Skip to main content

Leslie V Justices Ok Monaghan

Volume 91: debated on Friday 15 March 1901

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that, at the October Sessions of last year, at Monaghan. Henry K. Leslie, agent for the Earl of Dartrey, applied for a transfer of a licence to sell spirituous liquors by retail, which was opposed by a parishioner and refused on the grounds of unfitness and inconvenience of the premises, unfitness of the applicant, and of his not being in bona fide occupation of the premises, and that the Queen's Bench Division upheld this decision; can he explain why the police did not officially object to the application, as the sergeant of the district, when called by the objector, swore that the premises were incapable of proper police supervision, and deposed to the unfitness and inconvenience of the premises; and in view of the fact that Mr. Leslie is again applying for a licence on 26th March, will instructions be given to the police to officially oppose the granting of the licence.

Before my right hon. friend answers the question will he let me ask if this Mr. Leslie is carrying on business as a publican although he was refused a licence by the licensing authorities? If so, will he tell the House under what authority he is doing so.

At the request of my right hon. friend I will reply to this question. The facts stated in the first paragraph are substantially correct. The house referred to has been licensed and managed for many years by a tenant of Lord Dartrey. On the death of this tenant Mr. Leslie, on behalf of his principal, paid the executors of the deceased tenant a sum of £400 for their interest in the premises and applied for a transfer of the licence to himself until he could procure another tenant. The alleged unfitness in the premises consisted in its distance from the police barrack, though that was the same as it had been for many years during the lifetime of the deceased publican. And the alleged unfitness of the applicant, who was a most respectable gentleman, consisted in the fact that he would not reside on the premises and could not personally superintend the business. These were technical legal questions not justifying police intervention. The reply to the last paragraph is in the negative. With regard to the supplementary question, Mr. Leslie would have been required to serve notice of twenty-one days before 12th January, and as the decision of the Court of the Queen's Bench was not given until the 21st December, time did not permit of the notice being given for hearing in January. Application for the new licence will be made on 26th March, and pending that the Excise authorities have granted a permit to Mr. Leslie to carry on the business.

I have in my hand a letter from the Excise authorities, in which they say they are acting on the recommendation of the Irish Government. Am I to understand that the Irish Government claim a right in licensing matters to override the decisions of the licensing authority confirmed by the Court of the Queen's Bench in cases in which the applicant is the agent of the Irish landlord?

No, Sir. The Irish Government claim no such authority, and it was hardly necessary for the hon. Gentleman to ask the question or for me answer it. The hon. Member is entirely in error in supposing that the Irish Executive have given any directions in the matter.

I have the authority of the Excise people for saying that they have.

Is there any statute enabling the Excise authorities to grant licences which have been refused both by the local Bench and the Court of Appeal?

For the information of the Chancellor of the Exchequer I give notice that on the Inland Revenue Vote I shall call attention to this illegal action of the Excise authorities.

IS it not the duty of the Attorney General to prosecute in these cases of illegality?