THE CLEVELAND-STREET SCANDAL.
(From Our Speqial Correspondent.)
London, January 17.
THE LIBEL ON LORD EUSTON. The trial of Mr Ernest Parke for criminally libelling the Earl of Euaton eamo on at the Old Bailey on Wednesday morning, before Mr Justice Hawkins and a Special jury. The prosecutor arrived early, accompanied by his solicitor (fcfr George Lewis), and the pair were presently joined by Sir Chas. Russell, Q.C., M.P., whose brief on dit was marked "fivehundred guineas." Mr Lockwood, Q.C., M.P., and Mr Asquibh, M.P.^ represented the defendant Parke, and several other barristers held watching briefs on behalf of parties whose name 3 did not transpire. Sir Chas. Russell opened the case for the prosecution with dry brevity, repeating the story of hia client's visit to Clevelandstreet which Lord .Euston told at the Police Court. As bis Lordship, said Sir Charles, had only been to the house once, and then but for a minute or two, nothing would have been easier than for him to have denied knowing anything at all of the place. He preferred, however, to be perfectly straightforward, and bad frankly confessed to a grave imprudence. In the plea of justification put in by tho defendant it was alleged that Lord Euston had visited 19, Cleveland-street, on several occasions. The defence having taken that course, and elected practically to placo Lord Euston on his trial, he (SirC. Russell) proposed, subject to any view, the learned judge might express upon the matter; not to call tho prosecutoruniil they had seen by what evidence it was proposed to substantiate the plea of justification. The judge remarked that 'he did not feel justified in expressing any opinion upon the point.
Mr Lockwood.Q.C, for the defence, commented on the course pursued by the prosecution in keeping the Earl of Euston out of fche witness-box until there should have been a chance of discrediting by crossexamiaation the witnesses in support of the plea of justification. He agreed with Sir Charles as to tbe seriousness of the charge, and as to the seriousness of the plea puc on the record by tho defendant; but he proposed to placo evidenc. before the jury fchab would satisfy them that Lord Euston had boen in thu habit of visiting 19, Cleveland-street.. Some of the evidence might be open to the charge of being tainted, but it was obvious that in a case of this kind ifc was only evidence of thafc class thafc they could expect to find. As to the parb of the plea of justification, which alleged thab the publication of the libel was for the public good, he apprehended that, if* the libel was shown to be true, there would bo no substantial difference of opinion upon that point. < A number of persons residing in Cleve land-strecb and neighbourhood were then called and identified Lord Euston as an habitue of number 19. Being mostly ignorant working people, ib was nob a difficult task for Sir Charles Russell to confuse these wibnesses and turn their evidence into ridicule.
The last witness called was a man named John Saul, who gave his evidence wifch a brazen eilrontery thab reduced the Court fco shocked silence.
John Saul, replying to Mr Lockwood, said : I live at 15, Old Compton-street, Soho. In 1879 I knew a man named Chas. Hammond, who was then living at 25, Oxenden-street, off' the Haymarkeb. Ho moved fco 19, Cleveland-street, just after Christmas, ISB6. At aboub fcho end of March I wont fco live there. During the time I wao thero I remember many persons coming to the house.
Do you see any person here in this Courb whom you have seen at Hammond's house, 19, Cleveland-street, afc any fcinae ?—One gentleman I recognise that I took there myself if I am nob bhoroughly mistaken. (Witness here pointed to Lord Euston.)
When was that ?—Some time ab the end cf April or the beginning; of May, 1887.
Where did you meet thi3 person ?—ln Piccadilly (nob far from tho Albany Courtyard, near Sack ville-sfcreeb—nearly opposite the Yorkshire Grey). As the witness waa proceeding to give evidence of a character which renders ib unfit for publication, there waa some demonstration of disapproval from that portion of the Court allotted to the public.
Mr Lockwood 3aid he hoped his task would nofc be rendered more difficult by such exhibitions of fesling.
Mr Justice Hawkins 3aid if this sorb of thing was repeated ho should order tho Court to be cleared. The evidence was filthily brutal and disgusting, bufc ifc was necessary fco hear ifc. So far as this witness was concerned ho afforded a shocking spectacle. Examination continued: I saw Lord Euston on a second occasion when Frank Hevvett and Newlove were there.
