Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/80

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JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY.

Head Constable Talbot on that point, and they should attentively weigh it. Assuming that it was intended, and that the prisoner was aware of it and an accomplice in the design, they had then no less than eight witnesses to prove that complicity. The Deputy Judge Advocate then went minutely through the whole evidence, which he recapitulated in a lucid manner, pointing out to the court where it was favorable for the prisoner or bore against him.

The Judge Advocate concluded by saying: "Now, on a calm and fair review of the evidence, determining in favor of the prisoner every, thing of which there was reasonable doubt, straining nothing against him, is the court satisfied that the facts are inconsistent with any other conclusion than the prisoner's guilt? Is the court satisfied that the Fenians intended mutiny as one of the essentials of that plot?

"Are they satisfied that the prisoner knew of that intention? If you are not satisfied that the evidence adduced for the prosecution has brought home to the prisoner the charges on which he is indicted; if you can fairly and honestly see your way to put an innocent construction on the prisoner's acts, it is your duty to do so.

"But, on the other hand, if the court has no rational doubt of the prisoner's guilt, then it is bound, without favor, partiality, or affection, to find their verdict accordingly. Remember, though, that although you may feel very great suspicion of the prisoner's guilt, yet if you are not satisfied that the charge is proved home to him beyond rational doubt, no amount of suspicion will justify conviction. Apply to your consideration of the evidence, the same calm, deliberate, and faithful attention and judgment which you would apply to your own most serious affairs, if all you value most and hold most dear, your lives and honor, were in peril. The law demands no more, and your duty will be satisfied with no less."

At the conclusion of the Judge Advocate's address, the court was made private, to consider their finding. After a short time it was reopened, and

Adjutant Russell, Tenth Hussars, was called to give testimony to the prisoner's character. He said that it had been good during his three years and thirty-one days of service.

The court was then again cleared and the result was not known until officially promulgated by the Horse Guards.

On July 9, 1866, formal sentence of death was passed upon all the military prisoners. It was only a formality. The same day, it was commuted to life imprisonment in the cases of O'Reilly, McCarthy, Chambers, Keating, and Darragh. The sentence of O'Reilly was subsequently commuted to twenty years penal servitude.

Adjutant Russell, referred to in the preceding report, better known as Lord Odo Russell, had pleaded successfully