§ MR. CAREW
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the conviction of Mr. Henry O'Connor, sub-editor of the Leinster Leader, for publishing reports of League branches, was yesterday quashed in the Court of Queen's Bench, Dublin, with costs against the magistrates who tried him; whether, after sentencing Mr. O'Connor to two months' imprisonment with hard labour, the magistrates were asked and refused to state a case, on the ground that the point raised was frivolous; whether Mr. O'Connor was kept in prison until a mandamus to compel the magistrates to state a case was obtained from the Court of Queen's Bench; whether one of those magistrates was Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, who, on Friday last, sentenced Father Kinsella and the other Clongorey prisoners to two months' imprisonment, and refused, when asked, to state a case on their behalf; and, whether the Government will take any steps to compensate Mr. O'Connor for his illegal detention in gaol?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I understand the facts are as stated in the first three paragraphs of the question, except that the Division of the High Court in which the case was heard is not correctly stated. It is not the fact that one of the magistrates was Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald. With regard to the last paragraph, I must wait for 'further information, the only facts within my cognisance in addition to those stated in the question being that the judgment of the Exchequer Division was on a purely technical point—one of the Judges stating at the time that there could be no moral doubt as to the substantial truth of the allegation, of which, in the opinion of the Court, strict legal proof had not been given.