TRIAL OP THE MAORI PRISONERS.
New Plymouth, Sept., 23. . ; Sixty-five native prisoners were arraigned this morning at the District Court on the charge of wilfully obstructing the free passage of a thoroughfare at, Paugarehu, on the 4th of September. * Mr. Standish, Crown Prosecutor, with Mr.Samuels, appeared for the Crowny and Messrs. Halse and Roy for the prisoners. ; As the interpreter was about to read over the indictment to the prisoners, the Court, ordered: the natives to take off their hats. This the natives at first declined to do,and appeared sulky. Aftersome persuasion \ one by one obeyed the order until all were i bareheaded ; but one old man was somewhat obstinate, and made some harangue, which was not interpreted to 'the .Court." Counsel for the prisoners objected to the indictment, as the boundaries of the con*' Jfiscated lands were, he alleged, incom’i fplete, showing only three .boundaries'.
instead of four. His Honor took a note of the objection, and then proceeded to take evidence. After counsel had addressed the Court, his Honor summed up and.tho jury retired to consider their verdict, and, after remaining absent about three quarters of an hour, returned into Court with a verdict of guilty. His Honor sentenced the prisoners to two years’ imprisonment in the Lyttelton gaol, and to find a security in the amount of LSO each to keep the peace for six months after the expiration of the sentence. He also told the interpreter to tell the prisoners that the length of their sentence depended upon how the natives they left behind behaved themselves. New Plymouth, Sept. 24. Mr. Halse, counsel for the Maori prisoners, will appeal to the Supreme Court on four points raised at the trial. (1) That the indictment was bad because of the uncertainty of description of the locality; (2) that the West Coast Settlement Act, of (1880, is ultra vires ; (3) that no plan of the highway notified by the Government under the Act was deposited in the Survey Office ; and (4) that the District Court had no jurisdiction to try an offence in which the punishment may be a life one.
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