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'THE TIMES' - PARNELL COMMISSION.

LEGAL AMENITIES

On resuming their sittings in the beginning ot May, the Jitdgcs severely commented on the conduct of Mr Parnell's solicitor and counsel in not advising him to disclose certain documents. Sir James Hanncn said that he had learned for the first time of the shorthand book of letters of Mr Parnell, dealing with the Land League. This ought to have been disclosed. Sir Charles Russell professed that he did not understand this point, and hewas severely rebuked by Mr Justice Smith, Another scene occurred between Sir Charles Russell and the Judges soon afterwards, when Sir R. E. Webster called attention to certain names appearing in the counterfoils of Mr Parnell's chequebooks, as proving the necessity for further explanation. Mr Parnell wished to be cross-examined regarding these names at once. This the Attorney-General refused to do until the further documents required were in his possession. Sir Charles Russell supported Mr Parnell's demand, and when the President had poiuted out that this course was irregular, he said : "As your Lordship regulates the proceedings of this Court, we defer to your opinion ; but we hold our own opinion all the same." " We arc. not here," replied Sir James Hannen, "to hear private opinions, but to see that the inquiry is properly conducted." " All the same," retorted Sir Charles Russell, " we maintain our opinion." " I am aware you have said that," warmly replied the President. "It is a most improper mode of continuing the discussion, and one which I hope you will abandon."

Mr Parnell then went on to make some explanation, when the President stopped him with the remark that he was following the example set him, and was repeating that which was not called for. Then Sir Charles Russell, iu an obvious passion, addressing the witness, said : " Do you wish to be examined about these accounts to-day '! " " Most certainly," replied Mr Parnell. Again the IVcsidcnt interposed. "It is not," he said, "a question of what Mr Parnell desires, but of what wo direct." " Well," said Sir Charles Russell, "give U3 an explanation about these cheques." " We must atop this," interrupted the President severely; "and tho best thing will be to adjourn Mr Parnell's evidence until these documents are before us."

Sir Charles Kusscll abruptly left the Court, and th<; incident ended. The next witness ealled was Archbishop Walnli, who gave evidence as to the state of Ireland generally in 1879, and testified to the necessity for such an organisation as the League to save tenants from ruin. The Archbishop was about to state his opinions with regard to the effect of the Land League upon the state of the country, when an objection was raised, and a prolonged argument ensued. Before it was finished, Mr Biggar interposed to point out that hirelings of the Government had been allowed to givo evidence similar to that sought from the Archbiahop. The term "hirelings" would not be allowed by the President, and the word " oliicials " was substituted; Mr Biggar winding up with a declaration that if the evidence were not admitted the whole inquiry would end in a farce. " You have not assisted us, Mr Biggar," sarcastically observed the President, and there was more laughter as Mr Biggar sat down.

Ultimately the Court ruled that the Archbishop must give the facts as he knew them about the League, and not mere abstract opinions. Immediately after the resumption of the case next morning, Sir Charles Russell apologised to the President for his conduct on the previous day. He said he now felt that lie had acted very improperly in persisting in the expression of his own opinion after the very strong ruling of their Lordships. He considered _ that he owed it to the Court to express his regret, and he now exprejsed it.

The President accepted the apology, and expressed tho hope that the case would be conducted in the future in the same spirit as that which had prevailed for a long time past. _______^____

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890622.2.31

Bibliographic details

'THE TIMES' – PARNELL COMMISSION., Issue 7940, 22 June 1889

Word Count
665

'THE TIMES' – PARNELL COMMISSION. Issue 7940, 22 June 1889

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