The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, APRIL 22, 1889. THE RAWSON COMMISSION.
A week or two ago a considerable space m our telegraphic news was oc cupied by daily reports of the procedure of the Rawson Commission, and now that the final report of the Commission has been published we may juat briefly summarise what the enquiry was all about AMr Bayley, as Mayor of New Plymouth having, at the instigation of certain persons, forwarded to the Minister for Justice a memorial asking for the removal of Mr C. E. Rawson, the local R.M, and District Judge, Mr Rawson very properly demanded an enquiry into the complaints made against him, and the Governor appointed a Royal Commission for that purpose, the Commis sioners being Colonel Baultain and Mr W. S. Reid, Solicitor-General. The oharges to be investigated were the following : — Mr Rawson was charged with insobriety, with slandering and vilifying from the Bench, with conspiring to defraud parties concerned m suits, with perverting justice, with maliciously punishing persons brought before him m his judicial capacity, with acting m a manner more becoming a drunken sot m the gutter than a judge on the bench, with being influenced by Mr Oliver Samuel, M.H.K., with being a person whose general demeanourand behaviour unfitted him for his office, with being unfit for it m consequence of bis theological beliefs, and with numerous other sins of omission and commission. These charges were made by nine persons, but only the charges of three individuals wero carried on to completion. Indeed, for some days after the enquiry had been opened at New Plymouth no charges at all were preferred m Court and the Commission adjourned from day to day until at length certain of Mr Rawson's accusers plucked up courago enough to proceed, Mr Jollicoo ap pearinp; as counsel for the complainants and Sir Robert Stout as counsel for Mr Rawson. Having heard all the evidence relevant or irrelevant to the charges pro ceoded with the Commissioners found them one and all to be foundationless, and report : — " We deem ourselves quite justified m declaring that m all the cases heard before us Mr Rawson must be acquitted of judicial wrongdoing or misbehaviour." There were certain other obarges preferred by Mr Jonea (known as " Mokau Jones/) but ho declined to proceed with them unless allowed to call Mr Rawson himself as a witness, which waS Tery properly refused, and the Commissioners, not unnaturally, therefore, arrived at the conclusion tbat it was doubtful whether he ever really intended to go on with these charges m such a way as to secure their thorough investigation by the Commission. The Commissioners find that "there appeared to be an unreasoning desire on the part of some of the complainants to impute judicial misconduct to Mr Rawason, but we do say (they report) that where ho decided he did so m the legitimate exercise of his judicial discretion, and therefore we say thero was no proof whatever of partiality or misconduct. Nor was there any evidence to justify the allegation of improper influence over Mr Rawson by Mr Oliver Samuel."! Altogether the outcome of the report is the complete vindication of Mr Rawson and the confounding of his enemies, and tho pity is that the latter could not be made not only to bear all the costs of tho enquiry, but to answer m damages for their reckless allegations. It is not a small thing to impugn the integrity and general conduct of a Magistrate and Judge, and those who do so without efficient cause ought certainly to bo punishaDib, V°\ °n\y as having wilfully attempted to lnjuTC an innocent individual, but also as having coal Hotted an offence against the State by endeavoring to bring the administration of justice into contempt.