!! Connaught Journal; Mar 22, 1824 "Cavan Assizes-trial of Geo. Weir"
- THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL
Galway, Monday, March 22, 1824
TRIAL OF GEORGE WEIR, A POLICEMAN, FOR THE MURDER OF JOHN SMITH.
MONDAY- MARCH 15, 1824
The King at the prosecution of Patrick Harney Masterson and others against
This case excited a very intense interest at Cavan among all classes of
people. This was not to be wondered at. The Partisans of Weir, and they were
many, thought it monstrous that a man in office, however low, or however
criminal, should be charged with any dereliction of duty by anyone one of the
mere People. Accordingly they talked very fondly of the character of the man
accused- of his ardent loyalty and unmitigated devotion to the reigning Faction
of the town-they hinted, darkly, at certain conspiracies to sear away the lives
of all the loyal Police, and declared how unfortunate it was that Weir was the
first of the Body these Indendiaries happened to meet with after the commission
of the act, which they affected to deplore, inasmuch as the Perpetrator had fled
the Country, and they knew him well. They forgot, however, that his very
admission on their part was in some sort a proof that they knew a great deal
more about the matter then any body else.- The moderate and respectable in Cavan
appeared also to be deeply anxious as the toe the result of the day's
proceedings. They were all agreed as to the murder-they all admitted it was a
foul one-they knew that it originated from that hostile and intolerant party
spirit which almost all of the little great men in the Town and County are so
anxious to preserve in full force. Here they saw at once cause and effect, and
when the latter appeared at once so disastrous and melancholy, it was not to be
wondered that they wished to see the perpetrators of such mischief punished to
the full extent of his crime.
Notwithstanding the wetness of the morning, the Court was thronged at an
early hour with eager and impatient spectators. The doors were opened at half
past eight o'clock, and at nine the galleries and space under the table was
completely filled. The Gentlemen of the Bar and Press were readily admitted; but
all those whom idleness or the gratification of an anxious curiosity had led
thither, were disappointed in their efforts to gain entrance.
At ten minutes past nine, George Weir was put to the Bar; and on being
asked whether he was ready for his trial, Mr. Armstong, his Agent, replied in
the affirmative. Weir is a man below the middle size, and rather meanly
dressed. He appeared very anxious and agitated, bit his lips frequently, and
betrayed the most intense emotion, by the frequent rolling of his eyes, to and
fro, without steadily fixing them on any object.
At twenty minutes past nine o'clock the Crier made Proclamation, when the
Panel was called over, and at length the Jury were impanelled.
An interchange of lists of Witnesses then took place, by mutual consent.
The Prisoner was now given in charge to the Jury. He was indicted for that
not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved by the instigation
of the Devil, he, on the night of the 24th of February last, in the fifth year
of his present Majesty's reign, did feloniously kill one John Smith, by
inflicting a bayonet wound in the left side of his head, of which wound he died.
After the Evidence on both sides having been closed, The Learned Judge then
entered upon addressing the Jury, stating, that the present case was one of the
most singularly barbarous, cold-blooded, and unprovoked murders which had ever
come before him- and singular to account how the Prisoner at the Bar, possessing
as he did, so exemplary a character, should, without any visible reason, or even
any excitement of the passions, deliberately and coolly embrue his hands in the
blood of his fellow man. His Lordship felt it extremely hard to reconcile the
commission of so cold-blooded an atrocity., in the absence of all evidence as to
any previous ill-will existing between the parties, and in such cases, character
must have a considerable influence with the Jury, where doubt and improbability
existed, that the prisoner charged with the crime was at all guilty.
His Lordship then went over the evidence and the charge concluded at ten
minutes before seven. The mail however being about to leave Cavan before the
Jury had retired, our Reporter was unable to furnish us with the result.
ACQUITTAL OF THE PRISONER
Cavan, Ten o'Clock, Monday Night.
The Prisoner has been acquitted. I have not a moment to write more
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News