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- PublicationMaamtrasna: The Trial of Myles Joyce in 1882(UCD, 2017-11-14)At Maamtrasna, County Galway, five members of the Joyce family were brutally killed in August 1882. The initial victims were John Joyce his mother, Margaret Joyce, his wife, Bridget Joyce, his daughter, Margaret Joyce (also known as Peggy). John’s son, Michael Joyce, died of his injuries the following day. The sole survivor of the attack was Patsy Joyce, John’s youngest son, aged around nine or ten years. Myles Joyce was convicted in November 1882 of murdering his cousin, Margaret Joyce. He was one of ten men arrested. Two of these men, Anthony Philbin and Thomas Casey, later testified against the others. Five pleaded guilty and received prison sentences; these were Michael Casey, Martin Joyce (Myles’s brother), Patrick Joyce (another brother of Myles), Tom Joyce (Patrick’s son) and John Casey. Three men, Myles Joyce, Patrick Joyce and Patrick Casey were tried, convicted and hanged. Given the number of victims, accused persons and accusers, and the remote, tight-knit nature of the area, it is unsurprising that there were various relationships between the main protagonists. They were neighbours, cousins, brothers, fathers and sons, many of whom shared the same names and surnames. Myles Joyce’s death sentence was executed at Galway Gaol in December 1882. Right up until the point of death Myles protested his innocence, and is now widely accepted as having been innocent of the offence. Two other men who were hanged alongside Myles, (Patrick Joyce and Patrick Casey), claimed responsibility for the murders before they were executed. Both emphasised Myles Joyce’s innocence. The question for this paper is whether the circumstances Myles’s conviction were inconsistent with the legal standards of the period.
- PublicationMulticulturalism, Representation and Integration: Citizenship Requirements for Jury Service(Round Hall, 2012-09)This article examines the practice of restricting jury service to citizens. While some jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand, base jury eligibility on permanent residency status, others, such as Ireland and the United States limit it to citizens. This article examines sets out two principal arguments in favour of abolishing citizenship requirements. First, the need to ensure that juries are broadly representative of the community from which they are drawn. Secondly, the need to promote integration more generally, particularly as Western societies become increasingly multicultural. The article also considers specifically Irish constitutional and historical reasons why this citizenship requirement is difficult to justify.
- PublicationFenians, Foreigners and Jury Trials in Ireland 1865-69(University College Dublin, School of Law, 2010-08)
- PublicationNineteenth century criminal justice: uniquely Irish or simply not English?(Irish Journal of Legal Studies, 2013-07)This article examines the supposed uniqueness of the Irish criminal justice system in the nineteenth century. Although the English and Irish systems of criminal justice shared common roots, by the nineteenth century it was becoming apparent that there were differences in the way that law and justice were perceived and administered. The post-Famine years had a significant (and arguably negative) impact upon British perceptions of the Irish. This article examines both general perceptions of Ireland and Irishness, from the perspective of its relationship with England, and its position in the Empire. Outsiders’ perceptions and attitudes indicated that Irish criminality and criminal justice were considered to be distinctive. However, a question arises as to whether Irish criminal justice were uniquely Irish or simply “not English”?
- PublicationIrish Jurors: Passive Observers or Active Participants? Jurors in Civil and Criminal Trials(Taylor and Francis, 2014)What was the role played by jurors in civil and criminal trials from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth century? This article establishes that during this period, juries in Ireland played a relatively active role. It examines individual reports of civil and criminal trials and considers the nature of juror participation during this period, establishing that jurors frequently questioned witnesses, berated counsel, interrupted judges, demanded better treatment and added their own observations to the proceedings. This article compares the nature and level of interaction from different categories of jury – civil and criminal, common and special. It asks why Irish jurors continued to be active participants until late in the nineteenth century, and how the bench and bar received their input. It also suggests that English jurors may have played a more active role during this period than previously thought. Finally, the article considers some possible reasons for the silencing of Irish jurors by the late nineteenth century.
315Scopus© Citations 1
- PublicationAdultery in the Courts: Criminal Conversation in Ireland(UCD, 2016-06-01)In April 1806, Valentine Browne Lawless, the second baron Cloncurry, noticed his young wife Eliza walking arm-in-arm with his friend, Sir John Bennett Piers, a notorious womanizer, spendthrift and gambler. His suspicions aroused, Cloncurry confronted his wife, who confessed to having an affair with Piers, then staying as a guest on their estate at Lyons, Co. Kildare. A miniature portrait of Piers and a lock of his hair were found among Lady Cloncurry’s possessions. Piers, unsurprisingly, made a hasty departure, but wrote several times to Cloncurry denying the affair and making vague offers to duel. Cloncurry and Piers had been friends since their school days; furthermore, Piers owed Cloncurry a sum of money. While nothing, presumably, could entirely assuage the hurt feelings and wounded pride of the husband in such circumstances, the subsequent award of £20,000 damages by a King’s Bench jury may have helped. Represented by John Philpot Curran and Charles Kendal Bushe, he sued Piers for ‘criminal conversation’. Meanwhile, Lady Cloncurry, having been portrayed as ‘an artless and weak girl of nineteen’, left the country, her reputation in tatters, and later gave birth to a son presumed to be Piers’. Criminal conversation or ‘crim con’ was a ‘notorious’ civil action which allowed a cuckolded husband to recover damages from his wife’s lover. It evolved out of de facto blackmail agreements in the late seventeenth century and gained popularity among the English nobility in the eighteenth century until its abolition by the Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, but because this Act did not extend to Ireland, Irish crim con actions endured until the twentieth century.
