!! Ballina Chronicle; March 13, 1850 "Westmeath Assizes"
- BALLINA CHRONICLE
Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
Wednesday, March 13, 1850
Westmeath - March 5
William Vize, Esq., was placed at the bar, charged with having, on the 20th
day of October last, at Dysart, in this county, discharged a gun loaded with two
slugs, at one Thomas Flynn, which slugs entered the left breast of the said
Thomas Flynn, inflicting a wound of which he then and there instantly died.
The traverser pleaded not guilty.
Messrs. Corballis, Q.C., Plunket, Q.C., and Griffith, conducted the
The prisoner was defended by Mr. O'Driscoll.
Mr. Corballis stated the case for the Crown. He said the transaction out of
which the homicide arose was connected with the right to some property possessed
by the late Capt. Ogle, in this county. The traverser was married to the niece
of that gentleman, and went with his wife in November, 1849, to reside with
Captain Ogle, at Dysart, where they remained with him up to his death, which
took place on the 5th of October last. Mr. Vize apprised the Messrs. Ogle (who
were nephews of the deceased) that Captain Ogle had died and told them of the
time and place when the funeral was to take place. Henry and George Ogle, with
other members of the family, attended the funeral. Mr. Vize was asked by them if
there was a will. He answered that there was and that by it he was left every
acre in the world of the testator's property - but he did not produce the will.
Under these circumstances, and Mr. Ogle being the heir at law of the testator,
proceeded from his residence in the adjoining county to Dysart, on the morning
of the 20th of October to take possession of the mansion house and property. He
was accompanied by about ten persons, but was joined by others on the road -
they found the hall-door open and entered the house, when a shot was fired by
Mr. Vize, by which a person named Fox was wounded. Mr. Corballis referred to the
last edition of Roscoe, [ink blot over two words] where trespass committed
without a fe[inkblot over one word] intent, the party is not justified. He also
cited Meade's case in 1st Lewis's Crown case, page [inkblot]
Patrick Fox examined by Mr. Griffith - Remembers going to Dysart on the
morning of the 20th of October. Arrived there about [ink blot] three quarters of
an hour before day. There were some men pushing at the door, and heard a bustle
inside. The first man that went in was Patrick M'Cabe. Saw Potterson, the
steward, and Flynn, the deceased.- He was in before witness, it was dark at the
time. Potterton and witness went up stairs; they put their backs to the wall.
Flynn, who was shot, stood opposite where witness saw the muzzles of two guns
coming out through the door-way. Mr. Vize and Doctor Lewis came from the room;
Mr. Vize presented his gun at witness, who jumped aside; he then presented it at
Flynn, and fired at his breast; Flynn fell dead; the smoke of the powder enabled
witness to retreat back; as he was going down stairs he received a shot in the
left shoulder; two shots more were fired; no person said a word or offered any
violence; they were told not to do so; saw no arms except with Mr. Vize and
Some other witnesses having been examined, the Lord Chief Justice then
proceeded to charge the jury. He said the learned counsel had told them very
properly that it was the bounden duty of the Crown when a homicide was committed
to inquire into the circumstances of the case, and ascertain whether it was a
murder or whether it was based on such facts as to render the act one which
could be justified - that was what the jury had now to try. What were the facts?
A body of thirty men, by what may be called an insurrectionary movement, make a
sudden irruption into this gentleman's house at a period of the morning when
there was scarcely light enough inside to distinguish whether they had arms or
not, and but one minute afterwards the shots were fired. Mr. Vize was up stairs,
without any means of knowing anything of the intention of this party; the first
thing he sees is a body of men rushing tumultuously up stairs. - Gentlemen, said
his lordship, I cannot forbear to say that the proceeding had a character of the
most decided illegality. It matters not whether they had arms or not; what was
wanting in that respect was abundantly made up by their numbers. You have two
questions to decide - the first is, did Mr. Vize actually fire the shot which
caused the death of the deceased; and if you are satisfied of that, it will be
for you next to consider whether the circumstances under which the act was done
amounted to a justification.
The jury, without leaving the box handed down a verdict of acquittal.
Doctor John Alward Lewis was then placed at the bar.
Messrs. Ball and O'Driscoll appeared for the traverser.
Mr. Ball asked the counsel for the Crown if, after the circumstances which
were elicited on the trial of Mr. Vize, they would persist in putting Dr. Lewis
The counsel for the Crown having conferred together, Mr. Corballis stated
that they had no desire to press on the prosecution of Mr. Lewis after
intimation of his lordship's opinion of the subject.
The Lord Chief Justice - I think the transaction was most disgraceful. I
have called it by the proper name- a species of insurrectionary movement.
Mr. O'Driscoll said he was instructed by Mr. Vize to state that, with
reference to the parties now about to be placed on their trial for the riot, he
was not anxious that they should be punished; he believed that they acted under
mistaken views, and that the verdict of the jury having vindicated the part
taken by Mr. Vize, he would be satisfied if it were arranged that the parties
should stand out on their recognizances.
Mr. Vize said he was obliged to have two policemen constantly protecting
The Chief Justice said that being so, the best course was to postpone the
trial of these persons to the next assizes, and to permit them to remain out on
their own recognizances.
The counsel for the Crown having conferred together, assented to that
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News