HC Deb 14 February 1922 vol 150 cc856-7W
Lieut.-Colonel ARCHER-SHEE

asked the Home Secretary (1) whether his attention has been called to the remarks made by the learned judge at the trial of the men Hogan, Cooley, and Roche, convicted of larceny of machine guns and rifles from barracks at Chelsea and Windsor; whether His Majesty's Government regard the crime as non-political; whether he will say why Roche's second and more complete confession was not included with his original statement in the police court depositions;

(2) whether two men named Fitzgerald were implicated in the confession made by Sergeant Roche in the Windsor arms case, one of whom was believed to be a Sinn Fein leader; whether any steps were taken to secure his arrest; whether one of these men, Francis Fitzgerald, was discharged by the magistrate; if he can state why this man was not re-arrested in view of the fresh charges arising out of the crime and Sergeant Roche's confession; and whether it is possible to frame such charges in view of the fact that he is alleged to be the organiser of the whole proceeding?


Only one Fitzgerald was implicated—Francis Fitzgerald. He was arrested and charged, but the magistrate held that the evidence against him was insufficient and discharged him. There was no fresh evidence to justify his rearrest. I understand that at the trial the judge remarked that he did not understand why Fitzgerald had been discharged at the police court, but a day or two later he re-considered his view and agreed that the proper course had been taken. I am not prepared to say how far the crimes were political and how far influenced by other motives. The first written confession which Roche made was given in evidence against him; the second added nothing as regards himself, and as regards Fitzgerald it was inadmissible as evidence.