THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL
Galway, September 6, 1824
TRIAL OF JAMES HELY AND JAMES MULHALL
For Assaulting THOMAS NOWLAN, &c., &c.
The case having been called on and the Jury sworn -
Thomas Nowlan examined by Mr. Fox.
Witness lives in Johnstown; is Sub-Constable in the Police; recollects
having been in Kilkenny about the 4th or 5th of May last; was in Edward Flood's
house, Back-lane; went to lodge there; knows James Hely and James Mulhall; saw
them both at Flood's on the night of the day aforesaid; when preparing to go to
bed, he was knocked down by Hely; the latter asked witness was it the toast he
gave at the public-house that made him quit it. - [The Judge asked witness had
he been at a public-house previously?]- he said he had; believes it was Clear's
house; he can swear what the toast was; the toast which Hely gave was ," God
blast all the Protestants, Orangemen, and Policemen in the Country out of it."
Witness was not in his uniform that night; Hely asked him was it that toast made
him leave the public-house; and he struck witness with some weapon, a gongs or
poker; witness put his hand in his pocket and pulled out his pistol; before
using it he was knocked down, and remained some time weak on the floor; upon
rising Hely snapped the pistol at him; Edward Flood said, the villain (meaning
witness) is dead, and leaped on him; they said they would bury witness in a
cabbage garden; they went out of the kitchen up stairs; witness thought to get
away but the door being fastened by a check-chain he could not get off; Flood
came down stairs soon after, and witness asked him why he should have been so
treated; Flood went with witness to the gaol, and called out the guard and got
assistance to take the prisoners; he lodged examination against the parties
before Major Kingsmill.
Cross-examined by Mr. Costello, as anicus curiae.
The attack on him occurred at Mr. Flood's, Back-lane; cannot say if Flood's
be in the middle of Kilkenny; he swore against Flood between 11 and 12 o'clock
next day; Flood keeps a lodging house; witness was sitting in Flood's with Hely
and Mulhall; don't recollect to have heard the prisoner's talking at Flood's of
any particular thing; did not hear them speaking of Lord Byron or Mr. Moore the
poet, &c.; did not contradict them with respect to any of these names; his
pistol fell out of his hand when he was knocked down; it was positively after
receiving the first blow he drew the pistol out of his pocket; he did not see
Mulhall blowing the powder out of the pan; he saw Mulhall put back the pan; Hely
snapped the pistol at him first; can't tell if it was with the tongs or poker he
was struck; he had not his uniform on that night, or for 12 months before it; he
swore also against Mr. Flood *; he swears positively that Flood leaped on him;
he knows it was either Hely or Mulhall proposed burying him; he don't know
which; he supposes Mr. Flood heard them; examinations were sworn by him about
twelve or one o'clock next day; he had to wait until the Mayor returned to his
office; he did not say he would have shot some of them only he was knocked down;
he swore against prisoners and Mr. Flood next day; he was senseless for some
time after having been knocked down; it was when down that he was fired at; was
senseless for about two minutes; when he recovered he saw them snap the pistol
at him; as near as he could judge he was about two minutes senseless; there were
only the three and himself in the house, except Flood's wife and niece, who
were, he believes, in bed; he was bleeding; Mr. Reade and Mr. Williams knew he
was all bloody; he can't say if any others of the Police go in coloured clothes;
he never did any of the public duties which other Policemen do. Being asked for
what duties then does he receive pay? witness said he was obliged to go
according to the orders of his superior officers, Serjeant-Major _____ and
Captain K_____; they ordered him not to wear uniform. He was in Kilkenny at the
Sessions and Assizes before the time he was attacked.
In answer to a question by the JUDGE. - It is a matter of police regulation
to him not to wear uniform.
It was at Flood's that he first saw Hely; he did see him at Flood's the
Assizes before the last.
Mr. Costelloe asked his Lordship, might he ask witness if he earned his
bread as a common spy? His Lordship dissented. After he quieted the guard that
night, he went to Reade.
By the JUDGE - Mulhall took away the witness's pistol that night; he did
not see it again; he charged the pistol the evening of the day on which he was
attacked; it was a square-barrelled piece, and took a carbine ball.
In answer to a question from a Juror - Witness answered, he had not
particular motive for having been armed that night; he always carried a pistol.
Examined by the Prisoner, Mely.
Had no conversation of a particular nature with Hely at the house of Mr.
Flood, but what he stated; it was Hely asked witness to go out with him to
drink; witness heard him at a public house speak of a General M'Carthy; he did
not say that his wife inquired for prisoner at Johnstown; he swears it was
prisoner pressed him to go drink and not be them; his feelings were not
irritated when querist asked him to pay his part of the reckoning; he drank no
liquor at the public-house but beer.
