THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL
Galway, MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 1824
ENNIS ASSIZES - JULY 28
ACQUITTAL OF JOHN HYNES
John Hynes was put to the bar, charged with the murder of John Rafferty, at
Kilfenora, by striking him with a metal weight on the head, and knocking him
down, and when down by inflicting several bruises on his head and body, of which
he languished from the 18th of February until the 14th of March following.
A memorial was handed to the Judge imploring his Lordship to order legal
assistance to the prosecutor, whose poverty precluded him from procuring it
himself. His Lordship gave the conducting of the case to Mr. M. Greene, with
directions to employ Counsel.
Daniel Rafferty, father to the deceased, sworn.
I recollect the night of the 18th of February last; I was that night at the
house of John Hynes, at new Quay; John Rafferty was also in the house; John
Hynes came into the room where we were working and without speaking, he struck
John Rafferty with something that I cannot swear to, which knocked him down; I
am certain John Hynes had something in his hand; I saw my son dragged on the
ground by Hynes after he was down; I was knocked down myself twice by John
Hynes; my son was never well since, and he was never in better health than when
John Hynes struck him; he never could keep his spittle in his mouth since.
Cross-examined by Counsellor O'Loughlin.
I cannot say how long after Christmas this occurred: I am certain, though,
it was a week and three days before Candlemas day; it was on the Friday of the
last Assizes week that my son died; it was at the New-Quay the occurrence took
place, and my son died at Kilfenora, 14 miles distant; he had the ????? of
working at Kilfenora, for three days after he was struck, but he could not work;
my son was not subject to fits; I don't know what paralytic is; John Boland, my
son and I were working as hacklers on the garret at John Hynes house, on the
same morning that my don was beat; Mrs. Hynes came in and said she had not
sufficient produce from the flock we dressed; I said that it was well and proper
dressed, and she thought from what I said that I took her short;- and she was
scolding all the evening ,and seemed to be anxious to pick a quarrel; I never
offered to settle this business with any person; I would not settle it; I cannot
say any thing to Mrs. Haynes's advantage; my son and I slept at a man's named
Salmon on the night we were beat; we did not tell at Salmon's that night that we
were beat, because they were in bed; had no conversation with Salmon that night;
nor did I, or my son, go to Hynes's the next day for our wage; Boland did go,
but we did not, for we durst not; Mr. Brew, the Magistrate, did not offer to
send a Coroner to hold an Inquest, nor did we refuse him; we sent for a Coroner,
and he did not come; my son lay down a few days after, and remained so until he
died, which was in about a month.
By the Court - I don't know with what Hynes struck myself.
John Boland sworn.
Recollects Rafferty being beat by John Hynes, but does not know with what
he struck him; he knocked him down; Rafferty was in good health the day he was
struck by Hynes.
Surgeon Murray was called but did not answer. A considerable delay arose
from his absence, as the prisoner's Counsel said, they depended, in a great
measure, on his evidence, to show, that the deceased did not come by his death
in consequence of a beating or violence of any kind.
Mr. William Cannon sworn,
I was at Mr. John Hynes's house on the night stated in the indictment; I
was sitting with Mr. Hynes in the parlour; we were drinking punch about nine
o'clock, because we dined late, having been at the Bishop's auction; we heard a
great noise up stairs; I desired Mr. Hynes to leave it among the women; Hynes
then remained some time, but the noise continuing, he went up and remained about
a quarter of an hour away; on his return I heard him say, if they were worth his
notice he would kick the rascals (meaning the flax-dressers) out; there was no
person dragged down stairs, or I would have heard it; the flax-dressers demanded
their wages when they were outside the door, and Mr. Hynes said he would not
give it to them till next morning; I saw Boland the next morning come for his
wages; Mr. Hynes, on my remark, staid below, but on the continuance of the
noise, he went up, and turned the flax-dressers outside the door; Mr. Hynes was
not in a great passion when he returned; he took no weapon with him; there were
no scales or weights in the way.
Thady Salmon proved that Rafferty and his son came to his house about
eleven o'clock at night and asked for lodgings; his wife let them in, and they
were talking with witness for some time that night; they told him that they had
some little difference with Mrs. Hynes about flax; that Mr. Hynes warned them to
go out, and that the old Rafferty fell as he was coming out of the house; they
eat potatoes and herrings at his place the next morning; and two of them went to
Mr. Hynes's for their wages; John Rafferty eat his breakfast, and carried his
hackles on his back; he did not complain at being being beat by Hynes.
Patrick Minogue sworn.
John Rafferty and the other two slept at his house the night after they
slept at Salmon's; they dressed a quantity of flax for the witness; saw John
Rafferty at work; witness's wife asked John Rafferty why he did not come the
year before, as she had been waiting for him; the answer he made was that half
of him was dead from a paralytic affection; he saw the deceased working at his
house, the day after the Bishop's goods were selling off by auction; did not
hear them complain of being beat by Mr. Hynes.
James Picford examined.
Recollectors when Rafferty was sick at Kilfenora his father said, in
witness's defence, that his son was very ill, and that he had a bad chance, as
it was the fifth or sixth time he was ill of the falling sickness; never heard
Rafferty say that Mr. Hynes beat him, but that Mr. Hynes and he disagreed, and
that he was very sorry to lose her custom.
His Lordship summed up the evidence, and gave it as his opinion that there
was not sufficient to substantiate even the charge of Manslaughter, and the
issue having been handed to the Jury, they instantly ACQUITED the prisoner,
which occasioned general satisfaction.
[The prosecutor, Daniel Rafferty, (who was an old man, with a northern
accent,) whilst under examination by the Grand Jury, was seized with epilepsy,
which excited very general commiseration.]
When the verdict was given in, his Lordship took occasion to remark, with a
degree of warmth, on the conduct of the Coroners and Magistrates of the County,
who, he conceived, were guilty of a highly culpable dereliction of duty in the
present case; the former for not having instituted an inquiry into the
circumstances of the deceased's death - and the latter for not having taken
greater pains to furnish every assistance to the prosecutor towards the case
more fully investigated than it now was.
Counsellor O'Loghlin said, that he had been prepared to prove, by the most
respectable evidence, that the want of an Inquest was in consequence of the
declaration of deceased's family, in three days after his death, to a
Magistrate, that it was caused by natural circumstances. Mr. O'L. further
stated, that he held in his hand documents to shew that the Memorials, from
which his Lordship deduced his opinion on those points, and which were false,
unfounded and malicious, proceeded from an infamous and malignant source and
were made with the view of extracting a trifling sum of money from the accused
Gentleman and his friends.
Tomkins Brew, Esq stated that he was ready to prove his having offered to
cause a Coroner's Inquest to be held on the body of the deceased, but it was
peremptorily refused by the father and family.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News