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In thus mentioning the above as instances of fit occasions for the exercise of your discretion, I do not mean to convey to you that they are the only cases in which it should so be exercised; others perhaps your own experience may suggest to you, and I will give the best consideration in my power to any communication you may think fit to make on that subject, as circumstances may require.
In the practical exercise of this privilege I cannot lay down any other rule for your guidance, as to the degree of evidence you are to require of the fact of any particular juror being liable to objection, than that which is implied in the second branch of the instructions to which I have already referred, namely, that you must consider yourself responsible for the propriety of the act in each case; and, accordingly, be prepared to show that it was founded on information, either within your personal knowledge, or that of some of your assistants, or derived from authentic and trustworthy sources on the accuracy of which you can reasonably rely. You will not refuse to receive the communications of parties who may be personally interested or engaged in the prosecution ; but, in judging of the weight due to such information, you will take into consideration the probable bias of the party by whom it is given, and endeavour, as far as may be, to test its accuracy by other and impartial testimony.
In receiving such information from any magistrate, chief constable, or other public officer, you should make a note of the name of the person giving it, in order that, if found to be inaccurate, due inquiry may be made into the conduct of the individual making the communication; and should any instance occur in which it may come to your knowledge that a public officer has knowingly misled you by false information respecting a juror, I need scarcely remind you that it will be your duty without delay to report such conduct to the Government.
I have thus endeavoured to convey to you my opinion of the course to be pursued by those who conduct the Crown prosecutions in this important particular. In those prosecutions the discovery of truth and the attainment of justice are the paramount considerations to be attended to; and to those ends nothing can more powerfully conduce than the impartial return and selection of jurors. In exercising the privileges of the Crown on this subject you will, I have no doubt, regard only the public duty confided to your charge, remembering at the same time how important it is that the performance of that duty should be as much as possible divested of any appearance of prejudice or partiality, avoiding unnecessary offence to the private feelings of individuals, and, above all, preserving that public confidence in the administration of justice, which is the best guarantee of the peace and good order of society.—I have the honour to be, Sir, your very obedient servant,
NOTE ON THE IRISH CONSTABULARY FORCE.
The Acts under which the police of Ireland was constituted prior to 1836 were the 54 Geo. III. c. 131, commonly called the Peace Preservation Act, and the 3 Geo. IV. c. 103 (the Constabulary Act). There were some other statutes passed to amend these Acts, but they did not affect the principles of the system. The 3 Geo. IV. c. 103, virtually determined the operation of several Acts of the Irish Parliament passed from time to time for the appointment of constabulary for the several baronies of each county, and under which the appointments had been vested in the respective grand juries. Other Acts, regulating the appointment of parochial and other petty constables, remained untouched.
The Peace Preservation Act, 54 Geo. III. c. 131, empowered the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council to declare any county or barony to be in a state of disturbance, and to require an extraordinary establishment of police; upon which the Lord Lieutenant was authorised to appoint chief magistrates of police, not exceeding one for each such barony, and to appoint a chief constable and a certain number of sub-constables for his assistance. The duties and powers of the chief magistrates under this Act were very important, and they communicated to the Lord Lieutenant a weekly return of the state of their respective districts. All the appointments under this Act were vested in the Lord Lieutenant.
The 3 Geo. IV. c. 103, professed to introduce a more effective system for the appointment and regulation of constables. Under it the Lord Lieutenant was authorised to appoint a chief constable for every barony in any county. The appointment of constables and sub-constables was given to the magistrates at Quarter Sessions, but the Lord Lieutenant had power to dismiss them at pleasure. The Lord Lieutenant was by this Act authorised to appoint one or more persons, not exceeding four, to be general superintendents and inspectors of the chief constables and constables. The duty of these inspectorsgeneral, as they were called, was to inspect the constables in the districts committed to their superintendence, and to report to the Lord Lieutenant on the conduct and proceedings of all chief and other constables therein, and (with the consent and approbation of the Lord Lieutenant, signified by his Secretary), to frame rules, orders, and regulations for the conduct and proceedings of such chief and other constables. (These rules were to be subject to the approval or rejection of the magistrates at Quarter Sessions). They had not under this Act the power of appointment or dismissal of any member of the constabulary. This Act extended the powers of the Lord Lieutenant in appointing paid magistrates in cases not provided for by the 54 Geo. III. c. 131, authorising him to make such appointment on the certificate of a certain number of the local magistrates assembled in Sessions. The magistrates so to be appointed were not by the Act placed in any way in connection with or under the control of the inspectors-general of police. They were to communicate directly with the office of the Chief Secretary, and they were authorised to call for the assistance of all chief and other constables appointed under the Act.
