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quarrelling, I knocked the steward down, and he knocked me
Verdict, Not guilty.
COURT OF QUEEN'S BENCH.
(Before the Full Court.)
November 8, 9, 10, 1852.
IN THE MATTER OF THE SIX-MILE-BRIDGE INQUISITION.(a)
certain persons therein named guilty of wilful murder, the court has,
found against a person confessedly innocent, yet it will not interfere when there has been any evidence, even though it may be insufficient to warrant the finding of the jury. THE proceeding and depositions taken before the coroner in this
1 case having been removed into this court by certiorari at the instance of the Crown, and the Solicitor General having obtained a conditional order to quash the inquisition, on the ground of being against law and evidence, and not sustained by the evidence recorded on the depositions.
J. D. Fitzgerald, Q. C. (with whom James Cuffey,) was proceeding to show cause, when
The Solicitor-General (with whom Martley, Q. C., and Hayes, Q.C.) interposed, and submitted that he, on the part of the Crown, was entitled to begin. According to the authority of Cully's Case (5 Bar. & Ad. 230,) the court might have made the order ex parte. It was in obedience to the expressed opinion and wish of the court, that a conditional order was taken out in the first instance and for the purpose of hearing counsel on behalf of the next-of-kin,
(a) Reported by P. J. M‘KENNA, Esq., Barrister-at-Law.
in support of the finding. We are, therefore, in the same position Inthe MATTER as if we had served a notice of motion to quash the inquisition, OF THE SIX
“ MILE-BRIDGE and that motion now came on to be heard. We served a regular Inouis notice that we would move to make absolute the conditional order. Fitzgerald, Q. C.-There was no necessity to serve a notice to
Prac make absolute this conditional order, as we filed no affidavit, and Coroner's there would be therefore no cause if we did not appear here against inquisition. the order. It is a well-settled rule that the party showing cause has a right to commence. We served notice on the Crown that we would show cause.
LEFROY, C.J.-When Mr. Attorney-General applied to the court in this case, we merely considered whether or not we should hear the motion ex parte. We stopped the Attorney-General when he was about going into the facts of the case, and we confined him specially to the question, as to whether there should be notice given of the application, and if so, to whom. It was considered desirable to have the persons interested before the court, we therefore decided that the motion should stand over for that purpose. If the Attorney-General had given notice of his motion, there could be no doubt about his being entitled to move this and begin. Can it be said, then, because the order is taken out and notice given in this form, that the Crown is to be deprived of its right?
Fitzgerald—It is a well-settled point of practice, that the party showing canse is entitled to begin, we therefore respectfully insist on our right?
LEFROY, C. J.-Do you contend that if the Attorney-General had served notice of this motion you would be entitled to begin ?
Fitzgerald.—No; but as the Crown has chosen to take a conditional order it must abide the consequences.
LEFROY, C. J.-It is merely ex gratiâ that the next-of-kin are represented here, and they have no right to insist on anything of this kind.
PERRIN, J.—This now comes on as if it were to be argued on books. If the usual course of proceeding on this writ of certiorari was followed, the Crown would have a right to begin.
MOORE, J.-Besides, it would be very inconvenient to hear counsel against the conditional order, without knowing the grounds on which it is sought to quash the inquisition.
The Solicitor-General. --Those depositions, taken before the coroner, may be removed into this court along with the inquisition, and will be looked into by the court: (Roll. Abr. tit. “ Coroner," 2 Haw. Pl. Cr. c. 9, s. 21; 2 Hale P. C. 65; Fitzherbert's Nat. Brev. 554.)
According to the depositions, it appeared that there was a general election for the county of Clare, on the 22nd of July last, and that a number of voters of one of the candidates were kept locked up in a house, against their wish, to prevent them from voting. "In consequence of this, a requisition, signed by four
In the Marter magistrates, was addressed to the commanding officer of the district,
of THE SixMILE-BRIDGE INQUIsITION.
