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!! Irish Catholic Chronicle; Nov 2, 1867 "Fenians" #2

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    ...continued... Irish Catholic Chronicle And People s News of the Week Dublin, Ireland Saturday, 2 November 1867 THE MANCHESTER SPECIAL COMMISSION MONDAY,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 18, 2004

      Irish Catholic Chronicle And People's News of the Week
      Dublin, Ireland
      Saturday, 2 November 1867


      MONDAY, SECOND DAY- The twenty-six prisoners charged with the murder of
      Police-sergeant Brett were brought from the New Bailey Gaol to the Assize
      Courts, at eight o'clock this morning, under a strong escort of the 8th Hussars
      and the 72nd Highlanders, who remained in the building until the close of the
      proceedings. Arrangements for the maintenance of order were very complex. The
      public were admitted to the court with the same facility as at ordinary assizes.
      Precisely at ten o'clock Justice Blackburn and Mellor took their seats and the
      usual formality of swearing in the grand jury was gone through. Mr. Justice
      Blackburn, in charging the jury, said the special commission only differed in
      that it was confined to such crimes as arose out of, or related solely to the
      outrage recently perpetrated in that county. Having described the attack on the
      police van, his lordship said the grand jury would see a variety of crimes had
      been committed beside the assaulting of the police when in the execution of
      their duty. There were shots fired, which, although most of them had not taken
      fatal effect, was in itself a great crime; but the chief crime was the causing
      the death of policeman Brett, and it was this crime which the grand jury would
      have specially to consider. He need hardly say that each of these different
      crimes implicated the whole of the persons charged-that the persons guilty of
      the crime of murder would be guilty of the other crimes; yet each crime would be
      brought forward separately, and ???? must be found in accordance with the
      evidence bearing on each case; but he would repeat the main point was the murder
      of Brett. There was but one shot that was fatal, and but one man could have
      fired that shot, yet every one who aided in the attack was equally guilty of the
      crime of murder with the person who fired the shot. It was not for the grand
      jury to direct their attention to the consideration of which individual prisoner
      was guilty of that act, but whether they were convinced from the evidence that
      the prisoners were aiding in the act which resulted in the murder of Brett,
      although they did not individually fire the fatal shot. He must explain that it
      was not necessary, in order to constitute the crime of murder, that the main
      object should be to kill a particular individual. Murder was killing by malice
      aforethought, as it was called, but it was not essential that there should be
      the intention to kill one particular man. The law had always been so laid down,
      and common sense said that it must be so. When men associated for the
      perpetration of an unlawful act involving violence, which it must be known will
      be dangerous to human life, if death ensued from that violence that was the
      crime of murder, although there might be no wish to kill the particular
      individual man was was slain in the present case. The grand jury could not doubt
      that every man concerned in the act, whether in shielding those who made the
      attack or actually breaking open the van, or in the act of stopping the van, was
      party to the unlawful design of rescuing those prisoners. Then, the fact of the
      death of Brett showed that there was the intention to use violence. It was
      scarcely possible that any man could have joined in that attack in doubt as to
      whether resistance would be made on the part of the police. Further than that,
      when it was found that these parties were armed with firearms, the evidence was
      additionally strong against them. A man did not commonly use a pistol merely to
      ward off a blow from himself; its possession could, therefore have only been
      with the intention of doing injury to others. Again, there was the fact that
      after the discharge of the firearms, the prisoners still continued to attack the
      police. He did not mention this a s a matter of law, but as a matter of
      practical common sense. There were a considerable number of prisoners who were
      not taken on the spot, but at different periods afterwards. In those cases there
      was the possibility, of course, that the witness might be mistaken, as to their
      identity, but the grand jury had only to consider whether the men should be put
      on their trial. If they thought the evidence against any one of the prisoners
      was too slight, or if they were not satisfied that there was no reasonable
      ground for putting him on his trial, then, so far as regarded that individual,
      they would not find a bill. It was of great importance to the prisoners, and it
      was also a point of great importance to the public interest that the evidence
      should be dispassionately considered in each case without either weakness in
      favour of the prisoners or any feeling of passion as against them.
      The grand jury retired for upwards of an hour, and on their return into
      court it appeared that they found a true bill against William O'Meara Allen,
      Michael Larkin, William Gould, Thomas Maguire, and Edward Shore for murder.
      The prisoners were then brought up into the dock, and severally pleaded not
      guilty. They were not handcuffed.
      On the application of Mr. Digby Seymour, Q.C. and Mr. Sarjeant O'Brien, the
      counsel for the defence, the judges consented to the postponement of the case
      until next morning, in order to allow the leading counsel a little more time for
      The grand jury afterwards took into their consideration the cases of the
      other prisoners.

      ...to be continued...
      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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