Permanent link to this item
THE WAITARA SENSATION., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 67, 19 March 1909
THE WAITARA SENSATION.
PROSECUTION CLOSED. THE QUESTION OF SANITY. jßy Telegraph.—Frees Association.) NEW PLYMOUTH, Thursday. Evidence for the prosecution was continued in the Supreme Court to-day in the case in which Dr. Goode, of Waitara, is charged with having murdered M>6. Klenner. Charles Stone, painter, of Waitara, described the arrest, and also gave evidence regarding the finding of the revolver in accused's surgery. Accused was very violent and excited, particularly when he saw Constable Price. Constable Mclvor deposed that he and Stone entered Goode's house by the surgery door. Three other men Were with them. "When the door was broken in Goode was standing about sft or 6ft from it. He had a revolver in his right hand, which was raised in the a-ir. Accused was just lowering his right hand to a firing position when -witness rushed at him and caught him round the waist. Accused's right hand fell on witness' shoulder, and something fell on the floor. Accused asked, "What in the name of heaven, does this mean?" Witness threw him on the sofa, saying, ''You're my prisoner." He was carried outside handcuffed, and taken to Waitara police station in a dray. A little later witness returned to ■G-oode's house, and took possession of the revolver produced. It was loaded. Witness lit a lamp and then examined the revolver, and took five cartridges out of it. At the police station accused was very excited, but recognised everyone who 'came in. When he saw Constable Price he was more than ever excited, ifc objected to his injuries being dressed. Mr. West: As a matter of fact, some IS months ago you had some trouble with him in Xew Plymouth? Witness: That is so: I had some trouble in getting him away from one of the hotels while he was drunk. Resuming, witness said accused appeared rational, and did not seem to be mentally der.inged. Accused asked at the Waitara police station why he had been arrested, and Detective Bod-darn told him it was for shooting a woman. Accused replied. "I never shot anybody. 1 would not do anybody any harm." Mr. Skerrett: Did he appear to you, from his demeanour, to be at a los 3 to understand what all the commotion was about? AVitness (after slight hesitation) : Yes, I think he was. I3id he refer to the tragedy which had just occurred? —No. Dr. H. B. Leatham. medical superintendent of the Xew Plymouth Hospital, saw Dr. Goode soon after his admission to the hospital on December 21. Accused remained in the hospital about a month. A bullet was removed from an abscess cavity under the accused's jaw. Witness saw accused in the hospital on the morning after his arrest, when Mrs. Klenner's depositions were taken. He looked dishevelled, harassed, and wild, and seemed very ill. He had decided manifestations of chronic alcoholism. Witness did not refer to the tragedy to accused. It struck witness by accused's demeanour that he did not realise his position. After his immediate illness accused ate well and smoked and read. He was very quiet and said very little. Mr. Skerrett: Is family history of importance in the determining of whether a person is insane or not? Witness: Yes. Family history is of the greatest importance in estimating whether a person is insane. A family taint begets an instability of mind which predisposes to an attack of insanity. Is alcoholism one of the most common causes of exciting insanity in of this type?— Yes. Approximately 30 per cent, of these cases are due to alcoholism. To Mr. Skerrett: Alcohol affected all the nervous organism. Chronic alcoholism upon a subject in a family with a neurotic or insane taint is apt to produce serious consequences. These consequences were gradual, the encroachment of mental weakness and the gradual weakening of memory, powers of perception, will power, business capacity, decision and judgment. Alcoholics frequently were very susceptible and unnaturally suspicious, became untruthful, and unnaturally quarrelsome (particularly so with their best friends and those who tried to assist them). Delusions of persecution were very common in these cases. Mr. Skerrett: When a person suffers from chronic alcoholism, with a history of hereditary insanity and with delusions of persecution and of being watched, would you expect such a person to develop homicidal impulses? Witness: I may say it is recognised that sudden homicidal impulses may occur or are likely to occur in a person suffering from delusions of persecution. In answer to further questions by Mr. Skerrett witness said it is known that sudden attacks of homicidal impulses may occur in a person who may not afterwards be aware of any violent act that may have been conflnitted during such attacks. An impulsive act by a person suffering in the way described was similar to the homicidal impulse that sometimes follows an attack of epilepsy, and an epileptic may be subject to sudden attacks of violence, and be unconscious of it afterwards. Witness believed it to be recognised that similar