Barrister Kills Solicitor, Becomes Attorney-General, 1814

Regrettable personal differences often arise between Irish barristers and solicitors. Fortunately, not all end as tragically as this dispute reported in the London Courier & Evening Gazette of 19 February 1814:-

“On Saturday evening… a meeting took place on the Strand in Sandymount, between [recently qualified barrister] Counsellor Hatchell and Mr Morley… an eminent attorney. Mr Morley fired first without effect, when his fire was returned by Mr H, and… the ball hit Mr M… took a direction through the kidneys, and killed him instantly…. in the hall of the Four Courts, Mr M addressed himself to Mr H, requiring him to acknowledge that a trial… in which both parties were professionally concerned, “was a falsehood.” Mr H would not comply with the requisition… Mr M immediately struck the barrister, and a challenge ensued… Mr H will surrender to abide his trial…”

It is somewhat shocking to discover that Mr Hatchell BL not only avoided trial, but went on to become Attorney-General. He even merited a mention in that intriguingly-titled publication ‘Voice of the Bar No 1: the Reign of Mediocrity’ (1850), which says of him: “who could quarrel with that jolly, good-natured personage?”

Who indeed? Or, as the ghost of poor expiring Mr Morley might gasp, who would dare to?

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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