From the Galway Advertiser via Gaelport.com
Two British Lords are seeking a review of the case of Myles Joyce, alleged to have been involved in the infamous Maamtrasna murders in 1882. They want the authorities to declare him the victim of a miscarriage of justice and to concede he was falsely convicted and executed.
Are there other cases known from Ireland where language issues were a factor?
The Maamtrasna Murders took place on August 17 1882 when a family of five were slaughtered in their mountainside cottage in the Lough Mask area on the Galway/Mayo border.
Ten men from the surrounding area were arrested and charged, and three - Pat Joyce, Pat Pádraig Shéamuis Casey, and Myles Joyce were found guilty and sentenced to death.
Another five were sentenced to penal servitude. The three were brought back to Galway Gaol where, shortly before they were hanged, Pat Joyce and Pat Casey admitted separately that they were guilty but that Myles was innocent. However the hangings went ahead on December 15 1882 and their bodies were buried in the grounds of the prison, in what is now the Cathedral carpark.
However the reliability of the trial, much of the evidence given, and the trustworthiness of some of the witnesses has since been called into serious question, leading to the current efforts of the two British lords.A monoglot Irish speaker, Myles Joyce, who had no English, was defended in court in Dublin by a solicitor and barristers who spoke no Irish. The evidence he gave as Gaeilge was ignored in court. Evidence which might have helped his defence was withheld and the trial also heard from informers gave false evidence against him. The judge and jury who convicted him had no Irish and the jury deliberated for less than six minutes to decide on his guilt before sentence of death was passed.Background: The Maamtrasna Murders, August 17 1882...Mr Joyce’s final words before being hanged were: Feicfidh mé Íosa Críost ar ball – crochadh eisean san éagóir freisin” - I will soon see Jesus Christ - he too was hanged unjustly.