Edward Kielley

Edward Kielley (or Kielly), surgeon, naval officer (b at St John's c 1790; d there 8 Mar 1855).

Edward Kielley (or Kielly), surgeon, naval officer (b at St John's c 1790; d there 8 Mar 1855). A Catholic at peace among Protestants and a conservative who had no wish to engage in the bitterly partisan politics of his day, Kielley was nevertheless catapulted into a controversy that resulted in one of Newfoundland's most celebrated cases in constitutional law.

After heated words with a Reform member of the legislature Kielley was arrested, charged with contempt and imprisoned on a warrant issued by the speaker of the assembly. He issued a counterclaim, alleging false imprisonment, and the resulting case, Kielley v Carson, was carried to the Privy Council. The decision, delivered 11 January 1843, supported Kielley, and thereby defined a limit to the powers claimed by colonial assemblies in the British empire, denying them the authority to commit anyone for contempt, a privilege exclusive to the Parliament in London.