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Spanish Point Tragedy: Former Petty Sessions Clerk Found Guilty of Manslaughter |

Spanish Point Tragedy: Former Petty Sessions Clerk Found Guilty of Manslaughter

At the Clare Assizes in Ennis on Saturday, Francis W. Moroney, a former Petty Sessions Clerk, stood trial before Mr Justice Gilson on a charge of wilful murder in the case of James Collins, who tragically lost his life at Spanish Point on May 13th. The prosecution was led by Mr Redmond Barry, K.C., Mr R. M. Hennessy, K.C., and Mr M. C. Collinan, with Mr Patrick Lynch representing the deceased.

The court heard extensive evidence for the Crown, much of which has been previously reported. It was revealed that Collins had initiated legal action against Moroney by filing a summons. The two men crossed paths at a house in Spanish Point where Collins was employed as a labourer on the fateful day of June 13th. Moroney repeatedly requested that Collins withdraw the summons, and Collins agreed but demanded reimbursement of 2s. 6d., which he had paid to the Acting Petty Sessions Clerk. Moroney, seemingly dissatisfied with Collins’ response, fired a revolver at him, uttering the words, “Take that.” Sadly, Collins succumbed to his injuries.

Police testified to the threats made by the accused against Collins in the days leading up to May 13th. It was also established that Moroney, at the time of his arrest, appeared agitated but was not suffering from delirium tremens. Dr M. O’Brien, a defence witness, attested that Moroney was experiencing alcoholism during the commission of the offence. Dr Metirath, the Visiting Medical Officer at Limerick Prison, noted that when Moroney was first brought to the facility, he showed signs of heavy drinking.

After careful deliberation, the jury found Moroney guilty of manslaughter, accompanied by a strong recommendation for mercy. As a result, he was sentenced to five years of penal servitude.

Kerry News – Wednesday 06 July 1904

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