Sligo Jury Turns Water into Whiskey, 1860

From the Belfast News-Letter, 17 March 1860: “A DISTRESSED JURY While the jury empanelled to try the case of Michael Lynot, charged with committing an aggravated assault on Pat Sexton, were locked up considering their verdict, Judge Hayes came into court on Monday night, at ten o’clock, to ascertain whether they had agreed.  The jury…

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State Trial Implodes as Attorney General Challenges Opposing Counsel to Duel, 1844

From the Sun (London), 1 February 1844: “The Irish State trials were resumed on Tuesday, when Mr Fitzgibbon QC, appearing for Mr Gray, said that the doctrine of conspiracy, as laid down by the Attorney-General, was that it was a combination of two or more persons to do an illegal act, or do a lawful…

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To Catch a Thief, 1892

From the Belfast News-Letter, 3 November 1892: “JUDGE CAPTURES THIEF Judge Boyd distinguished himself by catching a young thief in flagrante delicto. Passing through Kildare Street, his attention was attracted to some newsboys besetting a lady. One boy was on her right, and the other on her left hand. As the boy on her left…

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Mad Cow Escapade in Chancery Street, 1856

From the Freeman’s Journal, 19 July 1856: “Mad Cow – Serious Accident A young lad named Dominick Roynane was brought up in custody of Police Constable John Cartin 101D, charged with incautiously driving through the streets, without proper control, a wild and furious cow, to the great danger of the public. It appears from the…

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Mr Dunn BL in Love, 1836

From the Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail, 30 July 1836: “INVESTIGATION AT KINGSTOWN Yesterday an investigation was entered into by magistrates of the Blackrock petty sessions in Kingstown, relative to the alleged misconduct of Mr Richard Dunne (more commonly spelt Dunn), a barrister, residing at N.1 Clare Street, Dublin, against whom the Right Honourable Lord…

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The Cruel Master, 1778

A sad story tonight, from Saunders’ News-Letter, 30 January 1778, involving a murder and secret burial in the graveyard of St Michan’s Church next to the Law Library buildings at 158/9 Church Street. “Last week one of those chimney sweepers who employ a number of boys or children, adapted in their size to the narrowest…

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Malpractices of the Senior Bar, 1862

From the King’s County Chronicle, 5 March 1862, an impressive editorial diatribe against the then practice of Irish Queen’s Counsel accepting multiple briefs for the same day while asserting the right to retain all fees paid in advance, even where they failed, as a result, to appear in one or more of the case in…

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Swallowing the Evidence, 1839

From the Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent, September 1839: “EXTRAORDINARY CASE- SWALLOWING A WATCH A young gentleman, called Rathbane, charged Anne Lynch with having stolen his watch. Complainant said he was passing through Marlborough Street when he was followed by the prisoner, who snatched the watch out of his waistcoat pocket.  He seized her on the…

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Irish Free State Prosecuting Barrister Kidnapped, Tarred and Tied to Railings Outside Arbour Hill Prison, 1934

From the Irish Independent, 8 December 1934: “Mr PJ McEnery, the well-known Dublin barrister, who has appeared for the State in recent cases tried by the Military Tribunal, was the victim of a startling affair last night.  While on his way from the Courts to his home at Killiney, Dublin, he was kidnapped by armed…

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Visiting English Barrister Mistakes Free State Detectives for Gunmen, 1923

From the Belfast News-Letter, 11 December 1923: “SCENE IN DUBLIN HOTEL – LONDON BARRISTER THOUGHT DETECTIVES WERE GUNMEN Described as a barrister, Frederick Ritters, London, was in the Dublin police courts yesterday charged with obstructing two detectives in the execution of their duty. The two detectives were about to make an arrest in the dining…

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Something Wicker This Way Comes: Laughter in Court at Child Noise Nuisance Case, 1853

From the Evening Freeman, 18 April 1853: “CONSOLIDATED NISI PRIUS COURT – SATURDAY Mangan v Tuthill This was an appeal from a decree of St Sepulchre’s Court for £9. Counsel for Mr Tuthill stated that his client lived in No 6 Rathmines Road, and the appellant in No 5; that his client had been greatly…

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Mr Godley BL in Trouble Again, 1948

From the Belfast Telegraph, 4 June 1948: “John Godley, 87, was placed on probation for a year at Weston-Super-Mare today, on two charges of attempting to obtain money by false pretences. Superintendent Baker said since 1934 practically all Godley’s income had been derived from writing begging letters. ‘He made a business of it, keeping books…

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The Marrying Kind, or, Mr Godley and the Two Wives, December 1903

From the Belfast News-Letter, 4 December 1903: “At the Commission Court last evening, before Mr Justice Kenny, the jury found John Godley, Barrister-at-Law and Alice Lilian Pritchard, trading as Leigh, Moore & Co, 6 Westland Row, Dublin, guilty of obtaining money by false pretences by means of cheques.  They strongly recommended the female prisoner to mercy.…

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Mr Godley BL and the Bounced Cheque, October 1903

From the Northern Whig, Saturday 31 October 1903: “Yesterday in the Southern Police Court, before Mr Swifte, Mr John Godley, Barrister-at-Law, and Miss (or Mrs) Lilian Moore, otherwise Pritchard, otherwise Mrs L Moore, carrying on business at 6 Westland Row, appeared on remand to answer a summons to show cause why informations should not be…

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Wife of John Godley BL Catches Fire at Leeson Street Party, 1888

From the Waterford Standard, 18 February 1888: “An accident which might have had a fatal termination to a young lady well known in Dublin Society took place on Friday night at a ball given by Mr Molloy QC in Leeson-Street.  As one of the earliest dances of the evening was progressing, Mrs John Godley’s dress accidentally…

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Judicial Coach Hijacked by Helpful Ennis Local, 1902

From the Westminster Gazette, 10 April 1902: “The Ennis representative of the Freeman’s Journal tells a delightful story of young Ireland.  At Ennis the Assizes were held by Lord Chief Justice O’Brien and Mr Justice Johnson.  At the Courthouse door there drew up in the usual course the High Sheriff’s carriage to bring home the…

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The Law and the ‘Flu, 1918-22

The Spanish ‘flu arrived in Ireland in the summer of 1918, possibly in Belfast.   The Belfast News-Letter of 10 July 1918 reported the death of Bernard Hughes BL, a North-East Circuit barrister of eight years vintage, after a severe attack of influenza.   Mr Hughes, from a bakery family, was described as of a most genial…

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Beneath the East Wing: The Inns Quay Infirmary, 1728-89

The above image shows the site of the Four Courts as surveyed by John Roque in 1756, when it was still owned by the Benchers of the King’s Inns. You can see what is left of the old Priory/King’s Inns buildings on the far left. Much of the rest of the site has been built…

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Teenager Hoaxes Thirteen Belfast Solicitors, 1925

From the Weekly Telegraph, September 5, 1925: “Unlucky Thirteen – Belfast Solicitors Hoaxed An extraordinary hoax has been carried out on at least thirteen Belfast solicitors, as a result of which a person about whom the police are now enquiring, is believed to be richer to the extent of about £220. The ruse to obtain…

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