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LIMERICK, Ireland – In the aftermath of the anti-Home Rule demonstration held at the Theatre Royal on the 10th of October last year, tranquillity has been restored in the city of Limerick. The trial at the Limerick City Assizes, presided over by Mr Justice Ross, concluded with the discharge of the accused individuals, namely Michael Kavanagh, John Whelan, Patrick Whelan, James Daly, Timothy Joe Foley, Mrs. O’Dwyer, John Daly, and John J. O’Connor. The charges included riot, unlawful assembly, and assault during the political gathering.

The prosecution, led by Mr P. Lynch, K.C., L. O’B. Kelly, and J. Fitzgerald, alleged that the disturbances arose after the expulsion of a man from the Theatre Royal during the anti-Home Rule demonstration. The crowd, initially orderly, became agitated, leading to jeering and groaning. The situation escalated when mounted police arrived, resulting in disturbances that continued until midnight, causing damage to property.

County Inspector Henry Yates testified that the crowd was initially orderly but became excited after the man’s ejection. He explained the challenges faced by the police in maintaining order and detailed the use of mounted police to disperse the crowd.

The defence, represented by Mr D. T. Sherlock and R. J. Sheehy, argued that the accused individuals were not responsible for the disturbances. Witnesses testified to their alibis and peaceful behaviour during the events in question. The defence also highlighted the role of the mounted police in escalating tensions.

During the trial, the court heard from various witnesses, including Reverend Mr Wylie, who emphasized the importance of allowing individuals to express their political views without fear of violence. The prosecution argued that regardless of political affiliations, people should be entitled to express their opinions without facing aggression.

In his charge to the jury, Mr Justice Ross acknowledged the disturbances and emphasized the need for justice. He condemned the attacks on individuals leaving the meeting, particularly targeting ladies, and the striking of a clergyman. The judge urged the jury to consider the case carefully, emphasizing the importance of temperance and tolerance.

After deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty of all the accused individuals, leading to their discharge. The courtroom’s response was subdued, in contrast to the earlier disturbances in Limerick. With the trial concluded, the focus now shifts to restoring peace and order in the city, fostering an environment of tolerance and respect for diverse political opinions.

Dublin Daily Express – Tuesday 04 March 1913

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