SUPREME COURT SITTINGS. Monday, March 1st, 1847. Before Mr. Justice Chapman.
New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Rōrahi III, Putanga 166, 3 Poutūterangi 1847, Page 3
SUPREME COURT SITTINGS. Monday, March Ist, 1847. Before Mr. Justice Chapman.
The Court was opened on Monday for the trial of prisoners with the usual formalities. The following gentlemen were sworn in of the Grand Jury :— C. Clifford, Esq., J. P., Foreman ; Major Baker, J. P. ; Messrs. G. Baker; W. M. Bannatyne ; K. Bethune ; E. Catchpool ; Capt. Daniell, J. P.< Messrs. W. Fitzherbert; W. Hickson ; G. Hunter; J. Kelham ;A. M 'Donald, J. P. ; S. Mocatta, A. Perry; S. Revans ; Capt. Sharp; Messrs. R. Stokes ; R. Waitt ; and J. Wallace. His Honor in his address to the Grand Jury, observed that the cases tobe tried though not uuraerous, presented in the case of William Kreutel who was charged with the crime of murder, a melancholy exception to die general character of those which had been tried since he had sat on the bench. In this case there w«re some peculiarities to which he would direct their attention* The most remarkable feature was that there was only one witness to prove the whole case, and on his evidence would rest the whole of the circumstances to connect the prisoner with the case. This was an unfortunate circumstance, and it was to be regretted that the police magistrate at Akaroa, before whom the case had been brought, had not taken the evidence of the surgeon of the vessel or that of other persons who were present. Still in the eye of the law one witness was sufficient, except in cases of high treason and perjury and except where the witness is an approver or an accomplice, if the witness was a credible person, and the Jury considered his testimony entitled to sufficient weight. Another peculiarity in the case was that both the prisoner and the deceased were foreigners, but wherever the foreigner came within the jurisdiction of the law of any country in which he happened to reside, it was held he was not only amenable to the law for any offences committed by him, but was also entitled to its protection against any injuries he might receive. His Honor then observed that the prisoner was indicted upon two counts, for the crime of wilful murdrr, and also for the less serious offence of manslaughter ; and after explaining the difference between these two offences, and making a few remarks on the other cases dismissed the Jury to their labours. James Morris, indicted for larceny was discharged, the prosecutor being absent, the recognisances were in consequence forfeited. James Davis was indicted for stealing on the 1 1 th December, 23 sovereigns from William Thompson. Mr. King was engaged for the prosecution and Mr. Cator for the defence. From the evidence of Thompson, the prosecutor, it appeared that two days previous to the robbery he arrived in the Bandicoot from Hawke's Bay. He received £25 : 10 in gold from Mr. Ellis at Capt. Sharp's office ; an hour or two after receiving it, after changing at various places, he went to Pimble's and saw, the prisoner there ;be had the sovereigns in his fob pocket in a small bag, which he pulled out and took a sovereign, which left £23 ; the prisoner was present ; he went to sleep in the tap room, when he awoke he missed them ; there was no one in the room. On Sunday morning the Captain told him he had heard that a person had been changing sovereigns for notes ; he went to the prisoner's house and charged him with having robbed him and with having changed sovereign -for note* the" day previous, he denied it;
has not received any part of the 23 sovereigns from any person. Robert R. Davis heing sworn, stated he recollected the prisoner coining to his house on Saturday, December 11, to change sovereigns for notes, witness did not change any ; prisoner said he knew witness would keep a secret, and asked him to change 20 sovereigns ; witness asked him how he had got them, he said he had sprung a mine, and that it was a poor devils's over at Pimble's ; witness knew by this it was Thompson, and told prisoner he was pursuing a dangerous game ; had heard of the robbery previously ; prisoner said it was Thompson's money and asked witness to take charge of it ; witness refused and gave notice to Burgess Sayer of the police of what had happened. Three other witnesses were examined, and the jury having returned a verdict of guilty, the prisoner was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment an.l hard labour. Frederick Mirabeau Sarrel pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing and was 'sentenced to six months imprisonment and hard labour. 