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Without commenting generally on the conditions contributing to crime in the province, Mr. Justice Cornish, in charging the Grand Jury when opening the criminal session of the Supreme Court to-day, briefly outlined the number and class of indictments to be considered.

There were, he said, 27 indictments to go before he jury. The most numerous class of offence included those such as theft, breaking and entering, receiving and false pretences —crimes against property— which were twelve in number. Then there were offences against the person, one class • being of a sexual nature, of which tnere were eight. The second class of such offences embraced negligent driving causing death, failing to stop after an accident, manslaughter and attempted murder. There was one indictment of each of this class.

A third class of crime that might be described as offences against law and order and good government generally, was represented on the list, said his Honor. There was an indictment for obtaining money by menaces, fortunately a very rare offence in this country, in which it was alleged that two men, said to be Government <officials, corruptly used their power for the purpose of getting money. There was an indictment against a woman of using indecent language, and she had elected to be tried by a jury. Finally, there was an indictment for bookmaking. Most Serious Cases Proceeding to the particular indictments and taking the most serious first, his Honor outlined the evidence in a charge of attempted murder against a farmer in the Dargaville district, who was alleged to have attacked a sharemilker with a knife after they had had an altercation. There was, he said, a suggestion that the accused man suffered from epileptic fits, but that was a matter wnich need not concern the Grand Jury, who would have little difficulty in finding a true bill.

In respect to an indictment of manslaugnter against a Maori, following tne death of a European in a melee in the Dargaville district, his Honor also expressed the view that the jury would have little difficulty in finding that accused should go to trial.

Alleged Aeroplane Theft

Commenting separately on the evidence presented, his Honor said there was a remarkable case of a young man -charged with the theft of an aeroplane. The depositions showed that the accused, feeling frustrated at getting nowhere in the Air Force, had got into a civil passenger plane with the idea of a dramatic flight to Australia. He had crashed and the plane had been destroyed. It seemed to his Honor that it was not a case for a true bill on the indictment of theft, but rather for one on the alternative count of unlawfully converting the plane to his own use.

All other indictments on the list, his Honor suggested, were such as should go forward to the common jury for trial. . .

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Bibliographic details

CRIMINAL SESSION, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

Word Count

CRIMINAL SESSION Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

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