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!! Ballina Chronicle; Mar 13, 1850 "Sligo Assizes"

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  • Cathy Joynt Labath
    BALLINA CHRONICLE Ballina, Mayo, Ireland Wednesday, March 13, 1850 SLIGO ASSIZES Murder Abraham Lawson, Archibald Lawson, and John Lawson, were indicted that
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005
      Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
      Wednesday, March 13, 1850


      Abraham Lawson, Archibald Lawson, and John Lawson, were indicted that they
      on the 18th of June in the 12th year of reign of her Majesty the Queen, at
      Ballymote, feloniously, willfully and of their malice aforethought, did kill and
      murder one James Callaghan; the said Abraham Lawson having given him upon the
      left side of the breast, a mortal wound, the said Archibald Lawson and John
      Lawson having then and there hiding and assisting against the peace and statute.
      The prisoners who are brothers and occupy a respectable position in life,
      appeared in front of the dock calm and collected. The manner of each was grave,
      cool and thoughtful; there was no bravado or daring got up for the occasion, and
      not a shade of fear could be detected in the countenance or bearing of any of
      them. When called upon by the clerk of the court to plead to the indictment,
      each of them replied in a firm voice, "Not Guilty."
      Mr. French, Q.C., Mr. Close, Q.C., and Mr. Walker, Q.C., appeared for the
      For the prisoners Mr. Keogh and Mr. Blakeney - agent Mr. Pollock.
      Mr. Close wished to have all the witnesses put out of court, with the
      exception of magistrates or professorial men- which was acceded to.
      Michael Shannon swore and examined by Mr. French, Q.C.: - Knew a man named
      James Callaghan; he is dead; saw him last alive at the fair of Ballymote, in
      this county, on the 18th of June last; met him at the fair and went with him
      into Gurneen's public house; deceased went into the yard and witness turned into
      the kitchen to light his pipe; when witness had lighted his pipe he came into
      the hall and heard an argument; Lawson and Morrison had hold of the deceased;
      witness went to separate them and was struck by Lawson; saw Morrison and Lawson
      strike the deceased; Abraham Lawson them came in and struck witness with a whip
      when he was endeavouring to make peace; the third man then came in, Archibald
      Lawson [identifies him] and struck witness and deceased; the Lawsons struck them
      with sticks and stones; the young fellow in particular, struck witness
      repeatedly; Callaghan thought to make out of the yard, when Abraham Lawson
      pulled a knife or a dagger out of his pocket and followed deceased down with it;
      witness was going to the assistance of the deceased when young Lawson knocked
      him down; Callaghan then shouted out that he was stuck and murdered; a man named
      Morrison then called out to the Lawson's come away, that there was one man dead,
      and there was enough done, for the police were coming; witness did not see any
      other persons in the yard during the whole time.
      Cross-examined by Mr. Keogh- Knows where the Lawsons live now; they live
      about five miles from Ballymote; did not know them before the day Callaghan was
      killed, neither did the deceased know them; the house they went into on that day
      was full of people; doesn't know if people go to fairs in this country upon
      unlawful business; never knew the business of Captain of Ribbonmen; never met a
      Ribbonman to know him.
      Mr. Keogh - Now, on your oath, were you ever tried?
      Witness - I tell you I know nothing at all about it.
      Mr. Keogh - Are you one?
      Witness - I don't know.
      Mr. Keogh - You don't know whether you are a Ribbonman or not?
      Witness went up to take a glass of ale, but does not know if he was there
      six or seven minutes or half-an-hour; thinks he was something about
      half-an-hour; when he went out he saw John Lawson and a chap named Morrison
      striking at Callaghan; Morrison had nothing in his hand; neither had witness;
      saw Abraham Lawton pull out a knife or dagger and run after Callaghan and stab
      him with it; never called it by any other name; knows what a poker is, saw a
      poker; on his oath, he never swore it was a poker; sore it was a knife or
      dagger; knew it was because he saw the blade shining in his fist; would swear it
      was a dagger and not a poker; is certain of that (Here Mr. Keogh read witness's
      informations, in which it appeared that he swore distinctly that it was a knife
      or poker, and in which the "shining blade" was not all mentioned.)
      Mr. Keogh - There is nothing in that information about the "shining blade."
      The shining blade was get up for this occasion.
      Witness - There were not many blows struck until Callaghan was struck;
      witness was struck with a tone about a pound weight; went to Ballymote fair to
      sell a pig that day; did sell it to his brother, his brother might explain the
      question of "frying a man."
      Michael Brennan swore and examined by Mr. Walker, Q.C. - Recollects the
      June fair of Ballymote; was in the house of a man named James Curneen on that
      day; on coming out saw a row at the back door; saw Archibald Lawson and the
      deceased fighting; the deceased had a stick with which he struck Lawson, and
      kicked him out into the yard; saw the last witness (Shannon) knocked down by
      John Lawson; Lawson had a knife in his hand, and he gave Callaghan two stabs of
      it in the side; thinks it was in the left side; Callaghan said, "Oh! I'm
      stabbed;" he then walked out into the hall and in passing through it he dropped
      either a stick or a handkerchief; witness could not say which; on Callaghan's
      stooping to lift it the blood gushed out; witness then said to himself "your
      done" and immediately ran for Mr. Tighe to annoint him.
      Cross-examined by Mr. Blackeney - Is a chimney sweep, and used to sweep
      chimneys for the Rev. Mr. Tighe; saw Mr. Tighe in the town of Sligo on last
      Monday; can't say what he was talking about, but is quite certain it was not
      about cleaning the chimneys; is in the habit of going to mass; goes very often,
      but did not hear of any collection being made to pay witnesses to prosecute the
      Lawsons; never heard it from any of the boys; swears he does not know what
      counsel means by the "boys."
      Michael Kelly, Constable, examined by Mr. Close - Was on duty at Ballymote
      on that day; in consequence of a statement made to him by Shannon arrested
      Abraham Lawson; searched him and got a pistol on his person but no knife.
      Cross-examined by Mr. Keogh - Knows the Rev. Mr. O'Connor; is one of his
      John Cummisky examined by Mr. French - Was at the fair that day; did not
      know Callaghan previously; saw him that day; it was about five o'clock in the
      evening; saw Abraham Lawson with Callaghan; to the best of his opinion it was
      with a knife.
      Cross-examined by Mr. Keogh - Was examined on the inquest; saw Lawson
      afterwards in Sligo gaol; was brought by Mr. Kelly, police constable, to
      identify Lawson; had no conversation with Kelly after leaving gaol; but told him
      he knew the man; does not recollect any conversation only he was told that Mr.
      Kelly gave orders unless Lawson wore the same clothes he had on the fair day,
      witness could not identify him; it was after he heard that he identified Lawson.
      Dr. Lougheed was then called and gave testimony as to the nature of the
      wounds inflicted upon them; they were of a nature to cause death.
      Mr. Keogh then rose and addressed the jury at considerable length and with
      great force, after which he examined Bernard Owen Cogan, Esq., High Sheriff,
      Rev. Mr. Guinness, and E.J. Cooper, Esq., Markree Castle, who gave the prisoners
      excellent character.
      The learned Baron charged the jury, and went through the whole evidence,
      which he examined very minutely, pointing out the various discrepancies which
      appeared in it.
      The jury then retired and after a consultation of about two hours returned
      into court with a verdict of Not Guilty.

      Cathy Joynt Labath
      Ireland Old News
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