§ "3. That a sum, not exceeding,£41,825, he granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges in Ireland."
§ MR. DILLON
called attention to the case of a man named Keating who was charged in the Mayor's Court, Clonmel, with stealing two head of cattle. After the case had been gone into at considerable length the magistrate decided that the charge was so serious that he would not deal with it summarily, but would commit that man for trial. The solicitor applied for bail, but the police opposed the application and the magistrate refused it. The man pleaded guilty at the Assizes, and the Judge said that the Crown had acted with great leniency in not pressing the case. The man was only bound over to come up for judgment, and ordered to restore the cattle and pay damages. Between the hearing by the magistrate and the trial the police had found that the man was an emergency man, and that was why the prosecution was not pressed. It would have been very different if the cattle had been stolen from instead of by an emergency man. This was by no means an isolated case, but illustrated the practice of the Crown prosecutors for a long time past. There was another case. Three poor fishermen went out on the Shannon at night; they were followed by bailiffs who demanded to search the boat, they refused, and one of the bailiffs fired four shots from a revolver, shooting one of the fishermen 1136 in the chest. Cross prosecutions were brought, but the Grand Jury of Ennis, which included six Conservatives and the employer of the bailiff, threw out the Bill against the bailiff and returned a true Bill against the fisherman who was still lying in gaol suffering from his wound. He asked that these cases should be inquired into, and that if the fisherman were still in prison he should be liberated.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
called attention to the case of Michael Hopkins, who was sentenced in 1891 to 24 years' penal servitude in consequence of the death of a man called Fox, of whom he was alleged to have caused the boycotting. A man tried for a similar offence in 1889 received only five years' penal servitude He hoped the Attorney General would look into the inequality of these sentences.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
hoped that the Attorney General for Ireland would consider the facts in each of the cases to which he had drawn attention, and that the right hon. Gentleman would advise the Lord Lieutenant to exercise the prerogative of mercy if the facts were found to be as he had stated.
MR. T. M. HEALY
complained of the high-handed conduct of the so-called conservators of the Shannon, who were unjustifiably using the powers conferred by the Lough Neagh Act on the pretence that that Measure applied to the Shannon. He also complained of the frequent revolver-firing by bailiffs at night on that river. He next drew attention to the attempted proselytising case at Cork. In connection with this case Mr. Justice Holmes, soaring above all party and religious prejudices, had condemned the conduct of the head constable concerned. The learned judge said that the head constable's action was not in conformity with his duty, and that he must have known that the whole proceeding from the first to the last was a sham and a humbug. The mother of the child was induced to pretend that her children were Protestants, in order that the child might be sent to a Protestant Industrial School. The head constable put the woman up to 1137 swearing in open Court that the children were Protestant; in other words, he suborned her to commit perjury. The woman was induced to make mis-statements with regard to the age of the children and their religion, and the head constable was condemned by the learned Judge for aiding and abetting the misrepresentation. Two Canons of the Church of England were also concerned in the matter. If a Catholic official were to kidnap Protestant children in order that they might be sent to a Catholic institution, all England would be up in arms against what it would call papal tyranny. He expected to hear from the Government a scathing condemnation of such practices as those disclosed in this case at Cork. The head constable, he held, ought to have been dismissed at once; and what was to be said about the two distinguished divines, who had induced the mother to swear that her children were not Roman Catholics? These clergymen were supposed to be disciples of our Saviour, who said "Swear not at all."
§ * MR. W. JOHNSTON
I know one of these clergymen, and he is utterly incapable of the conduct imputed to him.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Whether the conduct of the clergymen ought to be reprehended or not, I do not see how it is relevant.
MR. T. M. HEALY
said his point was that the Government ought to arraign these gentlemen, with the head constable, for conspiracy. He wanted to know why they had not been arraigned, and why the head constable was now walking about in his jacket and stripes in the Queen's service instead of being hunted out of it as he would have been if he had been a Catholic?
§ * THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND
said the hon. Member asked why these two clergymen had not been indicted for conspiracy with the head constable? The answer was simply because there was no evidence whatever against them. The head constable was guilty of an error of judgment, and so deserved 1138 the censure of the learned Judge. But there was not a particle of evidence to show that he entered into a conspiracy with the woman. On the contrary, there was not the smallest doubt that he himself was deceived. He was about to be punished, and when the hon. Member saw what his punishment was he would consider it adequate to the offence he really committed which was not that imputed to him. With regard to the case of Michael Hopkins, who was sentenced to 24 years' penal servitude, it did not come within his province to interfere with the remission of punishments. All he could say was that if there were any special circumstances in the case and a memorial was presented it would be carefully considered. As to the fishery case referred to by the hon. Member for East Mayo, if the hon. Gentleman had given him notice of his intention to call attention to it, he would have inquired into the circumstances. His recollection was that when these poachers were called upon to stand they refused, and endeavoured to beat the bailiff with their oars and that the latter fired his revolver in self defence. The Grand Jury threw out the bill against the bailiff, and returned a true bill against the other. If it was the case that the bailiff acted in self defence when attacked by several men, who attempted to beat him, the Grand Jury did not exceed their jurisdiction and authority in throwing out the Bill. But he would inquire into the matter to see if there was any miscarriage of justice such as the hon. Member suggested. In the case of the man who pleaded guilty to stealing two cows, there was not a single fact to establish the charge of corruption on the part of the prosecution and the Judge. The hon. Member said it was in accordance with the usual practice in Ireland with regard to emergency men and planters. He repudiated this. He did not believe any such practice prevailed. He had never known it. He should set his face against it, and he was sure every Judge on the 1139 Bench was incapable of resorting to it. But he would inquire in the matter, and he should be greatly surprised if he found anything to justify the accusation of the hon. Member.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork, Mid)
said, the Government should put Canon Harley on his trial to see if the charge made against him was true. Still, he had known the Canon a good many years, and did not believe him guilty. When the First Lord of the Treasury was Chief Secretary he put Irish Members of Parliament promptly on trial, and let this Protestant clergyman and Canon of the so-called Church of Ireland be put on his trial too.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
said that the Government had no power to put upon his trial a man who had committed no criminal offence.
§ Resolution agreed to.