Cross-examined by Sir C. Pvussell: Since just before Christmas I have been living at Akerman Koad, Brixton, with a very respectable man named Violet, who is taking care of me. I gave my evidence to Inspector Abberline at the beginning of August. I met Violet at the private inquiry oiiice afc Westminster. I remember the prosecution of Newlove and Veck. 1 don:t recollect Taylor, or Lovelock, or Swinecow, or Sladden, or Thickbroom, or Wrighb.
Have you any means of earning your bread ?—No, sir.
I see you have a ring on your finger ?-— It's not my fauit, or it would have been gone long ago. It's only paste. (Laughter.) And a silver-headed cane ?—Oh, that's not much— la 6d, no more. I bought it in Brixton Road. Mr Violet lets me have money sometimes, and supplies me with everything I want. I was concerned in committing an indecent offence in Dublin in 1875, aud since I have been in London I have tried to earn an honest living, but have not been able to get a character. The police and detectives have always been kind to me here. I offered my evidence in Dublin some years ago, but it was not used. I was employed a little while at Drury Lane Theatre in " The Royal Oak." I expressed my willingness to give evidence for Mr Parke, but for nobody else. I was not then aware thab a considerable sum of money was being raised to help Mr Parke. You don't suggest that you knew the defendant ?—No ; I thought he was acted very unfair with.
Aad your tense of justice prompted you to help him ?—Yes. When you went to Webb's office, and made your statement, were any photographs produced ?—Yes, two. Were they both photographs of Lord Euston?—One was, and the other was a photograph of a man named Carrington. Sir C. Russell observed that he had no intention of introducing other names, and regretted that the witness had mentioned any. Mr Justice Hawkins agreed that xt was undesirable to introduce the names of persons who were not before the Court. Did you recognise the photograph of Lord Euston ?—Yes; • by his face, and by hi 3 big white teeth and his moustache. Where did you first learn Lord Euston's name ?—Along Piccadilly, not long after I first met him. In re-examination witness said he made his original statement to Inspector Abberline's clerk. This closed the case for the defendant. Lord Euston then went into the box, and denied having ever eeen Saul bej fore. Ho waa severely cross-examined by j Mr Asqnith, but did not give away much. 1 Mr Lvckwood then briefly addressed the
jury on behalf of the defendant, severely criticised Lord Euston's moral estimate of "poses plastiques," and suggested that he had only admitted going to 19, Clevelandstreet, Once because h© had reason to fear that on one occasion afc leasb he had been observed. The story was one which he asked the jury unhesitatingly to reject, the more so because—apart from John Saul — Sir Charles Russell had failed to shake either the credibility or the respectability of the wifchSsses for tbe defence.
Sir C. Russell, on behalf of Lord Euston, submitted that the libel had been proved, and that the defendant had absolutely failed to establish his plea of justification. There had been laid before the Court loose and most unsatisfactory evidence of identification in connection with the alleged visits to Cleveland-street* while the foully-tainted testimony of John Saul was such bhafc.no one would imperil the life 1 eVeh of the meanest of God's creatures upon it. If a man's life were involved in this case ho felt sure the .jury would not accept it. Throughout this matter Lord Euston had behaved as an honest and straightforward man would behave. The Judge summed up dead against the defendant, exposing clearly enough the extraordinary weakness of the luckless young journalist's case. Dealing with the plea of justification, His Lordship said there was not a particle of evidence to prove thab Lord Euston left this country fearing arrest in connection wibh the Cleveland-street case. No evidence had been adduced to attempt to substantiate this allegation, and he was sorry it had been introduced. Five persons were called to state that they saw Lord Euston go in and out of fche house in Cleveland-street. In cases of identity it was necessary that a witness should not only be honest but intelligently observant. The first witness- couid not recognise Lord Euston by his features, but picked him out by tho prosecutor walking two or three ya.'ds along the Court. The second witness, Sinhh, eaid the man they Eaw go into the house was dressed in a dark frock coat, while O'Loughlin, who was with Smith at tho time, said he woro a light grey suit. Tho photographs afterwards shown O'Loughlin depicted Lord Euston ih a grey suit, and it Was subsequent to seeing thafc thab tho witness swore he recognised the prosecutor dt Hyde Park comer as the man seen in Clevelandstreet. Smith know Lord Euston by his trou&ers, which he said were baggy, but yesterday he wore a frock-coat, aud irom where the witness stood the extraordinary trousers—if existing—could not be seen. Then again Lord Euston was 6ft. .in., and the witnesses had spoken ol sft. Bin., a vast diiierence in the height of a man. The two pot-boys or barmen out of work, swore positively to seeing Lord Euston in Cleveland-street, and