Pauline Roche Case – The Tralee Chronicle June 1855

The Tralee Chronicle

Friday, June 22 1855


In the matter of Pauline Roche, a minor

The petition in this case was presented to compel the late guardian of the minor, Dr Robert O’Brien, of Belfast (sic) to pay the costs of certain proceedings which had been instituted on the part of the minor in the Court of Chancery and the Master’s Office. The facts of the case will appear from his lordship’s judgement. The general nature of the charge against the late guardian appeared to be this – that although he was allowed from 1850 a maintenance of £ 130 per annum, this young lady was not properly fed – had been most cruelly treated and subjected to personal violence. This young lady was obliged to run away, and conceal herself in a neighbouring village, and no person who looked at the subsequent transactions could entertain a doubt that she had been treated with cruelty. It was perfectly clear that this young lady had been kept ignorant up to a late period of the state of her circumstances. The Master found, and it was admitted by the respondent, that he told her on one occasion her father left her nothing; that she would be in the poor house but for his generosity. His lordship then read the letter of the minor in cork, inquiring about her father’s circumstance, and complaining bitterly of the treatment she had received, and stating that, though she was then 19 years of age, she had no pocket money, except a little which had been supplied by friends. Another letter was written by the minor in September, 1854, to her uncle John in Cork, which he inclosed to Mr Orpin who adopted the course that he wished every solicitor would adopt, who did not consider himself solicitor for the guardian, but the solicitor for the minor, whose interest was committed to his charge. Ultimately, in the absence of her uncle, and late guardian, and apprehending his anger when he returned, she left the house, and went to reside with her uncle in Cork, her present guardian. Mr Robert O’Brien (sic) went to recover possession of his ward, which corroborated strongly the minor’s statement. When he was passing through Cork, she was looking out in the window, and fainted upon seeing him – so much frightened was she at his very appearance, the conduct of this gentleman appeared to him (the Master of the Rolls) to be most unjustifiable – not to use a stronger expression – and Mr Orpin, the solicitor, was entitled to his costs for the payment of which he might have no apprehension as this young lady, who was represented as having nothing, was the heiress to             £ 10,000 left to her by her father. With reference to Mr Robert O’Brien (sic), he was clearly of opinion at present that he should bear all his own costs; but whether he would make him pay the costs the minor’s estate had been put to in investigating the transactions, he would reserve for future consideration.

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