Trial of O'Connell

Justin McCarthy
Chapter XI | Start of Chapter

O'Connell's power probably reached its zenith when he was put upon his trial in 1843, along with Duffy and other leading Irishmen, on a charge of conspiracy and sedition. The charge was mainly founded on public speeches made by O'Connell and others. In February, 1844, after a long legal process, he was convicted and sentenced to fine and imprisonment. The manner, however, in which the Crown prosecutors Dublin had arranged for a jury certain to convict the accused, the process familiarly known as "jury packing," was made the occasion of an appeal which came before the House of Lords in the following September, and the judgment of the Criminal Court was reversed by a majority of the Law Lords. On this occasion Lord Denman declared that the course taken by the Crown prosecutors in forming the jury was one calculated to make the criminal law of the country "a mockery, a delusion, and a snare."