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Special Sessions
Contributed by Mary Heaphy


29-12-1815
Cashel Dec. 11th
Adjourned Special sessions.
Michael Maher was charged as an idle disorderly person, with having
concealed arms on the 10th Dec.
James Keating, corporal in the Wexford Militia, swore, that on that night,
he attended Colonel Pennefather on a search for arms, to the house of the
prisoner, that the Colonel demanded arms, as a magistrate once, and they
were denied-a second time, and they were denied-and, on the third demand,
the prisoner said he had a kind of arms, and the Colonel should have them,
he then put his hand into the thatch outside the house, and pulled down a
gun barrell, and came from the place. Colonel Pennefather desired witness to
search further, and on his saying he was sure there were more where that
was, the prisoner returned to the spot, and handed down a second gun
barrell, Colonel Pennefather then desired prisoner to deliver up the
bell-muzzled gun, cut short, which he had, and prisoner replied, that he had
lent it to William Ryan, on the Dublin road, the barrels were in good firing
order. On Colonel Pennefather asking for the locks, the prisoner said he had
given them to be repaired to an armourer, and he had not got them back.
Lieut Colonel Pennefather was examined, and swore that he went, as the last
witness had described, to the prisoners house, and corroberated Keatings
testimony, with this addition, that he had repeatedly warned Maher of the
consequences of denial, if arms should afterwards be found. When the
prisoner had given him the first barrel, he drew off from the place, and it
was not till after Col. Pennefather ordered another search, and the corporal
said he was sure there were more arms there, that the prisoner gave the
second barrel. Col. Pennefather asked for the stocks and locks , to which
the prisoner said he had been out shooting  ducks, and the stock was broke,
the lock, he said, had been given to be repaired, and when Col. Pennefather
asked him for the second stock, he said he never had  but one. To the
question of what use was the second barrel, he said he thought one was too
short and he intended to solder them together. Col. Pennefather gave Maher a
good character. This is the first case, under the insurrection act, upon
which there was any shade of difference of opinion. The greater majority
were for finding him guilty of concealment, and two only for his acquittal,
he was convicted accordingly. But in consequence of the quickness with which
it appeared he had given up the arms, the Learned Serjeant, in pronouncing
sentence, apprised the man that the bench had determined to make such
representation of his case, as should render him the object of Royal
clemency, and that he might make himself assured of his pardon.
Michael Cashin, a strange labourer, charged with being idle and disorderly,
was acquitted.