THE DUNEDIN MURDER.
BUTLER FOUND GUILTY OF STAMPER’S BURGLARY.
Dunedin, April 22.
This morning Butler pleaded guilty to the charge of burglary at Stamper’s house, but not guilty to that of stealing books from the Catholic Church. The jury, without leaving the bos, found him guilty. At the suggestion of the Bench, the Crown Prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi in respect of the attempt to shoot the constables.
The prisoner, in answer to the usual challenge, said nothing. The Judge, in passing sentence, said—“lt is evident, during the whole of your life, you have committed crime. From your earliest childhood you have been a persistent enemy to society. Where a Court has to deal, with such habitual criminals as you, it is absolutely necessary such punishment should be meted out as will prevent danger to society, which must necessarily ensue if such characters as yourself are at large. The sentence I am about to pass, you will distinctly understand, is not measured in any degree by what took place recently. On that charge you were acquitted, but such verdict by no means exonerates you from grave suspicions in respect to that charge. I concur in that verdict, not because I am convinced of your innocence, but because, in my opinion, the evidence brought against you was not sufficient to justify the verdict of guilty. I particularly wish you to understand that the suspicion which must weigh on the mind of everybody in respect of that transaction does not affect in the least the sentence lam going to pronounce. The sentence I pronounce is based on your previous career, and on the circumstance that, immediately after you were let out of gaol,' you commenced a-rain a career of crime—larceny and burglary, the latter accompanied, in all probability, though that it is not brought against you, by arson. The sentence of the Court is that in respect of the burglary you be kept in penal servitude for 18 years ; for larceny, after the previous conviction, 10 years—the sentences to run concurrently.” This is practically 13 years. Mr. Haggitt intimated that he would consult with the Attorney-General as to whether the other indictment for murder should he proceeded with.
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