Limerick has found itself in the midst of a butter prosecution scandal, which recently made its way to the Limerick Petty Sessions. In the heart of the matter is Mr Robert Gibson, a butter salesmaster who sought to clear his name after it appeared that some individuals had mistaken the court’s decision and deemed him exceedingly guilty. Consequently, he requested a simple expression of opinion from the court regarding his involvement in the fraud and asserting that he ultimately exposed it.
Mr E. F. Hickson, the presiding judge on the case, expressed his dissent to the decision of the other magistrates, stating that he did not believe Mr Gibson should have been brought before the court in the first place. Moreover, it was made clear that no one suspected Mr Gibson of any participation in the fraud. On the contrary, Mr Gibson did the public a great service by revealing the fraud that had taken place.
In a recent development related to the case, a letter in the “Irish Times” from Messrs Lemaire and Classey, who were also implicated in the scandal, sought to clear themselves of any intent of fraud. They claimed to have received a guarantee of the butter’s purity and had filed an appeal. However, their solicitor, Mr O’Donnell, withdrew the appeal in compliance with instructions he had received.
The circumstances surrounding the case suggest that Lemaire and Classey had no malicious intention and had not even seen the butter in question. Acknowledging this, Mr Gibson highlighted an error in connection with the wire he had previously mentioned, stating that the Post Office had mistakenly directed the butter consignment to Dublin in his name, despite the consignment being in the name of Lemaire and Classey.
When queried about whether the questionable butter was seized in Dublin, Mr Gibson explained that samples were simply taken. The authorities there seemed satisfied with the Limerick court’s decision and did not feel the need to pursue further action in that regard. Mr Hickson expressed his appreciation for Mr Gibson’s actions in exposing the fraud, stating that he not only did the public a great service but also aided the City of Limerick by contributing £60 to the Corporation’s funds.
Mr Gibson further emphasized how detrimental such fraudulent butter would prove for the country if sold as “Irish Creamery” despite not being up to standard. The potential for more significant financial loss to Ireland is substantial and should not be overlooked.
Meanwhile, a letter from Dublin Castle addressed to Mr P. Bourke, J. P., stated that the application made on behalf of the magistrates regarding analysis was being considered by the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. This gives rise to hope that further investigations will be conducted and appropriate actions taken to address the situation.
In conclusion, while the Limerick Butter Prosecution case may have cast a shadow of doubt upon key figures such as Mr Gibson, it has opened the doors for further discourse and investigations on the importance of maintaining the quality of Irish butter. This is crucial not only for the reputation of the Irish dairy industry but also for the economy and the consumer’s trust. The case also serves as a reminder that the wheels of justice, although sometimes slow, can eventually lead to the truth, ensuring that integrity prevails.
Northants Telegraph – Monday 06 May 1901