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SUPREME COURT-CRIMINAL SITTINGS.

Monday, July 1.

(Before His Honor Mr Justice Williams and Common Juries.) His Honor took his seat at 10 a.m. THE GRAND JURY. The following were empannelled:—Thos. Moodie (foreman), William Robertson, Adam Paterson, Neil M'Lean, James M'Farlane, William Mill, Thomas H. Lusk, Francis G. Lain?, John Hercus, James Hazlett, Henry F. Hardy, Isaac Green, David A. Graham, John A. Duff, James Caffin, Matthew Begg, Latham 0. Beal, jun., and Henry J. Ainger. THE JUDGE'S CHARGE. Mr Foreman and Gentlemen of the Grand Jury,—Your duties this morning, 1 am happy to say, will be exceedingly light. There are only seven prisoners. There are two cases of forgery, two by boyß of housebreaking, a case where two men are charged with robbing a drunken man, and a case where a man is charged with stealing a cow. So far as the last-mentioned case is concerned there seems from the depositions to be some question as to whether it is larceny at all, or whether it is not merely a partnership dispute. However, the depositions will be placed before you, and you will be able to look into the matter for yourselves. None of the cases appear to present any difficulty. If you will retire to your room the bills will be placed before you.

TRUE BILLS. The Grand Jury returned true biils against Otto Reinhe, housebreaking; James Johnson, forgery ; Michael French, uttering a forged cheque; George Paher and John Fitzgerald, larceny.

NO BILLS. The Grand Jury found no true bill in the cases of Alexander Campbell (alleged cattle stealing) and Wiliam Gardner (three charges of housebreaking). . There being no presentment to make, the Grand Jury were thanked for their attendance and discharged at 12.40. INFRINGING THE CONDITIONS*OF A PROBATION

LICENSE. Harry Conn was placed in the dock, having been arrested for non-fulfilment of the conditions of his probation license. The Crown Prosecutor said that he bad no instructions in the matter.

Samuel Charles Phillips, probation officer, examined by His Honor, said that prisoner was placed on probation on the 7oh January last, having pleaded guilty to charges of horse-stealing and larceny. He was put on probation for twelve months, and ordered to pay 2s 6d per week towards the expenses of the prosecution. Under subsection 5, of section 9, of the Probation Act, when a person on probation changed his address be was required to give notice to the officer in charge of the district. This he had not done. He had left this district and gone to the North Taieri district, which was in charge of another officer, without obtaining permission to do so. He had not reported himself since the 6th of April last. He bad twice previously absented himself, and on those occasions had been cautioned. He had also failed to pay any money since the 6th of April, though he had been in work. Bis Honor: Has he been leading an honest life? The Probation Officer: Yes, your Honor, so far as I know. Constableßurnett, the officer in charge of the Hdrfb Ttiwrl district, said thst Conn

had been working as a cowboy at Smith s farm, and receiving 7e 6d per week. The Probation Officer added that the lad had not been following evil courses. He was simply looking for work. His Honor (to prisoner): As you seem to have been trying to get an honest liviug I shall not send you to gaol, but simply extend the term of your probation. If you had complied with the terms imposed on you, your probation would have expired next January. As it is, I shall extend it for four months longer, and you will have to take care that during that time —during the ten months from bow —you comply with the conditions cf your license, and let the Probation Officer know where you are. If yon neglect that you will get into serious trouble. You will have to pay the halfcrown per week you were called upon to pay, and if you move about from place to place you must give the constable notice of jjour movements. You will remain on probation for a term of ten months from this date, and you will have to pay 2a 6d per week during that time towards the expenses of your prosecution. In other respects the terms of your probation will be the same as before. HOUSEBREAKING. Otto Beinke was charged with breaking and entering the dwelling of James Sutherland on the 19th June, and stealing therefrom several articles.

Prisoner, who gave hi 3 age as fourteen years, pleaded guilty, and had nothing to say why sentence should not bo passed upon him.

The Crown Prosecutor said that prisoner was a native of Victoria, and had been in the Industrial School here. He was convicted on the 15th February, ISSB, of stealing from a dwelling-house, and was sentenced to three months' hard labor ; on the 17th April, 1888, he was convicted of housebreaking, and received a sentence of nine months' hard labor; and on the 16th March, 1889, he was again convicted of housebreaking, and received a sentence of seven days' hard labor. Elijah Titchener, master of the Industrial School, narrated the boy's history since he was committed to the School on the 13th January, 18S7. He was ordered to remain there until he attained the age of fifteen years. He absconded on the 12th September, ISS7, was arrested by the Lawrence police, and returned to the School on the 28th September of that year; absconded again on the 6th June, 1887, was arrested at Lawrence, and brought back on the 24th of the same month; absconded again on the 4th December, 1887 ; was arrested at Gore on the 15th March, 1888, and sentenced to three months' for larceny ; absconded from the School again on the 10th February, 1889, was brought back on the 22nd March ; absconded again on the 15th June, 1889, since when witness had not seen him until he was brought to Court. It was the boy's boast that he wished to spend his time in gaol. His Honor: Has he ever been flogged ? Witness: No, your Honor. His Honor: Do you ever use corporal punishment in the School ? Witness: No, your Honor, wo do not.

