The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1880.
A telegram informs us that the “ Commission of Inquiry re the Volunteer affair at Ashburton states that the evidence is insufficient to convict anyone concerned either of misconduct or of theft. The whole affair was exaggerated by the press and public.” Five men have men recommended for dismissal. With the first sentence of this quotation, wo have no fault to find; it may be perfectly true th it sufficient evidence to convict any one concerned of misconduct or of theft, does not lie convenient to the hands of the Commission, but the fact remains that the shop of Mrs. Furness was rushed by a great crowd of Volunteers of all uniforms, and her little stock of goods ruthlessly carried off without being paid for. This is all that ever was said against the Volunteers by either the public or the press, and it uno exaggeration. Had any individual been guilty of shoplifting of this description, and been apprehended by the police and convicted by the Magistrate, the epithet “ thief” would have been applied to that individual. The fact that it is impossible to bring home the charge of theft to any individual, because no single individual can be identified out of so great a crowd clad so much alike, does not alter the fact that the outrage charged against a number of the Volunteers was committed. And the Commissioners take high ground indeed when, without any inquiry worthy of the name made on the scene of the action, or only a very happy.go-lucky visit paid by two officers who seem to have been at no pains whatever to make a searching inquix-y, they assert that the “ affair was exaggerated.” There was no exaggeration about it. Mrs. Furness’ goods were stolen—there is no other name for taking away a person’s property without paying for it, and without that person’s liberty—and these goods have not been paid for. The actual men who did appropriate the articles may not be singled out of the crowd who visited Mr. Furness’ shop, and thus the matter may be left—but we repeat there was no exaggeration. The shop where the outrage was committed adjoins the office of this journal, and we know that all that was said at the time by the Ashburton press was strictly true, and will he substantiated should a proper inquiry be made in Ashburton, even at this late date. We are perfectly willing to make allowance for a lot of young fellows out on a holliday ; they may have fancied that a certain license was allowed them ; but no circumstances can give a license to rob. They knew they had not paid for what they took, and they had ample time axxd opportunity on their return to pay for what they carried off if they had had a mind to deal honestly by the poor wowan. No, no, Commissioners, there was no exaggertion.