In a surprising turn of events at the Limerick Sessions yesterday in Irish Law Administration, a judge refused to commit a hung jury. Owen O’Neilly had been brought on trial for stabbing a servant woman, with the case against him being clear. The listener, Judge Adams, strongly opined that the outcome of the trial should have been a finding of guilt, however, the jury failed to come to a unanimous decision.
The judge claimed that because a juror had been drunk the previous Saturday, the jury had to attend a further day of proceedings. To the dismay of many, they still couldn’t agree on a verdict. The foreman then explained that a majority were for acquittal. Judge Adams expressed his obvious frustration that this made the division of the panel even more alarming and stated that it was against the evidence, the law, and their oaths.
In response, the judge decided to remand the prisoner and asked the Attorney-General to change the venue to Cork. He reasoned that in Cork, intelligence and regard for the oaths of jurors still existed and would potentially result in a different outcome for the case. After announcing this course of action, he ordered the jury to go home.
Morning Leader – Tuesday 06 January 1903