The acquittal of James Carroll of the charge of his participation in the murder of the Donnellys, comes to us in the course of proceedings which, so far as we can judge from the reports, is a reasonable interpretation of the evidence. The verdict is that of a jury selected from different parts of the country and composed mainly of men within operation of the attempts made to involve the prisoner's case in prejudices of race and creed; and, coming though it does after a previous verdict in which the jury was unable to agree, is entitled to universal acceptance. Speaking from the stage which the matter has reached now, we suggest to Mr. Mowat that, while James Carroll is subject in legal theory to prosecution for the death of each of the other persons who were murdered on that horrible night at Donnelly's, his acquittal in the one case ought to be held good in fact as an acquittal on all the others. The wrong put upon him - and the verdict has declared it in effect to be wrong - by a long imprisonment, entitles him to sympathy at the hands of the Attorney-General. It is certainly good as ground for Mr. Mowat's reconsideration of the formulary which has set Mr. Carroll free on bail - a formulary which is idle so far as it rests on the delivery of his person for future trial; but which is, on the other hand, a cruelty in so far as it has given him his liberty under a brand of murder.

Johnny O'Connor's evidence had been declared by one jury to be questionable and by another jury to be inadmissible, in the case of James Carroll. Whether owing to the boy's excitement at the time of the terrible scenes he speaks of, or to any other cause good for these conclusions by two successive juries, that evidence comes before the Attorney-General declared insufficient for holding all those who have been arrested on it to answer for the murders. Indeed it went more directly and positively to the man who has been acquitted than to any of the others. The sympathy in which the Attorney-General ought to regard those people because of a long imprisonment which must now be accepted officially as a wrong, will, we trust, lead that honorable and conscientious man to consider very seriously whether he is not guilty of a wanton and grievous cruelty in consenting to subject the freedom they obtain because of the verdict of the jury in the case of Mr. Carroll, to an idle formulary of bail which places them under a wanton stigma of murder.

Source: Unknown, "An Unnecessary Hardship," Irish Canadian, February 10, 1881.

Return to parent page