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Tyrone Assizes, Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland July 1836

Extracted from the Londonderry Journal, July 26 1836
Transcribed, compiled and submitted by Len Swindley, Melbourne, Australia



PETER QUIN, ROGER MAYN, and TIMOTHY NUGENT, were tried on Monday, and convicted of an aggravated assault on ROBERT HUNTER, when returning from the market of Omagh, on the 11th of June last. MESSRS. BUCHANAN, JOHN ORR and ANDREW ORR, gave the traversers an excellent character, especially Quin, who was the master of a National School near the town of Omagh. Several witnesses were produced to prove that Quin and Mayn could not have been present. They were found guilty, and the learned Judge concurred in the verdict, and sentenced the culprits to be imprisoned for twelve months.

JOHN McCLOSKEY, accused of a rape on ELIZABETH LOUGHRAN, near Castlecaulfield, was acquitted.

JOHN CARR was found guilty of having stolen the hat of the REV. BENJAMIN MARSHALL, at Dromore, on the 4th inst.

BERNARD McMENAMEN and EDWARD HARN were indicted for an aggravated assault on ROBERT MILLER, at Mountcastle, on the 4th May last.

GEORGE MILLER sworn and examined by MR. SMYLY – Is brother of Robert Miller; lives at Donagheady; recollects coming from Derry market on the 4th May; knows McCOLGAN’S public house at Mountcastle; went in there that day; there were a great many there, and among the rest the prisoner, McMenamen; was not in the same company as McMenamen; witness, his brother, and HUGH DIVINE and his wife were together; went to light his pipe at the kitchen fire when McMenamen, who was fighting, caught him, and said he could beat him; his brother then came out of the room where he was sitting; McMenamen seized him, knocked him down and kicked him; witness went to take the neckcloth off his brother, when he was knocked down himself; he then ran to a neighbouring house for assistance, but two men with sticks came out of McColgan’s and drove him away; he afterwards overtook his brother about a mile on the road; he was in a very bad state, and was covered with blood; had cuts also himself; assisted his brother to the next house, and got a car to take him home; he did not mind his own injuries, his brother’s were so great; he and his brother lost their hats. 

Cross-examined by MR. LYNDSEY – This occurred on the 4th May; never had a quarrel with McMenamen; was drinking that day at the Waterside; did not drink a pint of whiskey; took some beer and some whiskey; if he was very drunk he could not escape when so many attcked him.

Robert Miller, examined by MR. SCHOALES – This witness corroborated the testimony of his brother. He deposed that the prisoner Harn struck him as well as McMenamen; he got nine cuts on the head, and one on the leg; his skull was fractured and two of his ribs were broken; his right hand was burned when he was knocked down, in consequence of having fallen in the fire; was attended by three surgeons; was five or six weeks confined to bed.

DR. BAIRD, examined by Mr. Smyly – Recollects being called on the 5th of May by Miller’s wife to attend her husband; Miller had several cuts on his head; the skull was fractured; several bones were extracted; DR. SMITH was there and assisted witness; fourteen or fifteen pieces were removed; his hand was badly burned; considered his life was in danger; it will be long before he is strong; the skull was trepaned.

In reply to a Juror, R. Miller said that his family and McM.’s were not on good terms, because he had executed a civil bill decree on McMenamen.

For the defence there were examined three witnesses, one of whom was the innkeeper McColgan, to whom the judge observed that his licence ought to be taken from him.

The Jury found the prisoners guilty; and they were sentenced to twelve months imprisonment and hard labour; to pay the prosecutor his expenses; and to find security to keep the peace.

JOHN McCAUSLAND was found guilty of the manslaughter of ANDREW KENNEDY at Castlecaulfield, and sentenced to three months’imprisonment from the date of his committal.

OWEN McCAFFRY, SEN., PATRICK McCAFFRY and OWEN McCAFFRY, JUN., were convicted of the manslaughter of OWEN CAMPBELL, at Ballynagorrah, on 12th November, and sentenced to twelve month imprisonment and hard labour, and to find security to keep the peace. 

SARAH COULTER was acquitted of the charge of having robbed JAMES McSORLEY of the sum of £3.7s.6d. on the 4th April, in a lane in Omagh, into which he had been dragged by women of loose character.

JAMES McAULEY was found guilty of having exposed a child (suspected to be the offspring of his sister) at the door of PAT. GRIFFIN, in Tattahana, for the purpose of making it chargeable on the parish of Cappagh, or on said Pat. Griffin.

HUGH GORMAN was found guilty of having on the morning of 10th July, when the family were in bed, broke into the shop of JOHN NELSON at Clogher, and taken therefrom 5½d. He had an associate in the crime of the name of JOHN McCUSKER, who was the principle witness against him. Guilty. – Transportation for life.




THOMAS McCORTE was found guilty of murdering a person named BRIENS, at Dungannon, in January, 1833. It appeared in evidence that the unfortunate prisoner, who had a very remarkable countenance, his upper lip being divided in two places, came to the deceased man’s residence, which was a cellar, to call from some bread, at a late hour of th night, and that, being refused admittance, he threatened to burst in the door; that the deceased then opened the door, and thereupon the prisoner struck him a blow on the head which caused his death in a very few hours after. The sister and niece of the deceased identified the prisoner. He had been in Dundalk gaol in March for an assault, when the Governor charged him with the murder, and the prisoner stated to him that it was hard for him to suffer for what another had done – that he was present at the murder, but another had done it. Two counrymen who were in the house at the time, proved that it was impossible the witnesses for the prosecution could have seen the person by whom the fatal blow was given, from the situation in which they were placed, and other circumstances.

The learned judge – who, in charging the Jury, had treated the case as one of considerable doubt, deferred postponing sentence until Thursday; when he addressed the prisoner in the most feeling and impressive manner – imploring him to make his peace with God, whose laws he had outraged, and in whose presence he was soon to appear. His Lordship alluded to the humane act which had just been passed (the “Murderer’s Act”) which in a case of this nature, allowed fourteen days to intervene between the passing and the execution of sentence; and said that he would not pronounce sentence until Thursday. While thus addressed, the prisoner appeared as if mentally engaged in prayer.

[The sentence was pronounced on Thursday; and the 30th inst. fixed for its execution.]

BELFORD GRAHAM, who stood indicted for the murder of JOHN WALKER, at Clogher, on the 16th of March last, was acquitted. It appeared that a scuffle had taken place between the prisoner and deceased, but that the deceased had been frequently working in the fields and attending his ordinary business afterwards, and that his death was not caused by any injury inflicted on him by the prisoner. The crown did not prosecute.