Trial of Robert Donnelly, the Accused.


A Case Wherein Killing is No Murder.


[T]he case resolved itself in the minds of the jury to purely a question of veracity. One side must have stated what was not true. At the close of the evidence Mr. D. Glass, Q. C., acting for the accused, addressed the jury at length, being followed by Mr. C. Hutchinson for the Crown. His Lordship then charged, and at the close of his address it was 11:20 p.m. Saturday. The jury retired, and a few minutes before midnight returned with a verdict of shooting with intent to kill.

In order to render plain what follows to the ordinary reader, a little explanation is necessary. Donnelly had been arraigned on an indictment which specified four distinct counts, as follows:

  1. That he did not, etc., shoot with intent to kill and murder.
  2. That he did shoot with intent to maim.
  3. That he did shoot with intent to disable.
  4. That he did shoot with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

His Lordship was recording the verdict on the indictment, and he said, You find the prisoner guilty in the first count which specifies that he shot with intent to ki[ll] and murder.

Thereupon Mr. S. H. Craig one of the jurymen, arose and said there was a mistake - the jury only found Donnelly guilty of shooting with intent to kill - murder has not been mentioned.

His Lordship endeavored to explain to the jury the wording of the indictment, but they would not consent to the word " murder" being used.

Mr. Hutchinson said he was quite willing to take a verdict of guilty on any of the counts in the indictment.

His Lordship - Well; if the jury find that the prisoner shot with intent to kill, they should have no difficulty in agreeing that he shot with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Thereupon the jury conferred, and at length announced that they had agreed on this point, and would render a verdict of guilty in the fourth count of the indictment.

Mr. Justice Wilson was recording it as the clock struck twelve, and as he finished, Mr. Glass said: I wish your Lordship to note that the verdict was rendered after 12 o'clock.

His Lordship - Well, if you wish the jury locked up over Sunday, I must order it to be done.

Mr. Glass - I don't wish that; I will withdraw my objection.

His Lordship - I don't know that I have the power to do so. I can't allow such a circumstance to be taken advantage of by the prisoner afterwards.

Mr. Glass - Oh, the prisoner will not take advantage of it.

His Lordship - I'm not sure about that. Turning to the Sheriff he said - Mr. Sheriff, can you tell me what time it is?

Sheriff Glass - It is about three minutes after twelve, my Lord.

His Lordship - Then I will leave the jury in your hands till nine o'clock Monday morning. Keep them together, and if they desire to go to church you can detail a constable to attend them. Give them all reasonable comforts.

The jury were then turned over to the High Constable, who provided for them at the City Hotel.

All during the trial the prisoner maintained a cool and easy demeanor, turning his eyes to the different parts to the courtroom, as as if looking for some one and not caring in the least whether or not he found him. While the scene given above was enacted he frequently broke out in a broad smile, as though it were an excellent piece of fooling gotten up especially for his entertainment.

Source: Unknown, "The Lucan Shooting: Trial of Robert Donnelly The Accused," London Advertiser, April 1, 1877.

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