conditions may cxi.st in cases of alcoholic degeneration. It was a fact that there are people going about their daily work in a condition of mental degeneracy, who had delusions of persecution. It was not inconsistent w-ith insanity for the subject to recognise persons and places. To the jury: Chronic alcoholism was often spasmodic. When Mrs. Klenner's depositions were taken in the hospital Dr. Goode stood perfectly quiet, but witness could not say whether he understood it all. To Mr. Weston: Witness did not observe any symptoms of insanity in accused. He made no special point of investigating his mental condition. ° DR. GOODE'S MEMORY. y Dr. D. S. Wylie, of New Plymouth, gave evidence as to the treatment of the wound in Dr. Goode's throat, from which the bullet (produced) was afterwards extracted. The wound bore the appearance of having been caused at close quarters. Accused looked very ill when witness was called in to see him. His condition of bodily illness would be accounted for by septic inflammation from the wound. The nature of the wound was quite consistent with a shot having been fired by accused himself. Accused's appearance indicated chronic alcoholism. Having examined him as regards his physical condition, witness examined his mental condition, He asked accused to describe what took place on the day of the tragedy, and he said he had no recollection of the events of that day. He did not remember getting up that morning, nor did he remember going to bed the night before. The last event on the preceding day he remembered was seeing a patient in his
surgery about midday. As regards the events or the day of the tragedy, the accused told him the first clear recollection he had was of people breaking into his house. After that he did not seem to remember much until he found himself in the police station at Waitara, when, as he said, he looked up and saw his "old enemy Claridge at the other end of the room." Proceeding, witness said: I did not pursue my investigations further that day, as he is a man who bore no goodwill to mc, and I did not wish to arouse bis anger. During my conversation with him he spoke in what may be described as a generally confused manner. His eyes showed no signs of gross organic brain disease. Subsequent to his admission to the hospital, and particularly after the performance of the second operation of December 30, I had daily opportunities of seeing and talking to him. During this time, from things he said, one gathered the impression that he regarded himself as an ill-used man. He looked forward to his trial, or rather to proceedings in the Magistrate's Court. He seemed to have no doubt that everything would be cleared up satisfactorily, and that he would be able again to practise in Waitara. During his stay in hospital, particularly during the later weeks he was there, he behaved to outward apppaninees very much as an ordinary convalescent would. His appetite was unimpaired, he slept well, read during the daytime, and smoked at intervals, and generally gave one the impression that he did not realise the gravity of his position. During conversations "he manifested definite delusions of persecution. He said certain pprsons had conspired to ruin him. As a further example of how far these delusions of persecution pervaded him, he said: "I know why Dr. Claridge came to Waitara. He was sent there by Valintine. I said. "What do you mean? What has Valintine got to do with it?" His reply was that Dr. Valintine sent Dr. Claridge there to get even with him (Goode) ovw some occurrence or difference, between them which had taken place some years ago. In answer to a question, witness said his examination never led him to doubt that Goode's statement of the events of December 14 was anything else but true. There was no suggestion of feigning or pretence. Throughout the whole period he manifested no remorse, and did not seem to realise his position. Mr Skerrett: To what conclusion does your examination alone lead you as to Dr. Goode's sanity on December 14 last? Dr. Wylie: My only conclusion is that 1 regard the man as insane on that date. He was not capable on that day of knowing the nature and quality of the act or of knowing that the act was wrong. Mr. Skerrett: Would you be assisted in your opinion by knowing that Dr. Goode's brother died in a mental hospital? Dr Wylie: Yes. Because I know that an hereditary taint of the nervous system is a powerful predisposing factor in the causation of insanity. Mr. Skerrett: Is alcoholism such an exciting cause? Witness: Undoubtedly. What functions does alcohol first attack as a rule?