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The Case Of Patrick Finnigan

Volume 32: debated on Monday 8 April 1895

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I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) if his attention has been called to the case of Patrick Finnigan, at present undergoing a sentence of penal servitude at Mountjoy Prison on conviction of complicity in murder; (2) is he aware that it was proved at the trial by the Crown the murder in question was instigated by a land agent named Regan, who was proved to be present and assisted at the outrage, and who escaped from justice by a flight to America; that a police constable named Muldowney, who was engaged in protection of the said Regan, was convicted, and sentenced to death for complicity in the murder; and that the Attorney General entered a nolle prosequi in regard to a number of men who were arrested and charged at the same time as Muldowney and Finnigan, and against whom precisely the same evidence was in existence, on the ground that such evidence was not sufficient to justify a conviction; (3) was the sentence of Constable Muldowney commuted from the capital penalty to penal servitude, and has Constable Muldowney been yet released; (4) is he aware that the jury on the first trial refused to convict Patrick Finnigan, and that he has now suffered in all over 12 years' imprisonment; and (5) will he give a favourable consideration to Finnigan's case, with a view to a commutation of his sentence?

My attention has been drawn to the case of this convict, who was convicted of murder in August 1884, and sentenced to death. The sentence, however, was subsequently commuted to penal servitude for life. The facts are substantially as stated in the second and fourth paragraphs, except that, as I am informed, Regan was a land steward (not land agent), and that it is not known upon what grounds the Attorney General of the day entered a nolle prosequi in the other cases referred to. Muldowney's sentence was also commuted to one of penal servitude for life; he has not been released, being at present confined in Mountjoy Prison. Finnigan's case was considered in 1886, 1888, 1891, and again in April of last year. As at present advised, there seems to be no sufficient grounds for ordering his release.