The 5 Geo. IV. c. 28, made an alteration in the mode of appointing constables, which to some extent gave a power of
appointment to the inspectors-general, by directing the magistrates to furnish them with lists of fit persons for supplying vacancies in the force, and enabling the inspectors-general to appoint from such lists; but this power was altogether nominal in regard to patronage.
It was under these Acts—the 54 Geo. III. c. 131, in disturbed districts, and the 3 Geo. IV. c. 103, generally—that the constabulary force was organised in Ireland at the time of the passing of the Act 6 and 7 Wm. IV. c. 13. The scope and spirit of this Act appear to be to introduce one uniform system for the appointment and regulation of the constabulary, and to provide for the more general appointment of stipendiary magistrates. It, in the first place, repeals all the former Acts, including the 54 Geo. III. c. 131, making provision, however, for the continuance of an adequate force in parts which had been proclaimed under that Act so long as might be necessary, and for similar arrangements in future.
The most important alteration made by the Act of 1836 related to the number and distribution of the chief officers of the force. This Act enabled the Lord Lieutenant to appoint one Inspector-General, “who shall be charged with the general direction and superintendence of the force;" two deputies to that office; four county inspectors, each of whom is hy the Act to be “charged and invested with the general government, direction, and superintendence of the police force within such number of counties as the Lord Lieutenant may direct;" and a certain number of sub-inspectors in aid of the county inspectors, and subject to their direction and control. It also gave power to the Lord Lieutenant to appoint paymasters; and it authorised his Excellency to appoint at pleasure chief constables, head constables, constables, and sub-constables, in every county in the proportions specified in the Act. The absolute power to dismiss every officer and member of the force was exclusively given to the Lord Lieutenant. Thus the entire appointment and control over the constabulary force became vested in the Executive Government, free from all the restrictions which, under former Acts, had resulted from the power given to the local magistrates. Besides the general authority given to the
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Inspector-General by the words quoted, that officer was authorised (with the approbation, however, of the Lord Lieutenant) to frame regulations for the general government of the several persons to be appointed to the police force—to order any of the officers, or other members of it (but subject to the direction and control of the Lord Lieutenant), to repair to different counties; and he was also to ascertain (with the aid of the Receiver, and subject to the approval of the Chief or Under Secretary), the amount of monies chargeable to each county under the provisions of the Act. The Act, however, gave powers to county inspectors within their districts, in words as general and as comprehensive as those which defined the powers of the Inspector-General; and the authority intended to be given by these words was, therefore, not an absolute and independent control over the force, but related merely to matters of internal discipline and arrangement for the regularity of the proceedings of the different members of the force, so far as it authorised the Inspector-General to act by himself. So far as regarded anything to be ultimately determined by the Lord Lieutenant, it was only a power to see to the due observance of the rules and regulations of the force as approved by his Excellency, and to report to him any matters requiring the exercise of his authority. It followed that every appointment or dismissal of a member of the force of all ranks, every question relating to such appointment or dismissal, every inquiry necessary to determine on the propriety of such appointment or dismissal, every question and inquiry as to the numbers of constables, &c., to be appointed to particular localities or for particular counties, and every question relating to the superannuation of any member of the force, his rate of pension, and all these matters, under the very terms of the Act, were out of the control of the Inspector-General, it might be added, out of his province altogether, save so far as the Lord Lieutenant, either by general rules or by particular directions in special cases, might place the duty of furnishing him with the necessary information in the hands of that officer, or think fit to act on his recommendation or report, or to delegate to him the subordinate exercise of authority in particular cases. The Act was thus