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  • Monaghan Assizes March 1837

Monaghan Assizes March 1837

Transcribed by Jane from The Northern Whig Thursday, March 30, 1837

Monaghan Assizes Tuesday, March 21.

Atrocious Conspiracy

Patrick CONNOLLY and Anne WARD were indicted for a conspiracy to charge rape against Mr. Alexander MITCHELL, alleging it to have been committed on the person of the said Anne WARD; also, for conspiracy to charge Mr. MITCHELL with committing a rape on the person of Margaret MARTIN.

Mr. HOLMES addressed the jury, on the part of the prosecution. Mr. MITCHELL was, he said, a respectable agent of the Shirley estate, and Magistrate of this County. In the execution of his duty as Magistrate, he attended the Petty Sessions at Carrickmacross, in the month of August, and, on the close of the business, went to take a ride, leaving the other two Magistrates, Mr. REID and Mr. DANIELL, behind him. On his return, he found the two Magistrates had not left the town, and, on meeting with them, they stated that two women had made very serious charge against him. They had followed them to Mr. EVATT’s, and informed them, that Mr. MITCHELL had committed a rape on one of them, in his own office, at Carrickmacross, about three weeks before, and on the other the day before. On hearing this, Mr. MITCHELL immediately demanded an investigation; and the women were sworn to the facts, before the other two Magistrates.

Mr. MITCHELL then expressed his wish, that the two women should attend at the ensuing Petty Sessions that the matter might be properly investigated. They, of course, got notice to attend, and, about 1 or 2 o’clock, on the day of the Sessions, Mr. MITCHELL left the bench, for the purpose of having the case fully investigated. Neither of the women, however, up to that time, made their appearance, although repeatedly called; and Mr. MITCHELL then stated that it was his determination to prosecute them, as they had made such a serious charge against him. He applied to the other Magistrates and tendered informations against the women; and, as he had, in the mean time, found out that the man CONNOLLY was the original author of the the entire, he also preferred informations against him at the same time.

CONNOLLY had formerly, it appeared, been an Irish schoolmaster, on the estate of which Mr. MITCHELL was agent; and it appeared, further, that he had a quarrel with some of his own family, in which Mr. MITCHELL took a part which he conceived to his disadvantage. This was the only cause of the hostility of CONNOLLY; at least, it was the only one which Mr. MITCHELL could conjecture. This foul charge, he said, on this highly respectable gentleman, would appear to be a conspiracy, on account of the non-appearance of the women at the Petty Sessions; and it would also be proved, that Mr. MITCHELL was entirely unacquainted with one of them, whom he had never seen in his life. His Lordship would tell them, that a conspiracy was a high crime and misdemeanour, and that the law provided adequate punishment for a crime of such magnitude. Now, this would be proved to be a most foul conspiracy and it would be their duty to investigate the evidence to the fullest extent, so that justice might be done to his client. CONNOLLY was not present at the time of the alleged rape; but it would be proved, to their satisfaction, that the conspiracy had been entered into between them. The other woman had become an approver, and it was his duty to tell them that her testimony must be supported by other evidence. – This, he was instructed, would be the case, he thought, completely to their satisfaction. They would, of course, weigh carefully all that would be laid before them, and they would, he was sure, give such a verdict as the evidence warranted.

