Dublin Solicitor Helps Couple Elope, Sends Them Bill of Costs, 1905

From the Dublin Daily Express, 8 December 1905:


In the King’s Bench Division yesterday, before Mr Justice Boyd, in the case of Hehir v Kelly and another, Mr Carrigan (instructed by Mr Edward McHugh) applied on behalf of the defendants, Denis Kelly and Mary Kelly, otherwise Molloy, residing in the City of Dublin, for an order that all future proceedings in the action should be stayed pending the taxation of the costs by the taxing officer, pursuant to a requisition signed by the defendants at the instance of the plaintiff, dated 8th November last.

Mr Carrigan BL stated that the bill of costs submitted by Mr Hehir, solicitor, was of a most extraordinary character, and it was in reality for the conducting of an elopement between the two defendants. The following were some of the items included in it:-

-Attending Dr Kelly when he said he had no boots, and attending him at Clery’s and buying him two pairs of boots, 6s.8d.

-Attending Dr Kelly as to his marriage with Miss Molloy, 6s.8d.

-Attending Dr Kelly and Miss Molloy at the Pro-Cathedral to make arrangements at to his marriage when, at the last moment, the clergyman refused to marry them, 6s.8d.

-Attending them at the North Wall, as they feared that Miss Molloy’s friends would interfere with their flights (laughter). “Dr Kelly informed me,” it was stated in the account, “informed me that he had no overcoat, and asked me for the loan of one, which I lent him accordingly. Dr and Mrs Kelly pressed me to go to Liverpool with them, fearing legal difficulties.”

-Attending Dr Kelly when he said he was short of money, and we agreed to pawn our watches.

-Attending him at the pawn office when 15s was advanced on mine, but they would advance nothing on Dr Kelly’s (laughter).

-Attending at the Registry Office witnessing the marriage (laughter).

Mr Dudley White BL (instructed by Mr Hehir) opposed the application on behalf of the Plaintiff.

Mr Justice Boyd, who had joined in the laughter, made no rule on the motion as to the trial. He directed the costs to be taxed at the amount when ascertained to be paid by the defendant, and the costs of the motion to be costs in the cause.”

The solicitor in the case, James Hehir, had a thriving practice on the Dublin and Eastern Circuit with offices at 4 Cavendish Row Dublin and 4 Trimgate Street, Navan, and was noteworthy for having been awarded a special certificate for distinguished answering on the occasion of his Final Examination in the Law Society.

This did not stop Mr Hehir ending up in the news again in August 1907, when he was summoned before the Southern Police Court for using offensive language and assaulting a tram inspector in a tramcar on the Rock Road earlier that month, when he refused to pay his fare while travelling between Blackrock and Nelson’s Pillar.

According to Conductor William Murphy, the defendant boarded his car at Bath Place, Blackrock, and when asked for his fare, showed two 3d tickets punched from Sackville Street to Blackrock, saying “These are returns; I have paid my fare, and I won’t pay again.” When told that he should pay or he would be removed, the defendant said “Don’t talk to me like that, or I’ll smash your face,” refused to give his name and address, and called the inspector a ‘pup’ and a ‘cur’.

In response to questioning, Mr Murphy confirmed that the defendant was sober at the time, to which Mr Swifte, magistrate, imposing a fine of 10s for using offensive language, remarked that he had apparently taken a ‘cross drop’ that day.

Mr Hehir’s subsequent death from pneumonia in 1909, while still in relative youth, came as a shock to all who had been acquainted with him. A large number of sorrowing friends followed his funeral procession from the Whitworth Hospital to Glasnevin Cemetery.

I wonder were the Kellys among the cortège – and if the taxing officer ever awarded anything to Mr Hehir on foot of his famous Bill of Costs?

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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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