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County of Antrim


James Biggar



HC Deb 20 April 1885

vol 297 cc145-6 145

 MR. BIGGAR  asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If his attention has been called to the case of James Biggar, disposed of at the last County of Antrim Assizes, held in Belfast; is it true that Biggar received wounds that caused him to be detained for some weeks in the Belfast Royal Hospital; was a man named James Caruth arrested, charged with inflicting the injuries on Biggar; were Biggar's dying declarations taken; was Caruth, at the instance of the police, sent for trial to the Assizes for causing the injury to Biggar; did the Attorney General for Ireland refuse to carry on the prosecution against Caruth; was Caruth's prosecution carried on by the police up till the Assizes, when the Attorney General directed them to abandon Biggar; what was the reason for giving up the prosecution against Caruth; did Mr. Justice Johnson permit Biggar to send a bill to the grand jury against Caruth; did the grand jury return a true bill, and was Caruth convicted and sentenced for the assault on Biggar; is it true that, in the same case, the Attorney General ordered an indictment to be preferred against Biggar, and if it is true that Caruth's charge against Biggar was a private prosecution, and why the 146 Attorney General took up that case, and abandoned the charge made by the police against Caruth for assaulting Biggar; is it true that Caruth got Biggar prosecuted at the expense of the Crown, and that Biggar had to bear the expense of prosecuting Caruth; will the Government pay Biggar's expenses in taking up the case and successfully pro-secuting Caruth, and will he direct such expenses to be paid; will the Government lay upon the Table all letters and telegrams addressed to the Attorney General in this case; and, did the Attorney Genera], when Biggar had gone to the expense of instructing counsel to prosecute the bill found by the grand jury against Caruth, assume the prosecution, and prevented Biggar's counsel from interfering, and by what authority the Attorney General so acted?


The two men Biggar and Caruth quarreled when under the influence of drink. Both sustained injuries. There was no dying declaration, for neither died. Biggar, who appeared to be most to blame, was prosecuted at the Assizes and convicted. Subsequently Biggar— as he was entitled—sent up a bill against Caruth for assault; and, it has appeared on Biggar's trial that Caruth was also to blame, the Crown counsel, by direction of the Attorney General, without any objection being made, took up the prosecution in this case also. Caruth was convicted. Both men were fined. No application has been made by Biggar with regard to his expenses in the case, but if made it will be considered. It is not necessary to lay any Papers on the Table.

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