Pauline Roche Case – The Liverpool Mercury and Supplement. June 1855

THE LIVERPOOL MERCURY AND SUPPLEMENT. FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 1855

PERSECUTION OF A WARD IN CHANCERY

IN RE PAULINA ROCHE

This was a minor matter, the question at present before the Rolls Court, Dublin, being whether the guardian of the minor should pay the costs of proceedings consequent upon an alleged system of cruelty practised upon her. The minor, Paulina Roche, is the daughter of the sister of Dr. J. Roche O’Bryan (sic) and Mr Robt. H. O’Bryan (sic) of Queenstown, Cork. She (Mrs Roche) died in 1836, at which period the minor was only eleven months old. She was left by her mother to the care of Dr O’Bryan (sic), of Clifton, Bristol, and a maintenance was allowed him for her support, which was increased from time to time, till it amounted to £ 139 per annum. She was entitled to a fortune of   £10,000, the greater portion of which (£7,000 or £6,000) had been realised. Miss Roche was a young lady whose constitution was delicate, and therefore, it was contended she required great care and attention, instead of which she was provided with bad food, bad clothes, and was deprived of such necessaries as sugar and butter; she was likewise deprived of horse exercise, which was indispensable to her health. A pony, the bequest of a dying patient, was given to her; and when she was deprived of this a carriage horse was procured, which kicked her off his back, and she refused ever again to mount him. She also complained that upon two occasions he (the guardian) beat her severely – that he made her a housekeeper and governess to the younger children, that he led her to believe she was dependent upon his benevolence; and further, that she was not permitted to dine with him and his wife, but sent down to the kitchen with the children and the servants. Having endured this treatment for a long period, she fled from his house in the manner hereafter described. To these charges, Dr O’Bryan (sic) replied that he had treated his niece with kindness – that her preservation from consumption was solely ascribable to his judicious and skilful treatment – that her caused her to be well educated – had given her many accomplishments, and a horse to ride, which was not a carriage horse, but an excellent lady’s horse – that she upon two occasions told him untruths which required correction, and that he would have punished his own children much more severely. He also relied upon the affidavits of friends (Mrs and Miss Morgan, Mrs Parsons, and the affidavit of his own wife) which represented that his conduct to the young lady was uniformly kind, and that from their knowledge of him and the course pursued towards her, they could vouch that no hardship or cruelty had been practised towards her. It was likewise contended that she would have better consulted her own respectability and displayed better taste if she had abstained from taking proceedings against her uncle and guardian, with whom she had been for so many years.

The Master of the Rolls, after going over the facts carefully, said – It is a satisfaction to know, although this young lady has been described as a dependent, and as one who has been rescued from a workhouse, that she is entitled to £10,000; and the question of costs of Mr Orpin is not a matter of so much importance; he will, of course, be indemnified for his expenses. There is no difficulty about my obliging Dr O’Bryan (sic) to pay his own costs; therefore I may as well relieve him from any trouble upon this head, should he consider that there is any use in applying to me to be exempted from the payment of these costs. The only question for me to consider is, whether I shall not oblige him to pay all the costs of the proceedings consequent upon his conduct to his ward.

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