July 2, 1819

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July 2, 1819

Edward Vaughan Kenealy, barrister and writer, is born in Cork

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Edward Vaughan Hyde Kenealy QC (2 July 1819 – 16 April 1880) was an Irish barrister and writer.

He is best remembered as counsel for the Tichborne claimant and the eccentric and disturbed conduct of the trial that led to his ruin.

During the trial, Kenealy abused witnesses, made scurrilous allegations against various Roman Catholic institutions, treated the judges with disrespect, and protracted the trial until it became the longest in English legal history.

His violent conduct of the case became a public scandal and, after rejecting his client’s claim, the jury censured his behaviour.

THe started a newspaper, The Englishman, to plead his cause, and to attack the judges.

His behaviour was so extreme that in 1874 he was disbenched and disbarred by his Inn.

He formed the Magna Charta Association and went on a nationwide tour to protest his cause.

At a by-election in 1875, he was elected to Parliament for Stoke-upon-Trent with a majority of 2000 votes. However, no other Member of Parliament would introduce him when he took his seat.

Benjamin Disraeli forced a motion to dispense with this convention.

In Parliament, Kenealy called for a Royal Commission into his conduct in the Tichborne case, but lost a vote on this by 433–3. One vote was Kenealy’s, another that of his teller, George Hammond Whalley. The third “aye” was by Purcell O’Gorman of Waterford City.

During this period, he also wrote a nine-volume account of the case.

Dr Kenealy, as he was always called, gradually ceased to attract attention, lost his seat at the 1880 general election and died in London later in the year aged 60.

He is buried in the churchyard of St Helen’s Church, Hangleton, East Sussex.

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