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The Magistracy (Ireland)—Derry Petty Sessions — Alleged Suppression Of A Charge

Volume 282: debated on Thursday 2 August 1883

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asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he has seen in the "Derry Journal" of Friday, 27th July, a Report of certain proceedings at the Petty Sessions Court on the previous day, in which Dr. R. H. Todd, solicitor, described by the "Derry Journal" as "a gentleman of high professional standing," took upon himself the responsibility of publicly stating that investigation into the outrage of March 1879 in Derry had lately been suppressed; that a magistrate had connived at the suppression; and that he was prepared to prove this charge, and had made the charge publicly with a hope of being allowed an opportunity of proving it; and, whether, in consequence of this public statement, he will now consent to order a further investigation?

desired, before the Chief Secretary answered, to ask him whether it was not the fact that no charge was made against anybody in reference to this outrage, and that, therefore, it was not possible that any investigation could be suppressed by a magistrate or any other person?

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether any inquiry under the Crimes Act has been held into the charge, brought recently by a man named Davis against another named Bailey, of being the author of the explosive machine outrage in Derry on St. Patrick's Day, 1879; whether he has been informed that Dr. Todd, a leading Liberal solicitor of Derry, openly declared in court, on Thursday last,

"The guilt of outrage had been brought home, by a detective member of the police force, to an individual resident in the city, but the charge had been hushed up by the connivance of a magistrate and the police;"
and, what steps he intends to take to procure an impartial and independent investigation of the facts?

I will answer at the same time the Question of the hon. Member for Longford and Dungarvan. I have seen reports of the statements referred to. They are, undoubtedly, too serious to be lightly passed over. Dr. Todd has not made any communication to the Government upon the subject. I will, however, direct that a communication shall be made to him; and if his reply should bring the matter to any definite issue, the Government will certainly consider most carefully whether, in the interest of justice, an inquiry should be held. But, on the other hand, most certainly, unless a very definite case be raised by Dr. Todd, the inquiry will not be granted.