—lt is an axiom that alcohol attacks first of all the highest and most specialised functions of the brain; in other words, alcohol is one of those poisons which has, what we call a highly selective action, affecting the higher functions first and the lower functions afterwards. Witness, in answer to a rurther question, said that as regards the action of alcohol, and especially that of spirits, upon the higher sense of the brain, it was known that people accustomed to taking large quantities of alcohol ha/c been subject to curious brain conditions similar to those met with in epilepsy, resulting in a victim doing things, and even committing crimes, without having any recollection of them afterwards. His opinion as to the sanity of this man would be confirmed by the delusion that he was being watched. The doctor's kindly nature and the impulsiveness of this act would tend to confirm his opinion. Degeneracy of the brain caused by alcohol was a slow and progressive disease. Persons affected by brain degeneracy from alcohol were especially liable to homicidal impulses, more particularly when they had delusions of persecution. Such persons were of the most dangerous class of insane. Accused's alleged abusive remarks to the deceased woman, and his alleged request of ncr, were highly consistent with disease of the brain. At first he thought accused was malingering when he said he had no knowledge of the events of December 14, but subsequent investigations proved his first impression was incorrect. It was a matter of common knowledge in Waitara that Dr. Goode went about declaring people were endeavouring to ruin him and oust him from Waitara. He was undoubtedly suffering from chronic alcoholic insanity. In reply to Mr. Weston, Dr. Wylie agreed that alcoholism had the effect ot increasing the sensual passions or lessening the control of them. Mr. Weston contended that a drunken man must accept full responsibility for his crime. ! Mr. Skerrett: I don't knr w that that is j the law. your Honor. ! His Honor: I am going to direct the! jury that it is. Mr. Weston: So you say, Dr. Wylie, this man was in no way responsible lor the act of killing this woman? Dr. Wylie: I do. Detective Boddam repeated the testimony given by him in the lower Court. Cross-examined, he said be did say at the inquest, in reply to a question by a juror, that Dr. Goode had asked why he was arrested, and witness had replied, '"You shot a woman." Accused became very excited. It was quite evident to him that accused's mind was deranged then, and it would be wrong to formally charge him with the offence. Accused talked all sorts of rubbish. Dr. H. A. McClelland, gaol surgeon, deposed that at the time of his first examination of accused at the gaol on Dexem- j her 15 he appeared fairly rational, but was suffering from the effects of excessive alcoholism. Though answering questions rationally enough, he seemed in a semidazed condition. There were wounds on his head and throat. Accused explained, " That is the way those d— policemen have knocked mc about. They tried to murder mc." Goode said he could not remember anything prior to his capture, but he could remember most things after that. In the hospital accused told him he believed the wound in his throat was a bullet wound, but did not know how it got there. Mr. Skerrett: I believe you attended Dr. Goode seven years ago? Dr. McClelland" Yes. He was ma 4 drunk, cursing, swearing, yelling and threatening to shoot mc and everybody else. After some persuasion and the use of some force I injected morphia into his arm and quietened him. Sidney George Middleton, gaoler at New Plymouth, said that one morning accused asked him to see the police with a view to getting a revolver that " that woman had in her house." This closed the c»se for the prosecution,
Mr. Weston said that if Mr. Skerrett Intended bo call scientific testimony as to accused's mental state, he wished to reserve the right of calling rebutting evidence. Mr. Skerrett announced that he would lead such evidence.
THE WAITARA SENSATION., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 67, 19 March 1909
Fairfax Media is the copyright owner for the Auckland Star. You can reproduce in-copyright material from this newspaper for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons New Zealand BY-NC-SA licence . This newspaper is not available for commercial use without the consent of Fairfax Media. For advice on reproduction of out-of-copyright material from this newspaper, please refer to the Copyright guide.
This newspaper was digitised in partnership with Auckland Libraries.
Papers Past now contains more than just newspapers. Use these links to navigate to other kinds of materials.
These links will always show you how deep you are in the collection. Click them to get a broader view of the items you're currently viewing.
Enter names, places, or other keywords that you're curious about here. We'll look for them in the fulltext of millions of articles.
Browsed to an interesting page? Click here to search within the item you're currently viewing, or start a new search.
Use these buttons to limit your searches to particular dates, titles, and more.
Switch between images of the original document and text transcriptions and outlines you can cut and paste.
Print, save, zoom in and more.
If you'd rather just browse through documents, click here to find titles and issues from particular dates and geographic regions.
The "Help" link will show you different tips for each page on the site, so click here often as you explore the site.