The Trial of Sir Harcourt Lees on Charges of Barretry and Eavesdropping
Relation to the Griffin FamilyGeorge Mansfield Griffin (1914 - 1971) married Gertrude Blanche Kelly (1917 - 1992) who was the great-great-grandniece of Rev. Sir Harcourt Lees (1776 - 1852). Children and grandchildren of George and Gertrude Griffin are direct descendants of William Eden Lees (1784 - 1856), the brother of Sir Harcourt.
IntroductionRev. Sir Harcourt Lees (1776 - 1852) became the 2nd Bartonet of Blackrock on the death of his father Sir John Lees (c1737 - 1811). Sir Harcourt was a political pamphleteer and published several pamphlets, chiefly in support of protestant ascendancy and is best known for his strongly-worded pamphlets attacking Roman Catholicism. They are distinguished by extreme animation of style read more.
The TrialThere is a fictitious account of a court appearance in January 1823 in which the Rev. Sir Harcourt Lees was accused of barretry (the vexatious stirring up of quarrels, fights or lawsuits) and eavesdropping. He was accused, amongst other things, of referring to the Catholics of Ireland as "vile papists, idolators, bloody papists, cut-throat papists, incendiaries, assassins". After retiring for "twenty seven minutes, three seconds and one quarter of a second" the jury returned a verdict of "guilty"1,2.
The sentence passed was as follows:
"That you be brought from the place where you now stand, to the place from whence you came, that is your own house, in the custody of Alderman Nugent and Counsellor O'Connell; that you be brought by the said two gentlemen, from your own house to Corporation Meetings at the Exhibition House, and the Catholic Committee Meetings wheresoever they may be held, on every day of such meetings respectively, for the space of twelve months from this day; that you shal be fastened in an easy chair, so that you cannot escape therefrom, and that you be forced, compelled, and constrained to listen patiently to all the different Corporate and Catholic orators who shall then and there be assembled, to debate upon the affairs of this mighty empire"1,2.
Sources1. Trial of Sir Harcourt Lees (1823)
2. Trial of Sir Harcourt Lees (entire book as a PDF file) Reprinted book: Publishedby Nabu Press (2012) ISBN: 9781286393529