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The Belfast Newsletter 28 Mar 1828


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The Belfast Newsletter 28 Mar 1828

Transcribed & Submitted by
Linda Wines
Extracted from
The Belfast Newsletter 28 Mar 1828




TYRONE ASSIZES - March 17


Grand Jury
John Corry Moutray, Esq., foreman; Sir Hugh Stewart, Bart. John Dixon Eccles, and William Verner, Esqrs. Hon. A. G. Stewart, Sir R. Ferguson, Bart. Sir James M. Stronge, Bart. Arthur Cole Hamilton, Wm. L. Conyngham, W. D'Arcy Irvine, Jas. B. Richardson, Sam. Vesey, Hugh Montgomery, Jones Crawford, James Sinclair, George Lendrum, Samuel Galbraith, Wm. S. Richardson, Alexander M'Causland, Alex. Campbell, Hugh Lyle, Hugh G. Edwards, Esqrs. Sir J. J. Burgoyne, Bart. Mervyn Steward, Esq. Sheriff.

The following report of a recent trial and Omagh Assizes has been sent to us for publication, by a respectable correspondent:
Arthur Napear Molesworth stood indicted for having, on the 2d Nov. last, near Moy, in the county of Tyrone, stabbed Richard Cullen with a sharp instrument, with intent to kill him.

Richd. Cullen sworn, examined by Mr. Dougharty -- Recollects the night of the 2d of Nov. last; was in Moy fair; met with two boys on the road; went with them up to Mr Molesworth's hall door; the boys told him they wanted to see one of the servant girls; the witness knocked at the hall door, after which, he and the other two boys ran round the house; went into a garden; does not know whether it is prisoner's garden or not; a shot was fired at them; saw prisoner; did not see anything in his hand; the shot was fired by the man that stabbed him; he was not hurt by the shot; prisoner hit him on the head; does not know with what; he was tumbled into the ditch; the ditch was about 5 yards from him; he conceives it was the prisoner that stabbed him; he received the wound in the left side; the person who stabbed him did not say any thing; did not see the weapon that stabbed him; identifies prisoner as being the person who inflicted the wound; prisoner and another person took him out of the ditch and brought him to the police barracks; has not recovered from his wound as yet; was confined for a length of time.

Cross-ex. By Mr. Rolleston -- Lives by his spade and by his honest industry; was in goal, charged with stealing a petticoat in the county Armagh; is not sure but he was sent to goal for stealing linen; he was charged with it but was not guilty; was accused of stealing the Turnkey's stockings while confined in goal; was also charged with stealing fowl; was charged with stealing hemp from Mr. King; was in the police-office for stealing yarn; the shoes on his feet were bestowed to him by Mr. Evans to come forward to prosecute; Mr. Evans did bid him prosecute; did afterwards swear informations before him; it was at 8 o'clock at night, on the 2d Nov. last he went to the house of Mr. Molesworth; it was the two boys that brought him to it; does not know any of the boys; if he was not tipsy he would not have went with them; knocked at the hall door loudly; the girl opened it; does not know what answer he got; did not say anything to the girl; did not attempt to force into the house when the door was opened; fell into the ditch from the fright of the shot; never caught Mr. Molesworth by the neck; never had any struggle with him; knows Capt. Wilford; he came up, took him out of the ditch; the two boys went away; he was taken to the police-office.

By the Court -- After knocking at the door, one of the boys took him round the house to see one of the girls; thinks it was very foolish to go with boys he did not know, to a gentleman's house, at such an hour of the night; did not swear at first that it was Mr. Molesworth that stabbed him; did swear positively before he went to the Grand Jury-room, that Mr. Molesworth stabbed him.

John Wilford examined by Mr. Litton -- Remembers the night of the 2d Nov. last, Moy fair day; was in his house; the end of his house is about 48 yards from Mr. Molesworth's stables; heard a shot about nine o'clock at night; went out to his yard; heard the rustling of a woman's clothes, as if coming up to him; it was Mrs. Molesworth; (here the witness went to state that Mrs. Molesworth said to him on coming up, but as it was not in the hearing of the prisoner and prosecutor, it would not be admitted in evidence,) he, witness, then ran up to Mr. Molesworth, who said he was glad to see him, and asked him to help him to take Cullen out of the ditch; he did assist him; he knew Cullen before; when he got out of the ditch he was bleeding on the head; when in the police-office, Cullen pulled out his shirt; there were marks of blood on it; Mr. Molesworth stated that he found Cullen breaking open his carpenter's shop, and that on that he struck him on the head; Mr. Molesworth said, when Cullen had him by the collar, and had nearly strangled him, that he then gave it to him.

Cross-ex. By Mr. Rolleston - Knows Mr. Molesworth is a man of property; has a carriage and horses; saw him in the ditch with Cullen; Mr. Molesworth told him in presence of Cullen, that he found him forcing open his carpenter's shop; Cullen did not deny it; Mr. Molesworth also stated in presence of Cullen, that he (Cullen) had nearly strangled him, and that was the reason why he gave it him; Cullen did not deny any thing that he was charged with by Mr. Molesworth.