Practice— Coroner's inquisition.
asking for an escort to get these voters and conduct them safely to the voting place. Accordingly, an escort was granted, who went to the #. at Thomond Bridge in Limerick, where the voters were. After some delay, and threatening to break in the door, the key was got and the men liberated. The party of voters, accompanied by the military, then placed themselves on long cars for the purpose of being conducted to Six-Mile-Bridge, the polling place for these voters. On approaching the village of §. Captain Eagar, who commanded the escort (41 men), observing the whole street which led to the court-house blocked up with people, and being informed that he might reach the court-house where the votes were taken, by a by-way, and a lane which came into the village along oneside of the courthouse, turned into this narrow way, when the attack was made on the troops. These facts show that the soldiers were acting for a lawful purpose and under lawful authority, and that they did everything in their power to avoid a collision. After passing into the lane, it appeared from the evidence of constable Boyce, that the crowd followed the troops and voters, shouting and hooting, and throwing stones, and that a man in the crowd cried out, “Come, boys, here are the voters, don't let them pass.” Another constable stated the Rev. Mr. Clune, a Roman Catholic clergyman, called out to the excited mob, “They are bringing voters here on cars, and you are standing by idle;” and was urging them to stop the voters. A magistrate, named Studdart, deposed that the same reverend gentleman cried out, “Shame, boys, shame; is there a man amongst you? here are the voters coming.” Another magistrate, Mr. Gabbett, having heard the firing, went out and found a soldier lying on the ground, and people pelting him with stones. This j that there was a plot to take the voters by force from the military. A voter named Mulqueen, who was on one of the vans, swore that he heard one of the mob crying out, “There are Keane's voters, let us take them away;” and that immediately after this the mob rushed on the escort. That he saw a soldier struck in the face by a stone, and covered with blood. The driver of one of the vans (Corrigan) deposed that a man came up and cut his reins, and was about cutting the traces, until he was driven away by one of the soldiers. At this time, and before a single shot had been fired, there was a great deal of stone throwing, and several soldiers had been .. down. Another witness, one of the drivers, named Neville, had his car broken, and he stated that he saw a soldier knocked down, and struck with a brick while down, before the firing commenced, and that the first soldier fired in the air. From the evidence of Captain Eagar and Lieutenant Hutton, the officers commanding the escort, it appeared that, when they turned into the lane, the soldiers were ordered to alight, and were formed in divisions, proceeding behind and along the sides of the vehicles containing the voters. Captain Eagar said that he considered that soldiers were justified in firing in self-defence without
waiting for commands; that they should try the bayonet first, InTHE MATTER however. A gentleman of the name of Waller, a magistrate, OF THE SIXstated that a Roman Catholic clergyman, Mr. Burke, had said that Ivou the voters were guarded like convicts; that he (Waller) had been knocked down by a stone, and when he got up, that he found the mob and military engaged in a hand-to-hand mêlée, and that in his
Practice opinion, before the firing began, life was in danger. As regarded Coroner's Mr. Delmege, who was accused of firing a pistol on the people, inquisition. and ordering the soldiers to fire; he stated that he saw no pistols with him until evening, and that he saw him then drawing the charge from them, and that they were perfectly clean. There were six persons deceased. The evidence of identity has not been such as would warrant & jury in convicting persons accused of petty larceny. The only evidence is that of Mr. Cronin, resident magistrate. He states merely that the men having been mustered after the affair was over, he was accompanied by Captain Eagar and Mr. Delmege, to ascertain who had fired. That he had placed his finger in the barrel of each gun, and when he found it soiled, without cautioning the men, he had asked them if they had fired; that they had admitted doing so, and admitted their names, which he took down at the time. This finding is absurd, for all of the traversers are found guilty of the murder of each one of the deceased persons, and there is not the least evidence that any one man fired a shot that took effect. Mr. Cronin was not able to identify any one of the soldiers, and he changed two names at the suggestion of Captain Eagar, in this way : Captain Eagar said there was no such name as West in the company; that there was a man named Weston, and accordingly that name was substituted for the first. He then said there was no such man as Williams whatever, and this name was changed to Whitbread. There is an order on the rolls of this court, in which the court struck out part of the finding of a coroner's jury, in the case of Dr. Harty; the case is not reported. The following is, however, the entry in the Crown book :
“In the matter of an inquest on the body of William Osprey, 23rd November, 1844,
“This case called on, when Mr. Close, on the part of William Harty, Esq., M.D., physician to said Marshalsea, submits that the finding of the coroner and jury in this matter be quashed, in so far as relates to the introduction of irrelevant matter, reflecting on the said Doctor Harty; whereupon, and on inspection of said inquiries and depositions thereat, it is considered and adjudged that in 80 far same be quashed as desired.”
