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IRISH GROWS JEWELS.

SIR ARTHUR VICAR'S ACTION

FOR LIBEL

£5000 DAMAGES

' Sir Arthur Edward Vicars, X.C.V.0., of Kilmorna, County Kerry, was the plaintiff in an action which came before Mr Justice Darling and a special jury in the King's Bench Division, the defendants being the Lonmail Syndicate, Ltd., theWalbrook Company, Lta., (printers of the London Mail), and A. Moreton Mandeville, the editor of that publication.

From January, 1893, to Febiiiary, 1908, Sir Arthur' was Ulster King of Arms, and had in his custody the Crovvn jewels appertaining to the order of St. Patrick. It was alleged that an article amounting to a libel was published in the London Mail, in which reference was made to him. The

defendants denied that the words complained of bore the moaning placed upon- them by Sir Arthur, and pleaded substantial truth and fair comment. I -Mr Campbell, K.C., said the action | was brought in "respect of an atrocious | and abominable libel, published, and since persisted in with most extraordinary cruelty and malice. In 1893, when the plaintiff was Mr A. Vicars, he was appointed to fill the position of Ulster King or Arms, and he held that post for thirteen years. It was, • the duty of Sir Arthur Vicars to regulate all the ceremonies that Were incidental to the visits of Royalty to Ireland, and other ceremonies connected with the Irish Court.' By rirtue of his office he became King of Arms of the Order of St. Patrick, which was an order of the highest kind'in Ireland. STATEMENT COMPLAINED OF. The alleged libel had reference to the loss of the jewels, and was published on November 23rd, asfollows•:-=-What happened, in Dublin, Castle the night • before the Crown jewels were "stolen,',' and why the lady who carried out such an elaborate scheme of revenge against Sir Arthur was allowed to go unpunished ? * Further, what led Sir Arthur Vicars .to shield this lady through thick and thin, at the cost of his post and his honor, and what return the lady made him for this sacrifice? And why those officials, all occupying the highest posts in the Irish administration, remained miite through the whole affair, allowed the word Y'robbery" to _ be bruited about, and yet all the time knew that the jewels were never oft the Castle precincts. And as a last query that wants, a great deal of explaining, why. did Lord- and Lady Aberdeen- display such extraordinary and inhuman vindictiveness against Sir Arthur Vica-rs when their son, Lord Kaddo, did all he could to vindicate the. accused man ?

