Wo have occasionally in this column alluded to the advances which larrikinism is making in this district, and only yesterday a case was hoard in which a new phase of the disease was brought out. Two youths, quiet enough, innocent enough, and dirty enough looking to have been guiltless of anything but- playing truant, or not knowing their nominative cases, were charged with placing two pieces of wood on the Rakaia and Alford Forest Railway. The offence was a serious one, and one deserving due punishment, and tho justices on the Bench evidently felt the gravity of the case they had t > deal with, for did they not have as witnesses no loss personages than the “General Manager of the Christchurch Section, New Zealand Railways,” the “ Locomotive Inspector, Christchurch Station,” and other important and dignified Government officials to give evidence as to tho enormity of the offence ? Of course, considering the slanding and influence of the prosecution, and the fact that two small ignorant boys, who had never heal’d of forms of law, were the defendants, and who had not die least idea of the nature of the proceedings, it is not to he wondered at that the police obtained that sunmium bunum of their hopes—a conviction.
It may' be law, and it may bo against the “ Offences to Railways Act,” but in our opinion it is against the common sense of the public—if the public wore asked their opinion in these day's of so-called Liberal Government. Wo ask our readers to look at the case from a humanitarian point of view. Two boys are caught in the act of laying two pieces of wood (and they were small ones) across the railway line. Some very' distinguished railway officials arc passengers on a train running preliminary to the celebration of the opening of a new line; an opportunity'occurs to immortalise the inauguration by' arresting a couple of larrikins. Two important and indispensable officials, such as the “General Manager of Railways, Christchurch,” and the “ Locomotive Inspector ” can be spared to spend a whole day on the Rakaia-Methven line to inspect it. They catch a couple of larrikins, and next day they come to Ashburton with a few more of tho staff to give ev.deuce ag inst their quarry. The J.P.s’ sitting in judgment on the offence, elect to make it indictable instead of summary', because, we suppose, there was such an array of talent on the part of the prosecution that a case brought in the Supremo Cmirt would show how diligent and observing the heads of the department were. So we now find that a couple of ignorant larrikins, with no knowledge whatever of tho enormity' of their crime, are committed for trial. ’ The colony is to be put to the expense of carrying out that trial, the colony must for the lime that trial lasts lose the valuable and indispensable services of the “ General Manager” and Hie “Locomotive Superintendent,’ and the other necessary and ornamental officials, for the sake of sending a couple of boys to Burnham, when, had the charge been laid under the proper Act, twentyfour hours’ imprisonment and a good cowhiding would have done the offenders moro°good, and saved the colony a lot
of expens?, and at the same time left to the C interbury railways tho valuable services of the ‘ ‘ general manger” and his stair. We sincerely hope that n > more manuka will be laid on the line when Mr. Back comes this way again.
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