This is a Bill which was first introduced in the Seanad by Senator de Loughrey. It was afterwards considerably enlarged on being considered by a Select Committee before which Mr. J.J. Horgan, the Coroner for Cork, gave evidence. The object of the Bill is to bring certain points in the law relating to Coroners and Coroners' inquests up-to-date. As it stands, the code is very antiquated. It is over eighty years old. It was considered that a proper codification of the law was desirable and the present Bill is useful. It suggests changes which are desirable and it is by no means controversial. This Bill recommends certain changes and I think the Dáil ought to give it a Second Reading.
BARRACK RAIDS. - CORONERS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 1926—SECOND STAGE.
There is one point with regard to what I think is an omission in the Bill, and I put it to the Minister that he might consider the advisability of adding certain powers which would enable the Coroner to treat in a punitive fashion the prejudicing of an inquiry by the publication of details of, may be, the murder or manslaughter of the person in respect to whose death the inquiry is to be made. I refer to this because it has occasioned certain references in Great Britain recently, and I think it is quite a reasonable proposition that the action of newspapers in making their own particular inquiries and disclosing all kinds of morbid details should be treated in a somewhat similar fashion as the action of newspapers touching ordinary criminal prosecutions. I throw out the suggestion and I hope the Minister will give some consideration to the desirability of making an addition to the Bill in that respect.
I think Deputy Johnson has made a very excellent suggestion. Of late we have been reading particulars in the newspapers of cases in Great Britain where very harrowing accounts of post-mortem examinations and exhumations, which it is highly undesirable that the public should be made acquainted with, were set out in detail. Therefore, I think the suggestion made to the Minister by Deputy Johnson is worthy of consideration. I am very much in favour of the rest of the Bill, because it is introducing a great many of the things we have been seeking for years in the way of reform in connection with the Coroner's Court.
At the moment I cannot say whether the suggestion of Deputy Johnson is applicable to the present Bill. It will be considered.