Edward Crane, Police Constable, examined by Mr. Dougherty - Knows Richd. Cullen; saw him in the police barracks; did not see Mr. Molesworth in the house; he brought Cullen to him as a prisoner, to be taken before a Magistrate next morning; he had a dagger in his hand; put it up to Cullen and said, if he had not had the wit to run, he would have put it through him; also said, he broke a pistol on his head because he found him breaking his door; Cullen did not deny it.

Surgeon Hunter examined by Mr. Litton -- Was called upon to attend a man named Cullen; found a cut on his head very slight; did not think it necessary to do any thing to it, and a wound in the abdomen, inflicted by a sharp instrument; he attended him for 15 days; he was perfectly cured.

Cross-ex. By Mr. Smyley - Knows Cullen's general character; he would not believe him on his oath; heard Cullen say, that he well deserved all he got. Here the prosecution closed.

The Judge then said, that he conceived it his duty to stop here, as there was not any foundation to support the prosecution, but that in justice to the prisoner, and his servant maid, he would allow her to be produced, to enable her to show that Mr. Molesworth did not harbor such persons in his house, as were likely to have connection with such persons as the prosecutor.

In this case Mary McNiece was then produced and examined by Mr. Smyley. Recollects the night of the 2nd of November last; a knock was given at Mr. Molesworth's hall-door, she opened it, Cullen was at the door, he enquired for Mrs. Molesworth and the children, she told him it was time he was at home, in attempting to shut the door Cullen strove to force it open, gave another knock at the door, did not know the man before.

Cross-examined by Mr. Dougherty. -- Did not see any arms that night, heard no shot fired.

Judge Torrens then gave the following charge to the Jury: I should have stopped this case long since, seeing that it had no foundation either in law or justice, but that it was the wish of the Counsel for the defence, a wish in which I concur, that Mr. Molesworth should have the opportunity of retiring from this Court, not only acquitted, but with his character unpolluted with either spot or blemish. Gentlemen - had the prosecutor received the wounds as stated by him without provocation, and had died in consequence, then the crime would have amounted to murder - But, Gentlemen, as that is not the case, for it is too absurd to suppose that a dead man could come forward to prosecute, I am bound to tell you that in point of law, the indictment must fall to the ground. - Gentlemen, we must now look to the evidence. It has been proved that the prosecutor, under a false pretence, endeavoured to force into Mr. Molesworth's house, at an unreasonable hour of the night, in the month of Nov. last, and by his own admission, that he and another man proceeded to the yard at the back of the house, when, after endeavouring to break open a door, he received a wound from Mr. Molesworth, who was very properly endeavouring to take him prisoner; and I conceive Mr. M. was perfectly justified in inflicting that wound, which although not proved, his Counsel have very properly not denied having been inflicted by him. Gentlemen, on looking over the informations, I find that the prosecutor Cullen then swore, that at the time the wound was inflicted he did not know the person, but that from what he had since heard, he understood he was wounded by Mr. Molesworth. Yet you, gentlemen, find this fellow here to-day, swearing that he knew from the firs that he was wounded by Mr. Molesworth. - Gentlemen, according to the happy laws of this country, every man's house is his castle, and I leave it to you to say, with whom the blame should rest - whether it is with the quiet occupier of that house, or with the nightly disturber who endeavours to break in on his repose.
Gentlemen, this prosecution appears to me to be vindictive, and that there has been some person at the bottom of this, whom I am very sorry to say is unknown to me, being brought forward more to gratify private pique, than to accomplish the ends of justice; for, instead of standing there to be prosecuted, he should have been in another place, prosecuting the person, who it seems has been brought forward to prosecute him; for it would have been more the duty of the magistrates of the county to have looked for the other two men, to have them brought to justice, than that the prisoner at the bar should be standing there to be prosecuted. But, gentlemen, the conduct of Mr. Molesworth in this transaction has been such as to entitle him, instead of being put as a criminal at that bar, to be considered as the defender of his own rights, and the asserter of your privileges. He has done nothing but what you and every one would be called upon to do in a similar case - repel the midnight plunderer.
You must be convinced that the prosecutor Cullen could have gone there with no other intention; for the account he has himself given is inconsistent and absurd. Gentlemen, it is my duty to tell you, that you are, both in point of law and from the evidence, bound to acquit the prisoner at the bar.

The Jury immediately returned a verdict of not guilty, Upon which the Judge addressed himself to Mr. Molesworth in nearly the following words: -- Mr. Molesworth, you are now about to retire from that bar, with your character unspotted or blemished; being honorably acquitted of the crime laid to your charge, you should forget that you ever stood there. In the eyes of your friends your character should even be raised, as you have shown that you have spirit to resist so outrageous an aggression of the law.



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