1 uesday, 2d March. William Kreutell was indicted for the wilful murder of Anthony Ernest. Mr. Hart conducted the prosecution, and Mr. Ross was engaged for the defence. Baron Alzdorf acted as interpreter. William Henphy — I am a farmer, and reside at Port Levi ; I recollect Wednesday, the 30ih December last ; I saw the prisoner on that day in my house, in the company of the doctor of the vessel Hansor, Mr. Ernest the deceased, and another sailor from on board the ship; on that day they came into my house, the doctor and Mr. Ernest were anxious to go on board the vessel, which was then lying in the harbour ; they asked me if I would put them off; Mr. Ernest spoke to me in English ; I said as soon as the weather would permit me I would do so ; during the time they were in my house they were conversing freely together in a friendly manner, the doctor,the deceased, the prisoner, and the sailor; they were speaking in their o^vn language ; the deceased Mr. Ernest was the only one that spoke in English ; shortly after, Mr. Ernest went out; we all followed ; the deceased pointed to a rock about 15 or 20 yards from my house ; he then said that he would load the gun and have another fire at it, this was said in English; he fired and struck the rock, splinters of which fell off into the water ; he then drew nearer to my door ; I stood under the verandah whilst he was loadiug ; the deceased was standing about 9or 1 0 feet from my door ; the prisoner was stauding close to him, as also the doctor and several others ; the prisoner was present ; I did not notice him particularly ; every one 1 believe was looking on whilst deceased was loading ; I had promised deceased a young chicken, and he wished to take it :o sea with him ; I turned to my wife and desired her to tie one by the legs and give it to Mr. Ernest; I then went towards my boat to get it ready for launching ; the boat was about 10 yards from the house, close to the water ; it was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon ; on my returning from launching the boat I heard the cry of the natives and others standing by, that the prisoner had run away wilh the gun that M- Ernest had been loading ; in running the prisoner was first, Mr. Ernest next, and the doctor following ; ttt the same moment I saw the prisoner turn short round; they immediately stopped; they might have made a step or two and formed a kind of triangle ; they were as near as I could judge about 15 feet from each other ; to the best of my opinion I was about 50 yards from them outside the triangle ; the prisoner was standing with his gun presented with his side fair towards me ; the deceased was with his left side towards the prisoner and appeared to be still moving; they continued in that posU tion ten minutes at the least, and after that lime prisoner fired the gun ; I saw this; I heard the report, and saw the smoke from it ; at the same moment I saw the doctor extend his arms, and run towards the prisoner ; I immediately ran to the spot, and saw Mr. Ernest laying nearly doubled up, with his head hanging over a tuft of bushes ; the prisoner was then running up the sloping hill ; when he got up about fifty yards he sat down just on the brow of the hill ; there was nothing between the doctor and the prisoner to hinder him from getting to him ; we got to the body about the same moment; we examined the body ; vre could perceive he was breathing; I saw the wound, it was a little above the pap of the left breast ; the wound passed through his body just under his shoulder blade on the right side, very little blood flowed from it ; I then lifted the body in my arms, and with the assistance of two other men carried it into my house ; the Doctor was present y I cannot say whether he dLd in my arms or in my house, there were no signs of life after I lifted the body up ; when I took him in my house, I laid him on a sofa with his left side towards the wall, and as the Doctor could not examine the
body well we laid it on the floor ; the Doctor said nothing after he examined the body, but waived his arms ; I saw the wound, the wound seemed bruised, with a little blood trickling down; we turned the body and saw the wound where the ball came out, but did not examine it closely ; I have served in the British Legion, in Spain, and been in many engagements, I have had an opportunity of seeingmany gunshot wounds; I consider deceased's death to be owing to the ball going through his body ; deceased, I believe, was mate, and a boat header on board the vessel ; the prisoner, I believe to be the carpenter ; I had been on board the vessel, and had seen the deceased and prisoner on board ; I did not see the prisoner any more on that day. By the Court — I could not see whether the gun was presented towards the Doctor or the deceased ; it was a double barrelled gun with a percussion lock ; I saw deceased write his name in chalk, and put his name A. T. Ernest ; he was called Mr. Antonio iv the neighbourhood. Mr. Ross at some length objected that the Christian name of the deceased was not proved to be the Christian name in the indictment, and after some consideration his Honor allowed the objection and directed the prisoner to be acquitted.