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Controverted Elections New Windsor—Wakefield—Athlone

Volume 218: debated on Monday 27 April 1874

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MR. SPEAKER informed the House, that he had received from the Judges selected for the Trial of Election Petitions, pursuant to the Parliamentary Elections Act, 1868, Certificates and Reports relating to the Elections for the Borough of New Windsor; for the Borough of Wakefield; and for the Borough of Athlone. And the same were severally read to the effect following:—

New Windsor Election,—Mr. Baron Bramwell reported that in the matter of a Petition against the Return on the last General Election of Robert Richardson-Gardner, esquire, for the Borough of New Windsor, he had, after hearing, determined that he was duly returned and elected, and that the charges of corrupt practices alleged in the Petition were not proved.

Wakefield Election,—Mr. Justice Grove reported that he had tried the Election Petition for the Borough of Wakefield, between William Hartley Lee and Isaac Briggs, Petitioners, and Edward Green, Respondent, and that at the conclusion of the said trial he determined that the said Edward Green, being the Member whose Election and Return were complained of in the said Petition, was not duly elected and returned, and that the said Election was void. And further—(a.) That no corrupt practice was proved to have been committed by or with the knowledge or consent of any Candidate at such Election; (b.) That certain persons (named) have been proved at the trial to have been guilty of the corrupt practice of bribery; (c.) That corrupt practices did not so extensively prevail as to substantially affect the whole constituency, but that a number—not inconsiderable—of the poorest and least educated class of voters were tainted with corrupt practices.

Athlone Election,—Chief Justice Monahan made a special Report, as follows:—

"In the matter of the Petition of Edward Sheil, esquire, Petitioner;

"John James Ennis, esquire, and Major Walter Nugent, esquire, Respondents;

"The Petition in this matter, a copy of which is hereto annexed, was duly presented to this Court, and it appearing to the Court that tile case raised by the said Petitioner could be conveniently stated as a special case, such case was so stated, a copy of which is annexed hereto, and the same was duly heard on this day before the Court, and thereupon the Court determined as follows:—

"We are of opinion that the Sheriff was wrong in rejecting the 13 Ballot Papers in the Petition mentioned as marked on the right-hand side with a cross opposite the Petitioner's name, and that he should have received same and counted these 13 Ballot Papers in favour of the Petitioner, and if he had done so Petitioner would have had 153 votes; and in like manner that he should have received the 8 Ballot Papers marked on the right-hand side with the cross after the Respondent's name, and should have counted these 8 Ballot Papers in favour of the Respondent, and if he bad done so the Respondent would have had 118 votes, which would have left the Petitioner a majority of votes.

"It therefore became unnecessary to adjudicate on the other votes rejected by the Sheriff, as any decision allowing the same, or any of them, would simply have the effect of increasing the Petitioner's majority.

"We therefore have not considered the question whether the Sheriff was light in rejecting all or any of the said last-mentioned Ballot Papers.

"Accordingly the Court doth determine, and hereby certify to the Right Honorable the Speaker of the House of Commons, that the said Edward Sheil ought to have been and he is hereby declared to be the duly elected Member of Parliament for said Borough of Athlone.

"And the Court doth also adjudge that each of the parties, Petitioner and Respondent, do abide their own costs of the arguments of the special case in this matter."

Ordered, That the Clerk of the Crown do attend this House To-morrow, at Four of the clock, with the last Return for the Borough of Athlone, and amend the same by rasing out the name of John James Ennis, esquire.