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RESIDENT MAGISTRATES’ COURT.

Saturday, September 4.

(Before Mr. F. Guinness, R.M.)

“ yorkeyV’ playfulness punished.

Robert Hodgson, known as “ Yorkey,” was charged on a warrant with stealing a coat, on the 3rd September, the property of John Harris, night porter at the Somerset Hotel.

David Smart, constable, sworn, said that bo went with the search warrant (produced) to Hodgson’s house yesterday morning, and read the warrant to him. He said “ you are quite welcome to search my place.” Searched the bedroom and then the outer room. A coat was hanging up behind the door, which Harris, who was with witness, identified as his. Hodgson said “ Oh, I suppose I took it for a lark.” Then locked the prisoner up. He was not sober. This was at 12.30 p. m. John Harris, night porter at the Somerset Hotel, sworn, said—The coat produced is mine. I left it in the front room of the hotel, next the bar, yesterday morning, on a chair, and last saw it about twenty minutes past seven. About five minutes afterwards, went into the room and missed the coat. Never gave Hodgson nor any one else permission to take it, The coat is worth 20s. now, but cost a lot more when new.

By prisoner—No ; I never saw you take it, and did not see you or any one else about the hotel. Reported the loss to Mr. Shearman, and went with Constable Smart to Hodgson’s house, and saw the coat behind the door. When the door was open, it concealed the coat. R. W. Shearman, proprietor Somerset Hotel, sworn—The last witness is in my employ. About half-past seven yesterday morning, he reported missing his coat. Told him it was on a chair in the front room, as I saw it there hanging over the back of a chair, and partly on the seat, when Hodgson, Mr. Cotton, and another man came in for a drink of beer. No one else came in but these three yesterday morning. Never gave Hodgson or any r one else permission to take the coat. Remember on a previous occasion detecting Hodgson going away with an overcoat. He was putting it on at the time.' Asked him what he was doing with the coat. He said he was taking it for a lark. He does not frequent my house much. He was not in more than three or four minutes.

By prisoner—The coat was not lying on the floor. It was folded up lying on a chair. It was not in your way, or any one else’s.

Prisoner, in defence, said he and the others with him were very drunk. In fact, just blind drunk. They could just see one another, that was all. Did not remember anything about the coat. He had had some beer at the hotel, and a Jlot

of whisky on the top of itJ He must have been very tight. Must have taken' the coat for a lark.

B. W. Shearman, recalled by the Bench —Hodgson only had one glass in my house, and was quite sober. The police said that accused had been a great drunkard,. and several previous convictions on different charges had been entered against him. His Worship characterised the offence as a most impudent and barefaced robbery, and sentenced the accused to six months’ imprisonment with hard labor.

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RESIDENT MAGISTRATES’ COURT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 149, 7 September 1880

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