Sir FREDERICK SMITH
The production of the record and other documents constituting the authority for the detention of John Mitchel was a discretionary act on the part of the Government of the day, which was no doubt decided upon after the consideration of the relevant circumstances. No considerations of public interest such as arise to-day entered into the decision which was reached in time of peace. In the present case, as the hon. Member points out, the trial was (on public grounds), conductedin camera, and the publication of the proceedings would, therefore, not be in the public interest. This conclusion obviously makes it impossible for the Government, in a discretionary case, to take the course suggested by the hon. Member.