yet when the inquiry agent called upon thorn they were shown the photograph and asked "ls thafc the man you mean V In all cases it was, better to give witnesses an opportunity of relying upon their own knowledge rather than that the identification should be refreshed by tho sight oi the portrait of tho person sought to be identified. No doubt Mrs Morgan had an opportunity of learning the character of the house in Cleveland-street, but although she had seen 50 or 60 persons enter the house tho witness sv/oro that tho only pereon sho would be able to recognise was Lord Euston. No doubt the jury would have liked to sco the "man with a big stick," who took O'Loughlin to identity Lord Euston: "the little black man who did the same with Mrs Mozgan ; and Captain Webb, whose name had been mentioned. Turning to the evidence of " thab creature Saul," the learned judge eaid a moro melancholy spectacle he had never witnessed. Ho hoped for the honour of the police of this city that ib was not true that they had dealt kindly with him. Lord Euston had said thab Saul's evidence was as foul a perjury as a man could commit. Tho jury would have to ask themselves whether they preferred the oath of a man who had committed crimes confessedly for which he m;ghb be sent to pe.ial servitude (and ho marvelled much thafc no one had suggested that the man should be prosecuted), or that of Lord Euston. The man Saul had stated that ho was now under the care of someone, that he was living on the fat of the land, and that he — the vilest of vile creatures — was allowed to walk abroad. The man had sworn thab in August he gave his statement with regard to Lord Euston to Inspector Abberlino, and if confirmation of it could be obtained ho (the learned judge), as one of the public, had a right to know why a warrant was not at once issued against Lord Eu.-.ton. Failing corroboration of thia creature's tale ib would have been gross cruolby to Lord Euston to act upon ib. Tbe wretch's story had not been spoken to by any other witness. Saul had coupled fche names of Hewitt and Newlove with that of Lord Euston. Hewitt had left the country, whether for good or bad, but'Newlove, although nofc within the sound of his (tho judge's) voice, was within bhe reach of the cab. Why had nofc the diligent inquiry oflice suggested that Newlove should have the photograph shown him? Beside that,not one singly individual who had ever boen connected with ths house in Cleveland-street had been called to speak to seeing Lord Euston in the house. Some of the boys were in the country, and could have been called. Whether high or low, rich or poor, every man was entitled to justice, and to say, "If you make a charge against mo prove it." Another striking fact to bo remembered was thafc since a certain date in 18b7, although Sau' had stated bhat he often saw Lord Euston in Piccadilly, he never had any communication with him; nor being pinched with poverty did he appeal for any money to the man who, if his story was true, was in his power. It was conceded that ib was to the public interest that certain things should be made known, but it was to the last degree inexpedient, unjust, and cruel that matters reflecting seriously upon the character of an individual should be made public unless there Was solid foundation for it. The whole question was whether Lord Euston had been proved a miscreant, or was he entitled to the verdict thafc the case had not been proved.
The jury retired at 1.5, and returned into Court at 1. .5 with a verdict of Guilty, and that the justification was not proved.
In passing sentence, the Judge said that there was never a more atrocious libel. The prisoner had before him nothing more than rumour that Lord Euston had been guilty of an abominable crime, for which he would have been liable to bo sent into penal servitude for life, a sentence which would have been hardly sufficiently expressive of the horror felt ac a gentleman in his position being: guilty of so wicked and grave a crime. The prisoner suggested he had other evidence. He could hardly credit tbe statement, and at least it was shown that the prisoner could place no reliance upon it. A plea which said that others advised the publication ho would never tolerate. He had expressed himself as strongly as a man could do, and he felt compelled to say that he absolutely and entirely agreed with the verdict of the jury. He did not believe it would have been possible to find.in England 12 men who. conscientiously, honestly, and carefully looking ot the evidence, could have come to any other conclusion than that this was a wicked libel, published without any justification, and endeavoured to be supported by testimony absolutely unworthy of credence. He would pass a sentence which, he hoped, besides being a punishment, would be a warning: to others nob to publish $wch libels. The sentence would be one of twelve months' imprisonment.
Tho prisoner, who received his sentence with composure, was then removed to the cells.
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THE CLEVELAND-STREET SCANDAL., Auckland Star, Volume XXI, Issue 54, 6 March 1890
THE CLEVELAND-STREET SCANDAL. Auckland Star, Volume XXI, Issue 54, 6 March 1890
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