Maguire Seven Found Guilty. Castle Hill Rebellion.

March 4: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks) Twitter Icon

1804: Castle Hill Rebellion, Sydney Australia. A number of Irish convicts (many of whom had been exiled as a result of “sedition” against British rule in Ireland) staged a bloody revolt in the Sydney area of Australia partly motivated by conditions and also British colonial rule. The revolt was led by Phillip Cunningham, a veteran of the 1798 Irish rebellion (hence his presence in Australia.) The ill-starred uprising resulted in the death of a reported 100 people and the eventual execution of Cunningham and eight others. The rebellion is sometimes referred to as the Second Battle of Vinegar Hill in commemoration of the events in Wexford in 1798.

Battle of Vinegar Hill (National Library of Australia)

1976:The Maguire Seven found guilty in another terrible miscarriage of justice. In 2005, Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized unreservedly for what happened. “I am very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and such an injustice. “They deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated.”

However in 1976, forced (beaten) confessions, contaminated forensic kits, a rush to justice following IRA atrocities on the British mainland and sloppy police practices ensured that Anne Maguire, her husband Patrick, sons Vincent 17, Patrick 14, brother, brother-in-law and a family friend were found guilty of possessing explosives at their London Home and passing them on to the IRA. Anne Maguire received the most severe sentence of fourteen years imprisonment although it could be said her brother-in-law Giuseppe Conlon received a life sentence as he died in prison in 1990 proclaiming an innocence that would not become official until 1991.

In the preface to her book Miscarriage of Justice, Cardinal Basil Hume, Archbishop of Westminster writes of Anne Maguire “she is, as far as I am concerned, a very exceptional woman whom it has been a privilege to get to know.”

Anne Maguire

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