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Magistrate's Record Invalid: Accused Man to be Discharged |

Magistrate’s Record Invalid: Accused Man to be Discharged

In a significant ruling delivered by the King’s Bench Division yesterday, the case of the King v. John Jones saw judgment pronounced before the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Gibson. The matter at hand involved an application made by Mr Sergeant M’Sweeney, along with Mr Redden (instructed by Mr John J. Power of Kilmallock), to make absolute a conditional order of habeas corpus directed to Colonel Sir Anthony Weldon, Bart., who commanded the troops in Limerick. The order was to produce the defendant, John Jones, who stood accused of desertion from the Army under the Army Act of 1881 and the Military Service Act of 1916.

The case revolved around Jones’s alleged desertion, with the defence arguing that his absence from military duty was due to temporary employment in England to secure a position with an insurance company in Ireland. While Jones had registered at Wandsworth, his arrest by the Constabulary at Kilteely on September 11th last year led to his subsequent commitment to military custody.

The crux of the defence’s argument lay in challenging the validity of the court proceedings, asserting that the court lacked summary jurisdiction, the issues were not determined, and there was insufficient evidence of Jones’s residency in Great Britain. Mr Justice Gibson, delivering the unanimous judgment of the Court, meticulously reviewed the arguments and authorities presented. His lordship concluded that the record of the magistrate’s actions in delivering Jones to military custody was manifestly invalid, rendering Jones entitled to discharge from military custody.

Mr Justice Gibson further noted the concurrence of Mr Justice Dodd, who, though absent, supported the decision to discharge Jones. The court proceeded to make the order absolute, directing Jones’s immediate discharge from custody.

During the proceedings, considerations were given to costs and propriety of actions. Mr St. George, representing the Crown, acted in accordance with the court’s expectations, and it was determined that costs would not be levied against him personally. The court addressed arguments regarding costs against individuals, ultimately deciding to make the order absolute for Jones’s discharge.

Mr Henry, K.C., MP.., along with Mr Cusack (instructed by the Chief Crown Solicitor), represented the Crown throughout the proceedings.

The ruling marks a significant legal precedent regarding habeas corpus proceedings and underscores the importance of procedural integrity in matters of justice.

Dublin Daily Express – Thursday 16 November 1916

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