Led to be Bled: The Painful Duty of Junior Counsel, 1899

From the Freeman’s Journal, 19 August 1899:

The shooting of Dreyfus’s Counsel, Maitre Labori, reminds a writer in the ‘Liverpool Post’ that members of the Bar in England, and still more in this country, have from time to time been called upon to defend their forensic opinions and actions by an appeal to arms. A Baron of the Exchequer… fought at least three battles, one with his own brother-in-law; and [Bully] Egan, when Chairman of Dublin Quarter Sessions, fought Jerry Keller at Wexford over a point of law, but these were in the last century.

A legal contemporary not long ago told a humorous story of a similar incident that occurred only the other day at the Four Courts. A foreigner, of very irascible temperament, had been severely cross-examined by Mr Seymour Bushe, Q.C. Upon returning to his seat, the angry gentleman wrote out a challenge to a duel, which he tossed over the table to the learned advocate. Mr Bushe, however, was equal to the occasion, for his reply was ‘Junior Counsel does all the fighting.”

Hopefully Mr Bushe was joking!

Luckily for barristers, assassinations and challenges to arms by offended witnesses have gone out of fashion… long may it remain so!

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Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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