Law Library ‘Boy’ Sues for Damaged Bicycle, 1910

From the Irish Independent, 28 July 1910:

“In the action brought by Patrick Geraghty to recover £10 damages from John S Russell for injuries to his bicycle caused, as alleged, by the defendant’s motor car, the Recorder, at the City Sessions yesterday, said that the evidence was so conflicting that he would direct the case to be tried by a jury in October next.

Mr Louis Kelly BL who appeared for the plaintiff, said the defendant was a well-known sportsman, while the plaintiff had supplied his lordship with much of his legal lore – he was an attendant in the Law Library.

The plaintiff deposed that on the 10th April, between 8 and 8.30 p.m. he was riding from Camden Street to South Richmond Street, and at Kelly’s corner a tram from Rathmines came round.  Witness was near the tram, and when it passed a motor car came towards him.  The motor car went over his back wheel and knocked him down.  He took the number of the car, IK 567, which he found was Mr Russell’s.

Thomas Alford, a telegraph boy, and John McHugh, who was cycling with Geraghty, also deposed that the number of the car was IK 567.

For the defence, Henry O’Neill, (chauffeur to Mr Russell) stated on the evening of the 10th April he was driving Mr and Mrs Russell and another lady to dinner at the Guard Room of Dublin Castle.  He left them there about 8.05 p.m.  He went back to Raglan Road, where Mr Russell lived via Dame St, Grafton St, Stephen’s Green and Baggot St.  He had no person in his car.  He changed his chauffeur’s outfit, and went to meet a friend of his, and went for a walk.  He was not near Camden Street that night.

Mr Russell, the defendant, gave evidence as to going to dinner at the Castle on this Sunday evening.  They arrived at the Castle about 8.05.  His man came for him about 10.30.

His Lordship said the evidence was the most conflicting and extraordinary he had ever heard and it was safer to have it tried by a jury.”

The Belfast News-Letter’s report of the case from the same day describes Mr Geraghty as a Law Library ‘boy.’ Did the Edwardian Law Library, like the Telegraph Office, employ a network of fast-running teenagers to fetch and deliver? The career of a telegraph boy was over by their late teens. Was this also the case for Law Library boys or was there the possibility of career progression?

Dame Street is one way to get to Dublin Castle from Raglan Road but so is Bride Street by way of Camden Street. Mr Geraghty was cycling away from town so a car coming towards him would have been travelling in the direction of the Castle.

8.05 p.m. would be a late arrival for an official Dublin Castle dinner.

‘Sportsman’ sounds very Gatsbyesque! I wonder were the Russells behind time and in a hurry?

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

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

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