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THE COSTLEY HOME CASE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 76, 30 March 1909
THE COSTLEY HOME CASE.
BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY.
The case in which an inmate of the Costley Home named William Law charged William Bannerman, the manager, with assault _pn or about August 9th, was continued yesterday afternoon before Mr. Kettle, S.M. Mr.'liundon appeared for the defence, the charge being laid as indictable. In further cross-examination, the complainant said that when, he was seized and dragged to the bath-room, the other inmates of the ward said! nothing and ' did not come to 'his assistance. After the bath, Simpson brought in a new "rig-out," but witness refused to put them on, saying he had plenty of his own. Walter Lowell, an ex-inmate of the Home, describing the occurrence, said that he drew Simpson's attention to the dirty state of Law's trousers, and the attendant procured a clean pair. When asked to change, the complainant refused. TThe manager was summoned, and he and Simpson took Law to the bath. Law resisted, and on returning to the ward after the bath, appeared to be none the worse for his experience. Law had never been neglectful so far as baths were concerned, for on account of his disease he took three or four baths a week, though this might not have been known to the manager. Thomas Walters, an inmate of the Home, said that on the day in question there was no necessity for Law being compulsorily bathed. The complainant was a rather short tempered man. Mr. Bannerman had asked witness to look specially a-fter Law on account of his blindness. George Croft, formerly an attendant at the Costley Home, Patrick Feely and Charles Frakott gave evidence. Feely stated that the complainant was the worst swearer in the institution. Frankott said the informant was a quiet and well-behaved man, and that was more than he could say for the manager. "Yes," said Mr. Kettle, "you have evidently got your knife into the manager." The informant intimated that he did not wish to call any more evidence. Several other witnesses had been subpoenaed for the prosecution, and Mr. Lundon «aid he proposed to call them as the defendant had come without anj' witnesses -whatever. Henry Mills declared that when Law was asked to have a bath he become very abusive and refused. No more force was used to convey him to the bath than Avas reasonably necessary. Witness complained that Law's language was very objectionable. Richard Cahill referred in his evidence to the language which Law was in the hr.bit of using. He saw him on one occasion flourishing a knife at the table. John Simpson, head-attendant, said that for eight years before going to the C'ostley Homo he had been at the Mental Hospital, which he had left with good recommendations. On the day in question his attention was directed to Law on account of his dirty clothing. When witness asked if he had had a bath the informant wanted to know "what the that has to do with you." He refused to have a bath, so witness summoned the manager. Law again refused to wash, so he was taken by force to the bath-room. He would not undress, and witness and the manager disrobed and bathed him. The informant was not struck by the defendant and was treated with no unnecessary violence. Ili> was supplied with new and clean clothing, which he refused to put on until per.-uaded by witness, who was not aware at the time that the complainant had bathed himself a. few days before. All they required was that each man had at least one bath a fortnight. Dr. King, medical officer for the Costley Home, said that Law suffered from locomotor ataxia and was also blind. Excitability was one of the symptoms of his disease, nnd ppople suffering from this complaint were subject to "nerve storms." If the informant did not bath, he would have to be kept cleanly by force, but otherwise he should not be compulsorily bathed. He made no complaint to witness of any ill-treat-ment. The further hearing was adjourned until to-morrow morning. When the, case was called on this morning. Mr Lundon said he proposed to call the Rev. Budd. The complainant in his evidence had said that the manager had a set on him because he (Law) said that the defendant had been the cause of the death of an old man. The complainant also stated that he had told the Rev. Budd of tliis, and Mr Lundon proposed to test the veracity of the statement. Mr Kettle: You can if you like, but the whole question I have to decide is whether in law, an assault was committed. Rev. C. Budd, Church of England, chaplain to the Costley Home, said he hnd no recollection of Law having told him that the manager had been responsible for the death of an old man. Witness did not remember Law complaining of any assault or ill-treatment. In an institution like the Costley Home, -where there were over 200 old people, one heard of all sorts of complaints, but in the event of any serious statement, he always made a note of them. Vassal! Cox, an ex-inmate of the Home, said that Mr Banncrman's treatment of every one in the place was most kind. William Bannerman. manager of the Costley Home, said that Law had been twice an inmate. There had been trouble with him on account of his language. With regard to the bath incident he was summoned to No. 4 ward by the head attendant, who was in charge of the bathing arrangements. Witness asked Law why. he would not take a bath, and the complainant replied: "What has that got to do with you?" He reasoned with the man and tried to persuade him to go quietly, but Law remained obdurate and his refusal was couched in extremely impolite terms. From his appearance witness judged that he required a bath, and with Simpson's assistance ! he was taken to the bath-room. Law resisted and became abusive, refusing to undress. His clothes were taken off, and he was lifted into a warm bnth after which witness got him a new clean outfit. Mr Lundon: This incident was reported to the Board? —Yes. Mr Law made his complaint, and it was heard by the committee. What happened? —The matter was considered and the committee were of opinion that there was nothing in the complaint. The hearing was adjourned until later in the day. The examination of the defendant was resumed later in the morning. H<. stated that he had no knowledge of the that Law had been bathing himself on various days prior to this incident. The informant told him nothing about it, but judging by his appearance a bath was necessary. Witness was authorised by the Board to see that the batfiing regulations were carried out, as some of the inmates
endeavoured to shirk them. This was the only occasion since -witness had "been at the Home that an inmate had had to be compulsorily bathed. He denied the statement that he had struck Law or used violent language to him, and that could be proved by the fact that he was never alone with the man. No more force was used in taking the informant to the bath than was absolutely necessary. When the evidence was concluded, Mr. Lundon said he wished to draw hi 9 Worship's attention to the fact that this was an indictable charge*. Mr. Kettle: I am quite aware of that. Mr. Lundon: I have no hesitation in stating that these proceedings should not have, been taken in an indictable form. To take a prosecution in this way is a scandalous misuse of the criminal procedure. Mr. Kettle agreed that, owing to the lapse of time he had no power to dead with the case summarily.. The whole question, however, was one of law, and Whether this man had been assaulted. The whole question was whether the officials had power to compulsorily bath him. He intended to recall the informant to find out why these proceedings were not taken at an earlier date. Mr. Lundon: Then your Worship proposes to commit? Mr. Kettle: I have not said anything of the kind. The Court adjourned until 2.15 p.m. (Continued on Page 2.)
THE COSTLEY HOME CASE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 76, 30 March 1909
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