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Habeas Corpus Suspension (Ireland) Bill

Volume 102: debated on Monday 26 February 1849

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The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE moved the Third Reading of the Habeas Corpus Suspension (Ireland) Bill.

could only repeat his former observations upon the Bill. He believed it to be absolutely necessary for Ireland. In reference to the conduct of one of the jurors on a recent trial in that country, he would take that opportunity of saying that on the other night he had understated his misconduct. This person, not content with showing himself a thorough partisan throughout the trial, had declared, before the jury retired to deliberate, that no consideration on earth should induce him to give a verdict for the Crown—though he had sworn to do justice equally between the Crown and the prisoner. But that was not all. This same juror, after he had left the court-house, upon the discharge of the jury, got into a car and harangued the mob, hurraing along with them; and in this manner marched to his inn, hurraing as if in triumph—he being the only one of the jurors who took the view of the case which caused their discharge, as he had reason to suppose. He would, however, have jurors to know that they were responsible to the law as much as the vilest criminal they tried; and that they were not protected, in their capacity of jurors, against any outrage against the administration of justice. He had also to say that some of the counsel engaged had treated the court worse than ever he had known in his not short experience of practice. Never were Judges worse treated than the reverend Judges on that trial had been by some of those counsel. In so treating the learned and reverend Judges, it seemed quite clear to him that the counsel in question were acting in such a manner as to put a quarrel upon the court, that they might then be able to make an appeal to the multitude out of doors, and say they had got no justice. The conduct of the court, however, was beyond all praise; they had behaved with perfect dignity, tempered with perfect suavity, in respect of all those persons from whom they had received these insults.

agreed with the sentiments of his noble and learned Friend as regarded the conduct of the juror alluded to. But he went further than his noble and learned Friend; for he maintained that a juror was not exempt from punishment for a violation of the law, even while in the jury-box. A juror coming into the box, who had corruptly made up his mind to acquit or convict, and who, in accordance with that determination, cheered and interrupted the court, was, in his opinion, liable in law; and he had no doubt that if his conduct were subjected to the decision of another jury, the verdict would be, that he had not acted conscientiously but corruptly.

went along with his noble Friend. A juror who misconducted himself in the box might be punished. It was only ignorant persons who believed that a juryman Could not be punished for what he did in the jury-box since the repeal of the Attaint Act. The very next clause in Sir R. Peel's Bill provided a punishment for jurors who misconducted themselves.

Bill read 3a and passed.

House adjourned till To-morrow.