The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 1890. AN UNSEEMLY DEMONSTRATION.
A correspondent in our last evening's issue very properly calls attention to the reprehensible behaviour of a number of persons on the Ashburton railway platform on Tuesday evening last. It was generally known that a former resident of the town would be a passenger by the Southern express to Ohristchurcb, there to stand his trial j oh a serious charge of embezzlement of moneys belonging to a leading banking institution. This, circumstance appears to have formed sufficient excuse for a number, of unthinking persons, ably seconded by a band of the gsnus larrikin, to gather aY the station and hoot and yell at the miserable accused. Not content with this unseemly and uh-British display of biassed feeling, the accused man, who sought to hide himself from the petty persecution of his enemies, was compelled to suffer the personal indignity of havirip iis cloak, under which he lay concea 3, rudely removed from him by one more precocious youth than the rest. On this unjustifiable act being completed the remainder of the crowd,' if we are rightly informed, set up a chorus of yells and jeers, not directed against the unmanly • perpetrator of the outrage, but against the; defenceless victim. Such conduct as this t could scarcely be excelled in Russia, and is a relic of the Judge Lynch era which, we" had fondly hoped, was a thing of the past, and only tojjbe found in the backwoods. We never conceived that such a wanton outrage could occur in a lawabiding town like Ashburton, and we hope that, by this time, the chief actors have seen reason to be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. With the guilt or innocence of the accused man we have nothing to do, and we do not pose as his champion. But, as .our correspondent sensibly points out, it is manifestly unfair to assume guilt until the ordinary law inquiry has been held. A demonstration such j»s that of Tuesday evening is calculated to very seriously prejudice the case of an accused person, and is in direct opposition to the spirit of judical inquiry, which permits a prisoner to be heard in his own defence before having meted out to him the punishment and degradation provided for his misdeeds. The thoughtless exhibition of Tuesday evening has another feature, however; and that is, it was a serious reflection in the eyes of strangers, not only upon those taking part in it, but also upon the good order and government of the , Borough. We therefore hasten to assure " Christchurch visitor" and all other visitors that the townspeople as a whole had nothing to do with, and have no sympathy with an act so selfcondemnatory. We regret that the perpetrators of such unseemly conduct have it within their power to cast reflections upon the good conduct and sound judgment of others beside themselves, and that the town of Ashburton, and not the isolated few, will be held responsible by outsiders for the act, The accused man may or may not be guilty of the commercial fraud withwhich he is charged ) that is not the question. He had at least the righfc to expect that, before he has been proved guilty, he should meet with tha^b spirit of British fairplay which characterises, except in such instances as we have referred to, the conduct of subjects of the Queen wherever located.