Margaret MARTIN (approver) examined by Mr. TOME – Her husband’s name is Peter MARTIN; knows prisoners; identifies them; remembers having some conversation with Pat. CONNOLLY, shortly after last Lammas; he told witness to meet him in a house in Carrickmacross; witness went to the house, and saw prisoners, CONNOLLY and WARD, there; CONNOLLY told witness to go and watch Mr. MITCHELL, and swear a rape against him.; did not see Mr. MITCHELL that day; CONNOLLY watched Mr. MITCHELL, and told witness he saw Mr. M., about five o’clock, going into his own yard; witness and prisoners came into Carrickmacross the next day; Mr. MITCHELL was not at home; CONNOLLY told witness and Anne WARD to follow Mr. DANIELL, the Magistrate, and tell him their story; went to Mr. EVATT’s office, and saw Mr. REED there; told the Magistrates the story that CONNOLLY desired witness to tell; told them that Mr. MITCHELL had misused her in one of his own stables; Anne WARD said that CONNOLLY and she went one morning to Carrickmacross, early, and watched until they saw Mr. MITCHELL’s clerk, Mr. SMITH. going out of Mr. MITCHELL’s office to his breakfast, and CONNOLLY then said, he would go and get somebody to meet Anne WARD, after she came out of the office , and that she, Anne WARD, was to tell this person that Mr. MITCHELL had misused her in the office; saw CONNOLLY between that day and the next Petit Sessions day; witness stopped in CONNOLLY’s sister’s; CONNOLLY was standing at Doctor Half-penny’s door, when he sent witness and Anne WARD to Mr. EVATT’s; witness told CONNOLLY, that the affair was to be publicly tried on the next Sessions day; witness, and Anne WARD, and CONNOLLY, came into town the day of the Petit Sessions; they all slept together the night before; doesn’t know the house where they slept; witness and Anne WARD went to the Court; CONNOLLY wrote something, and gave it to witness, to give to the Magistrates; witness gave it to them; witness was taken into custody; swears that Mr. MITCHELL never spoke to her but in the office, on the day mentioned; swears that Mr. MITCHELL never so much as touched her.

Mr. NAPIER addressed the Jury on behalf of CONNOLLY; and several witnesses were examined, who gave him a good character.

His Lordship then charged the Jury, who immediately returned a verdict of guilty; sentence not passed; but his Lordship bid them be prepared for a very severe one.

On Thursday evening, the Learned Judge ordered the prisoners to be placed at the bar, and then addressed them to the following effect: – “Patrick CONNOLLY and Anne WARD, you have been justly convicted of a most flagrant crime. A Jury of your countrymen have found you guilty of a heinous conspiracy against a highly respectable gentleman. – You, Patrick CONNOLLY, urged on by your malicious hatred to Mr. Alexander MITCHELL, have been shewn, by the clearest evidence, to have conspired to deprive the object of your malignity, not only of his character, but even of his life. Filling the situation of a teacher and guide of youth, you, under the garb of sanctified hypocrisy, took advantage of the peculiar opportunities afforded to you in your assumed character, and seduced two wretched women, with whom you lived in a state of criminal intercourse, to be the instruments by which you might put in execution your fiend-like designs, against a gentleman as unoffending and humane as you are designing and wicked. My only regret is, that the crime for which you have been convicted – a conspiracy – does not enable me, as I would desire, to banish you from the country to which you are a disgrace. The sentence of the Court is, that you, each of you, be imprisoned in the County jail for two years; and that you, Patrick CONNOLLY, be further confined until such time as you shall give security, yourself in £50, and two securities in £30 each, to keep the peace for seven years, to his Majesty’s subjects in general, and to Alexander MITCHELL, Esq., in particular.

Alexander GIBSON, for having, on the 5th September, committed robbery in the house of Edward CAMPBELL, of Monaghan. Guilty; seven years’ transportation.

George SHAVELIN was charged with assaulting James CHRISDALE, and robbing him of £3, and upwards. Not guilty.

Joseph HARRIS was indicted for uttering base coin. Guilty of coining; seven years’ transportation.

Bernard M’CLUSKY, for a burglary in the house of Hugh KIERAN, and stealing a game cock. Not guilty.

James HILLOCK was indicted for the murder of — KEENAN. Guilty of manslaughter.

Mary TUITE, for deserting an infant child. Not guilty.

Wednesday, March 22

Thomas WIGGINS and Wm. LESLIE, for an assault upon Pat. M’NAGHTEN, at Ballibay, on the 19th June, by shooting at him with a loaded pistol. Acquitted.

Edward M’DANIEL and John FINEGAN were indicted for the wilful murder of James DOWDALL, on the 26th November, 1835, by giving him several kicks upon his body. M’DANIEL was also indicted as an accessory before the fact. Not guilty.

Thomas LEONARD, for attempting to commit a rape, on the person of Catherine M’CLELLAND, a child of five years of age, on the 17th June; also for an assault. Not guilty.

William PATTERSON, for the murder of John CORRIGAN, in May, 1835, at Roslea, by giving him sundry mortal wounds. Not guilty.

Thomas KELLY, for breaking into the dwelling-house of Owen CARRAGHER, in Sept. 1834. Not guilty.

