HC Deb 19 July 1888 vol 328 cc1763-4
MR. W. J. CORBET (Wicklow, E.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he will inquire into the circumstances under which Mr. F. C. Pilkington, Sir H. Cochrane, and Captain Quinn were let off with nominal fines by the Chief Magistrate at Kingstown for offences under the Cattle Diseases Acts; whether he has seen a newspaper report, in which it is stated— It was strongly urged upon the magistrate that such fines were entirely inadequate to the cases; but he was very peremptory, and said that he considered they were not cases that called for exemplary fines; whether he is aware that the solicitors to the Guardians protested against the want of support afforded by the magis- trates to the Guardians in their attempt to stamp out pleuro-pneumonia; whether his attention has been called to a Resolution unanimously agreed to by the Board of Guardians on the 11th instant, endorsing the protest of the solicitors, and drawing the attention of the magistrates to the fact that ignorance can hardly be accepted as an excuse from any person for the violation of the Orders in Council and Regulations of the Local Authority which have been before the public for a very long period; and, whether he will take steps to secure the infliction of more adequate punishments for offences under the Cattle Diseases Acts?


The solicitors to the Guardians appear, when communicating the result of the prosecutions, to have made the observation indicated in the Question, and the Guardians to have passed the Resolution referred to. As regards the concluding portion of the Question, the fixing of the amount of a fine to be inflicted within statutable limits is vested in the judicial discretion of magistrates. The fines which have been so measured from time to time have been attended by salutary results; and the Government see no reason, even if they had the power, to adopt the course suggested.


Will the right hon. Gentleman grant a Return of the names of the persons proceeded against under these Acts during the last 12 months, and the penalties imposeed so that the House may see whether even-handed justice between rich and poor has been meted out?


The hon. Gentleman must give me Notice of that Question.