Our Legal Heritage

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No matter how bitter, few divorces end with the murder of the presiding judge. But in one case from Scotland's bloody legal history, an irate husband, incensed at having to pay aliment to his ex-wife, took the ultimate revenge on the sitting judge: The Lord President Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath.

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Graham Ogilvy enjoys a new presentation of the famous denouement of demagogue Joe McCarthy at the hands of Boston lawyer Joseph N Welch. It is an epic moment in American legal history that played out live on US television – and now new light is shed on the withering exchanges between veteran B

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The latest series of the gritty and stylish TV drama Babylon Berlin, set in Weimar Germany, introduces Hans Litten as a civil rights lawyer battling to save the life of a woman sentenced to death after being tricked by the Nazis into assassinating Germany's Jewish chief prosecutor. Connor Beaton sha

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This week marks the 30th anniversary of the world’s largest unsolved art theft, in which 13 pieces worth around $500 million, including paintings by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Manet, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

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Curran spent many years defending United Irishmen who faced capital charges, the most famous of which were William Orr, Napper Tandy, and Wolfe Tone. His defence of Oliver Bond on the 23rd of July 1798 “was considered by the bar as the most powerful of his efforts upon the state trials of this

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Perhaps the most famous trials of John Philpot Curran’s career were those in which he appeared as defence counsel for leading figures of the Society of United Irishmen.  While the Rebellion of 1798 was still raging, on 12 July 1798, Curran represented a fellow member of the Irish bar, Hen

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John Philpot Curran was one of the most accomplished Irish lawyers of the late 18th and early 19th century. An excellent orator, Curran’s speeches in the courtroom were regularly met with great acclaim. Born in Newmarket, County Cork on 24 July 1750, he was heavily influenced by his mother, Sa

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On Wednesday 7 January 1761, Dorcas Kelly (also known as Darkey Kelly) was executed near St Stephens Green in Dublin. Darkey was a sex worker and “brothel keeper” who had been found guilty of the murder of a shoemaker called John Dowling the previous year, and her sentence was “to

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On the centenary of the Government of Ireland Act 1920, this piece of legislation will be recalled for effecting the partition of Ireland into Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland. What may be overlooked is that David Lloyd George’s Government of Ireland Act 1920 included a subsection which p

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The first Republican Lord Mayor of Cork, Tomás Mac Curtáin, was born on 20 March 1884 in the townland of Ballyknockane, about fifteen miles north of Cork City. When he was 13, Tomás moved to the Blackpool area of Cork City, where he attended North Monastery secondary school. It

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Edward “Ned” Kelly was a famous Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw who was executed in November 1880. Part I, Part II and Part III of this series were published last year. As the pressure to capture Ned Kelly and his associates heightened, police began closely monitoring the homes of

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Edward “Ned” Kelly was a famous Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw who was executed in November 1880. Part I was published last Friday. The horse that landed 16-year-old Ned with three years of hard labour had actually been stolen – or “borrowed” by a horse-breaker

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Edward “Ned” Kelly was a famous Irish-Australian bushranger and outlaw who was executed in November 1880. A martyr in the retelling of the British settlement of Australia, the story of Ned Kelly attracts a great degree of controversy as people disagree about whether he should be remember

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