- PublicationThe Trials of Peter Barrett: A Microhistory of Dysfunction in the Irish Criminal Justice System(UCD, 2018-03-09)In 1869 an assassination attempt was made on Captain Thomas Eyre Lambert, a prominent Galway landowner. Lambert was returning home from visiting his brother, Giles, who resided at neighbouring Moor Park. He spotted a man lurking beneath some lime trees near the entrance to his house, Castle Lambert. He was fired at a number of times, and was eventually felled by a shot to the forehead. He staggered to the door of his house, later stating: ‘[w]hen I reached the hall door I knocked violently, my butler opened the door and I fell into his arms.’ He soon sent for his brother. Given a description of the assailant, Giles hastened to the Athenry constabulary station, a mile or two away, and relayed the information to acting constable John Griffith. Sub-constable Edward Hayden was quickly dispatched, in plain-clothes, to take the midnight train to Oranmore, ten miles away, to try to apprehend the suspect. He returned around 5 a.m. the following morning with Peter Barrett in custody. He had spotted Barrett sleeping in his train compartment, and he matched the description provided by Giles Lambert. On being asked a few questions by sub-constable Hayden, his answers were ‘both evasive and contradictory’, and he was arrested. Barrett appeared to match the description given by Lambert: ‘I described the assassin as a man of slight figure dressed in dark clothes sharp features with not much hair on his face darkish complexion’. Furthermore, Lambert said he told his brother that ‘if Peter Barrett was in the country he was the man.’ Lambert, as will be seen, had reason to suspect that Barrett might have had a motive for the assault. Barrett was committed for trial at the next assize in August. On the face of it, it had the appearance of a relatively straightforward case destined for a quick resolution. However, this was not to be. What ensued was three trials, a change of venue to Dublin, allegations of jury intimidation, extensive press coverage around the United Kingdom, enormous expense and, ultimately, an acquittal.
- Publication'A Typical Collection of Lower Middle-Class Londoners'(Wordwell, 2017-09)Roger Casement’s arrest, detention, trial and execution have been continually re-examined over the past century. There has been endless speculation over the use made of the so-called Black Diaries to discredit him and scupper his chances of having his sentence commuted. Another issue which has captured the imagination of scholars is whether or not he was convicted under a correct interpretation of the Treason Act 1351, or whether he was, as he claimed, ‘hanged by a comma.’ The adequacy of his legal representation and case management have also been questioned. This article, however, examines a previously ignored aspect of the Casement trial: the composition of the jury which tried and convicted him.
- PublicationWas Roger Casement's Trial a Legal Travesty?(Irish Independent, 2016-02-18)After Roger Casement's capture on Banna Strand he was brought to London. During his interrogation on Easter Monday, news of the Rising filtered through, and by the end of the week, English public opinion of Casement had plummeted. He was presumed to have been the instigator of the Rising, although in reality he had come to Ireland to try to prevent it. While their first instinct had been to try him before a court-martial, the British government ultimately opted for the public spectacle of a full civil trial. Casement, however, would have preferred a court-martial like the other rebels.
- PublicationLand Valuations, Market Practices, Pregnancy, Insanity: There's a Jury for That(UCD, 2017-11-27)Contemporary legal practitioners and academics are familiar with the use of juries in criminal trials. To a lesser extent, the use of juries in civil actions, although a rarity in 21st century Ireland, is recognised as having been the norm in the past, and continues to be an essential part of the administration of justice in other common law systems, notably the United States. Juries also continue to be used at coroners’ inquests, delivering verdicts on the causes of death. What might be less widely appreciated, however, was that in the past, juries were used in a much wider range of situations, ranging from the determination of pregnancy or insanity, to the regulation of market practices and the conducting of land valuations. The term ‘jury’ in these scenarios is to be given a wide interpretation, generally meaning a panel of laypersons with no judicial or other specialised training. In this paper, I propose to explore some of these ways in which panels of laypersons were used in 18th and 19th century Ireland as an essential aspect of law, order and the regulation of society. Why were juries used in such diverse contexts? What were the advantages or disadvantages of doing so? Were there alternatives?