Patrick CONNOLLY, for the murder of his wife, Catherine CONNOLLY, at Derryville, on the 10th Feb., by giving her a mortal blow with a hatchet. Acquitted, on account of being insane. He was ordered to be taken back to jail.

Mary WALSH, for deserting a child, at Donamines, on the 12th Aug., to the danger of its perishing. Not guilty.

James M’GURK, for assembling, with others, on the 20th Feb., at Clontibret; and for assaulting the dwelling-house of Charles MAGUIRE, and others; also, for a riot. Guilty of the minor offence.

Bridget M’KEARNEY, presented as a vagrant. This was the second time the prisoner had been presented by the Grand Jury. Guilty.

Patrick CLARK, for a robbery in the house of Samuel WATSON. Guilty.

Thursday, March 23.

John HALL, for stealing a cart, in July last, at Ramullan, the property of John MALONE. Not guilty.

Thomas WHEATCROFT, for assaulting and ravishing Mary BALLAGH, at Mullens, on the 24th April. No prosecution.

Joseph WIGGINS, for maliciously assaulting the house of James MAGUIRE, at Aughnamullan, on the 15th January; also, for a riot. Not guilty.

Henry M’LARNEY and Patrick M’LARNEY, for assaulting Henry CARSON, on the 6th Aug., at Clontibret. To remain over for the Quarter Sessions.

Henry CARSON, for maliciously assaulting Patrick M’LARNEY at the same time and place. Not guilty. Henry MOONEY and Hugh M’ANENY, for assaulting the house of John CRAWFORD, on the 12th Feb., and taking a quantity of silver coin; also, for a riot. Trial postponed, as ten persons were charged, but only two amenable.

Patrick M’ADAM, Rose LOUGHRAN, and Margaret CASSIDY, for stealing out of a dwelling-house. No prosecution.  Recognizances of prosecutor entreated.

John GORMAN, for a rape on the person of Alice M’ILRUE. No prosecution. Recognizances entreated. Sir T. STAPLES stated that this was a very aggravated case; it was a crime perpetrated by two persons.

Christopher COLEMAN and James M’MAHON, for assaulting the house of George ANDERSON, on the 4th Aug., at Magheracloon; also, for a riot and assault. Not guilty.

Samuel LESLIE and James LESLIE, for the murder of Andrew SHORT, on the 26th December, at Aughaboy, by giving him wounds, of which he died on the first January following. — Samuel, guilty of manslaughter; James not guilty; — recommended to mercy.

Peter FEIGHAN, for an attack on the house of Henry HANLON on the 25th December, 1836, near Carrickmacross. Not guilty.

James M’GURK and John BEGAN, for assaulting and injuring the dwelling-house of Edward M’CABE, on the 22d November, at Callagh; and for a riot; also, for attacking the house of Michael WOODS, at Aughaboy, on same night. BEGAN not guilty — M’GURK guilty.

Robert LEATHAM, for maliciously breaking down a mill-dam, or mill-race, on the 16th September, the property of Mrs. OLIVER, of Aughnamullan. Not guilty.

Patrick MACKLIN and John M’ALEER, for demolishing a house, the property of Lord Rossmore. Acquitted.

Bernard M’ALEARNEY, for assembling, with others, unlawfully, on the 14th February, at Augher, and assaulting the dwelling-house of Hugh M’VEY. Trial postponed till next Assizes.

Robert BRADFORD, Robert MOORHEAD, William M’DONALD, and Edward M’KINLEY, were indicted for an unlawful assembly and procession, at Newbliss, on the 12th July, Not guilty.

Sentences. — Pat. CLARK, robbery, 7 years’ transportation; Wm. HOY, larceny, 7 years’ do., but, if he would get a good character, it would be changed to imprisonment; Christopher COLEMAN, riot, one month’s imprisonment, and to give bail to keep the peace; Samuel LESLIE, manslaughter, 6 months’ imprisonment from the time of committal; James M’GURK, assaulting a house, 12 months’ imprisonment at hard labour; James HILLOCK, homicide, 1 months imprisonment from committal; another James M’GURK, assaulting a house, 6 months’ imprisonment at hard labour, and to give security to keep the peace; Pat. CONNOLLY and Anne WARD, conspiracy, 2 years’ confinement — CONNOLLY to find bail before he is discharged; Bridget M’KEARNEY, vagrant, transported, if not to find bail in 3 months.