A good finding on the fact of it was quashed in R. v. Bonny, Carthrew, 72. There must be premises for the jury to find on, and if not, the court ought to quash the inquisition: (1 Bac. Abr. tit. "Coroner;" Ventris, 352; Barclay's Case, Siderfin's Rep. ; R. v. Stukely, 12 Mod.; R. v. Parker, 2 Levinz ; R. v. — ,3 Mod. 81; 5 Com. Dig. G. 12, tit. « Officer;" Ré Cully, 5 B. & Ad. 230.) The court will interfere if the coroner practice. If the facts
weightiest have and tobtained on
hil nage, a gen the people temping comme
In the MATTER stated in the depositions were on the face of the inquisition, there
SIX could be no doubt about the power of the court : (Re John L. INQUISITION. Daws, 8 Ad. & El. 936; R. v. Mills, 4 Nev. & Man.) In Dr.
Harty's Case, the court looked into the depositions. During the 1852.
year of the famine here, a jury sitting on a person who had died Practice of hunger, found a verdict of murder against Lord John Russell. Coroner's Can it be said these absurd findings are to stand? inquisition.
J. D. Fitzgerald, Q.C.—This order has been obtained on the grounds of the verdict being against law and the weight of evidence. The court is not to weigh the evidence, but to see whether or not there has been any evidence to warrant the finding. The facts gone into by the Solicitor-General had been the case for the defence of the prisoners on the inquest. As to the facts of the case, there was first a controversy as to whether or not the voters were going of their own free will to the polling place. All agreed that there had been no disturbance of any kind until the procession of voters, with the escort, reached Six-Mile Bridge; and at one time, when there appeared a tendency to excitement in that village, a gentleman whose evidence was unimpeachable, Mr. Wilson, induced the people to give up their sticks to the police ; there was, moreover, when the firing commenced, a company of the 14th regiment at the court-house, for the purpose of preserving order. A inan named Canny deposed that he saw the soldiers load at Thomond Gate, by order of Mr. Delmege, with whom he saw a pistol; that he heard Mr. Delmege say to a man in the crowd, who was muttering something, “You had better be quiet, my lad, or if you don't, I shall give you the contents of this. You have had your election ways; it is time that we should have ours, or we shall have blood for it.” This was contradicted, it is true, but it is to be assumed that the jury believed this man. A man named Tierney, who was driving one of the long cars on which the military were, heard one of the soldiers saying that he wished they would get some provocation to discharge their pieces, before they would have to draw them; or words to that effect. Another respectable witness swore that he was sitting on one of the side walls of the lane when the shots were fired; that he saw from twenty to five-and-twenty people in the lane; that there was no appearance of tumult, nor any attempt made to attack the military. Everybody was running to see them; that he heard no angry word spoken, and saw neither sticks nor stones, but did not see the rear of the procession. That a man name Casey was standing on the ground between witness's feet, and was shot dead without ever having stirred. That after the first shots he bad heard a man cry out, “ continue the firing-fire front and rere.” Another witness stated that he saw Mr. Delmege fire his pistol and give the word to fire. Mr. Wilson, a magistrate and a gentleman who had been in the army, deposed that he saw one soldier come out of the lane and fire in the direction of a house on the opposite side; and a young man run round the corner of the lane pursued by three soldiers stabbing at him; and that, in his opinion, the conduct of the mili