The witness being about to withdraw, he was called back and further
interrogated by the Judge - He attended here during the Assizes; he was in the
other Court on Saturday +; Mr. Williams did tell him he was called. And why,
said his Lordship, did you not come forward, the Grand Jury wanting you? He said
he waited for his superior officer's orders.
Mr. Costelloe asked him, did Mr. Williams desire him to attend? He said, he
The JUDGE said, it was the prisoner's (Hely) desire to go to trial made him
anxious to have witness appear.
James Reade, who remained on the table for some time, was next examined by Mr.
Nowlan called on him about thre or four o'clock on the morning of the
alleged attack, and complained of some men who cut him. Witness told him he
could lodge examinations at eleven or twelve o'clock the next day. Witness went
with him to Flood's at whose door, which was locked, he remained for a short
time; he brought soldiers with him. Flood, Reade, and the soldiers went up
stairs; the former opened the door of the room in which Hely slept; the latter
was surprised, and asked had witness a warrant against him. Witness went into
Mulhall's room and found a pistol, (it was a small pistol, and produced in
Court,) under Mulhall's head. Nowlan did not complain of Flood that night; there
was blood on Nowlan's head.
Cross-examined by Mr. Costelloe.
Flood came with witness and Nowlan to the Mayor's office; Nowlan at that
time made no complaint against Flood, but said, "Only for that man, (meaning
Flood, they would have killed me!" Nowlan told witness, that only the prisoners
had knocked him down, he would have shot one of them; Nowlan said he did not
know any of them before.
His LORDSHIP asked Reade did he show the pistol to Nowlan? he said he did,
but would not give it to him, though Nowlan asked for it.
Edward Flood examined by Mr. Costelloe.
Resides in King-street, (or Back-lane), recollects that night Nowlan was in
his house with Healy and Mulhall; recollects the conversation they had; it was
about Shakspeare, Byron and Moore. Hely was about three weeks lodging iwth
witness; he believes Hely is a poet, or a writer, and was getting gentlemen to
subscribe for a work of his. Nowlan did join in the conversation about
Shakspeare; Nowlan had his own opinion and could not bear contradiction; he got
into a passion for being contradicted, and told Mulhall he did not like it; this
was the subject of their conversation, and it was on this conversation the
difference took place. Nowlan immediately after said - "Mulhall, you don't like
me - take care, I have fire-arms;" he immediately rushed at Mulhall and Hely,
who was airing a night cap at the fire, seized both pistols and Nowlan pulled
him into the kitchen and in the scruff Nowlan fell down and cut his head by
falling against a form; he was not struck with either tongs, poker or with the
hand, and received no personal injury but the fall. Witness thinks it was the
left side of the head was cut. - Witness did not use any violent language
against Nowlan, nor did he leap on him. Witness went out with Nowlan to get his
head dressed; he swore against witness next day. Hely seized the pistol from
Nowlan, gave it to Mulhall, who examined it, and finding it was primed and
loaded, blew the priming out of the pan; Mulhall afterwards put the pistol in
his pocket, and said he would give it to a Magistrate. Nowlan wanted to get back
the pistol but Mulhall and Hely said they would give it up to a Magistrate next
morning. Witness did not hear, nor did he himself make any proposal to bury
Nowlan in the garden; Nowlan did swear against Flood at the time he swore
against the others. Witness was taken and committed, but gave his bail; he was
26 hours in gaol before bill was received; he knows Mulhall, who is a hatter and
works with Mr. Powell.
By a Juror - It was Nowlan brought the three out to drink; witness asked
him to go to bed, and not to go out; they had two tumblers of whiskey and water
each; Nowlan drank, besides the two tumblers of whiskey and water, a pint of ale
Cross-examined by Mr. Fox.
The three drank with the Policeman; witness did not know him to be a
Policeman; Hely and Nowlan both fell together; Nowlan's head touched the form;
Hely's did not; Nowlan was not struck that night by witness or the others;
witness heard Nowlan say to Reade, the Constable, that he was struck by witness,
which the latter denied at that time.
James Reade re-examined by Mr. Fox.
Witness does not recollect whether Flood desired that Nowlan was struck; he
paid most attention to Nowlan, he being the complaining party; when the Police
went to Flood's to take Mulhall and Hely, Flood did not then say that it was
Mulhall and Hely made the attack on Nowlan.
William Williams, High Constable, examined by Mr. Costelloe.
Witness told Nowlan to attend the Court, and said to him, that he must have
heard himself called - but Nowlan said he would not attend till he saw Major
The prosecution here closed.
The JUDGE charged briefly, commenting on each material circumstance, and
desiring the Jury, if they believed Nowlan, to find the prisoners guilty; but,
on the contrary, if they believed Flood, to acquit them.
The Jury, without leaving the box, acquitted both the prisoners.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News