Will any one ever have the courage to tell the whole truth about • this wretched business, involving as it does, round love, jealousy, and a culminating tragedy of fiendish revenge. ' This, Mr Campbell went on, was obI scure, but behind it all was. the sug- | gestion thai &ir Arthur Vicars had j sacrificed-his position ;&nd! his honor 'for some unnamed-lady!, The jewels consisted' of collars, stars, and other : things, representing the various . insignia of the Order.. They were enormously valuable. During tho time Sir Arthur was in charge of them, he had the honor of being knighted by Queen Victoria for her services and the distinguished manner, in -which he discharged his duties. , . DISAPPEARANCE OF THE JEWELS. On July 6th, 1907, counsel continued, this valuable insignia, or, at any "rate, a'considerable portion of it, was stolen or abstracted from Dublin Castle. The theft was a mysterious one, difficult to, account for, and had remained a mystery since, in so far as there had be-on no .discovery' either of the theft or the jewels. Sir Arthur Vicars, on October 23rd, received a .communication that the King was reconstituting the office, and.that in the reconsfitution his services would no longer be required. He appealed strongly . for an inquiry. Whon a' Commission was appointed it conducted its /proceedings in camera, and the witnesses were not sworn. Objecting to this mode of enquiry, Sir Arthur declined, to have anything to do with it&: In his absence, the Commission conducted their enquiry, and finally made a report that he had been negligent in his custody, of the jewels. Since then there has been various rumors "in the air/ and certain questions had been asked in the House of Commons, but Sir Arthur had' been, unable to bring anyone into court until now. "GROTESQUE AND INSULTING.'' The defence filed, counsel said, was grotesque and insulting, and a lady of high position, against whom there had never been a breatfi. of suspicion, was gibfi||ed in the particulars delivered on March 31st last when the defendants sought to justify what they had published. The particulars ran:— Tt is a fact that the plaintiff had the Crown- jewels in his custody, and they were contain^'l in a safe of which he alone "had the key. It. is a fact that the key,jor a skeleton thereof in wax, was obtained. prior"~f<> the xemoyal.of the jewels by a woman commonly known as Molly, and who is now known as Mme. R-obinson. . . It • is a fact that, previous to the removal of the jewels, this woman had acted . as, and was in fact, the mistress of the plaintiff; that shortly before the removal of the jewels the plaintiff had become on terms of great intimacy and friendship with one Lady Haddo, ■ a daughter of Lord- Aberdeen, the late Vicsroy of Ireland. Malony, or "Molly," was greatly incensed at, and became very jealous of, this intimacy and friendship. It is.a.fact that on the night previous' to the removal of the. jewels there were visitors to Dublin Castle, among them being Malony, or Molly, Lord Ronald Sutherland-Gower, and Mr Shackleton, and it is a fact that tho last-named persons were playing cards with the plaintiff, and that at the end of the game the plaintiff retired. . . . and tho-woman Malony loft1 the Castle unperceived by the other occupants in the early hours of the morning; that tho plaintiff did not attempt to detain her or prevent her leaving. . That the plaintiff, directly or indirectly, supplied her with the- means necessary to escape. "My charge"," Mr Campbell observed, "is that every line of that is a complete fabrication, and a fabrication- to the knowledge of the defendants when they put it on the file of this court. The' whole story is a myth, and absolutely without foundation of any sort or kind. It was deliberately put o.n the file in the hope that, by introducing names,, it-would induce people to put pressure on Sir Arthur Vicars not to go on with the' case, and allow these libellers to co scot free." ' SIR ARTHUR'S DENIALS. : Sir Arthur Vicars gave evidence, repudiating each ■ statement made against- him, and said the whole story" was a fabrication from' beginning to end. He explained that the jewels were kept in the office there for some t;rne. When he came to "take charge of the castle in 1893 he was not aware of the existence of the j-owels, and they, were handed to him by the office messenger. They had been secreted in a common iron box, which could not be regarded by any means as s-afe. Ho "at once sent to the Board of Works for a safe. When the strongroom was built the door was mad© too narrow, and the safe would not go into it. They could have made the door tho proper size for another £2 10s.. (Laughter). At any rate, the .safe had to remain in the other room, -md the strong-room was used more for the records and manuscript. The

library in .which the: safe was fcacf windows which, looked over the castle* yard v • His Lordship: Were the jewels big. things?—-Sir Arthur; They were at one • time the Crown jewels of Eng-^ land, and were sent over by Willjai^r IV, to be used by the Grand Master the Lord Lieutenant for the time being. They consisted of a- diamond badge to wear round the neck, and a large diamond star. ' Have you the slightest idea what became' of them ?—Not the slightest. ' Lord Haddo, eldest eon of the Viceroy of Ireland, and Lady Haddo, gave evidence tisat as far as' the libel referred to them there was not the < slightest justification or foundation for Jthem. Lady Haddo mentioned that she had spoken to Sir Arthur Vicars only one© in her lif« v ■■'••■». Mr Campbell said lie was not aware F until that morning that the dei" fendants were-not persisting in theia* plea of justification. .--. - VERY SORRY. ' .' Mr Shearman, addressing the jury for the defence, said lie was instructed to say that the- defendants were very sorry. They had been misled, and they would give .the plaintiff any reasonable amount of compensation that lie wished. He was also bound to say that he agreed entirely with the" defendants' expression of regret, and the admission that the story was-. $ myth.- Be did not want any mem- ': per of the jury to go away with any idea at the back of his head thatthere was something in the story after all. The lady, in the'story did not exist. . THE SUMMING-UP. . . In his summing-up, his Lordship remarked that up to the last minute \r defendants had justified the libel. Mr Shearman" had made-a point of the fact that the libel.had given the' plaintiff a chance of refuting all the' rumors that had been floating about o Me .doubted whether * the plaintiff placed any value on the opportunity— (laughter)—but if the jury thought there wast any value.to be placed' on ttiat opportunity they could deduct ■it trom the amount of damages they would award for the libel. The jury, after a short deliberation, awarded the plaintiff £500G , damages. \

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MEX19130829.2.25

Bibliographic details

IRISH GROWS JEWELS., Marlborough Express, Volume XLVII, Issue 204, 29 August 1913

Word Count
1,612

IRISH GROWS JEWELS. Marlborough Express, Volume XLVII, Issue 204, 29 August 1913

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