§ 19. Mr. LYNCH
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that in certain cases referring to the Military Service Act police magistrates in Ireland exclude the local justices of the peace from the hearing; whether there is authority vested in the magistrate for so acting; and, if not, whether cases in which justices of the peace, though present on the bench, were not allowed to intervene will be retried?
§ Mr. DUKE
The cases to which I assume reference is made in the hon. Member's question arose under the provisions of Section 154 of the Army Act, 1881. It has recently been decided in this country that the jurisdiction conferred under this Section can be exercised by a single justice sitting alone. I am informed that in this matter the law and practice in Ireland are the same as in England. In certain cases in Ireland where the complaint under the Section was made in the first instance to a resident magistrate sitting alone he has claimed and exercised the right to adjudicate alone. If need be the matter can be decided by appeal to the High Court in Ireland, but I think it is not one in which the Executive Government should interfere administratively.
§ Mr. DUKE
I am not concerned with the law now, but I have been told that in peace time if one Court of Summary Jurisdiction was seised of a case, new members, who were eligible to sit in the first instance in that Court, could not come in and upset the jurisdiction of the Court which is already seised of the particulars of the case.
§ Mr. DUKE
As this subject has caused a great deal of uneasiness in Ireland, I should be very loth, indeed, as long as I am responsible, that there should be any Executive interference with the adminis- 1797 tration of justice in the Courts of Summary Jurisdiction, and if it is possible to avoid that course it will be avoided. The more convenient course would be to bring an appeal to the High Court of Justice to decide this matter definitely one way or the other for the whole of Ireland.
Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House of his own knowledge that there has been no Executive interference in a recent case in the -county of Limerick on the part of the Attorney-General for Ireland?