After consideration, His Honor said that if the boy had been flogged in the first place it would have done him good, and there would probably have been no more trouble with him. Ho could stand down for the present He (His Honor) would consider what should be done in tbe matter. FORGERY. Jama Johnson alias Molloy alias Larery (42) was charged with forging and uttering a cheque for L 7 on the Bauk of New Zoaland.

Prisoner pleaded guilty to tho minor count of uttering. Tho Crown Prosecutor: I will accept that. I cannot provo tho forgery, though no dottbt he did it.

In answer to His Honor, The Crown Prosecutor said that prisoner was a laborer, and arrived here from Ireland in 1873. On the 15th January, 1888, he was convicted on two charges of forgery and sentenced to twelve months' on each charge, the sentences to run concurrently. The only other conviction against him was on a charge of drunkenness. His Honor sentenced prisoner to two years' imprisonment with hard labor.

ANOTHER CHARGE OF FORGERY. Michael French was charged that on the 22nd November, 188S, ho forged a cheque for LA 15s on the Colonial Bank of New Zealand at Lawrence. Prisoner, who pleaded not guilty, was not represented by counsel. The Crown Prosecutor said that the indictment just read contained lour counts, but in reality it meant simply this: that the prisoner was indicted in one set of counts with forging a cheque, and in the other Bet with uttering the same knowing it to be forged. The cheque purported to be signed by John Carr. The facts of the case were these: That on the 20th November prisoner went to the Clifton Hotel at Beaumont, then kept by David Haugh, and asked Haugh to lend him a blank cheque. He (prisoner) said that he was acquainted with Mr Henderson, a storekeeper there, and that he thought he could raise a few , pounds if he got the cheque cashed. Haugh gave prisoner a blank cheque from his own cheque-book. Having got the form, prisoner went to one Mills, a laborer, and asked him as to the name of the manager of the Beaumont Station. Mills must have been an Irishman, for he called Kerr "Carr," and the consequence was that the name put upon the cheque was as Mr Mills pronounced it, instead of " Kerr," which was the name intended to be put upon it. Prisoner also asked Mills as to the Christian name of the manager of the Beaumont Station, and was told it was John. He (prisoner) said that he wished to write a letter to the manager. Prisoner must have next filled up the cheque, or got someone to fill it up for him, because on the following day he went to Rae's Junction Hotel and there saw Jane Stevenson, a servant at the hotel, and tendered her the cheque. He said that he had been working on the Beaumont Station for seven weeks. The girl took the cheque to Mrs Rae, who was in bed, and returned with the money. All that Mrs Rae got out of the cheque was the price of one meal. Mr Kerr would say that he did not know prisoner, who had never worked at the station; that there was no other Kerr in the district; and that the cheque produced was not in his handwriting—that in fact he did not keep an account at the bank on which the cheque was drawn. Evidence in support of the oponing was given by David Haugh, Edward Mills, and Jane Stevenson. While the last-mentioned witness was under cross-examination by prisoner she said that at the hearing of the case at Lawrence she did not at first identify the prisoner as the man she had seen in the hotol—that she said at first that she was not sure, but that Sergeant Green told her that that would not do, that she must be sure, and that she then said accused was the man. In answer to His Honor, witness said that j she was now sure that prisoner was the man who brought the cheque. Sergeant Green, in the course of his evidence, denied that he had in any way suggested to Miss Stevenson that prisoner was the man they wanted, Isabella Rae and John H. Kerr were also examined by the Crown Prosecutor. Prisoner, addressing the jury, said that he had not been at the Beaumont for ten years. He contended that the evidence against him was nothing more than this: that the witnesses, seeing him in custody, had come to the conclusion that ho must be and was the guilty person. His Honor having summed up, the jury retired at 1.27 p.m., and returned at 1.40 with a verdict of " Guilty." Prisoner, on being challenged, gave his age aB 42. He had nothing to say why sentence should not be passed. The Crown Prosecutor said that prisoner had two aliases: John Hogan and James Mitchell, He was also known as Michael French, the name under which he had been now .convicted. He arrived here from Ireland in 1874. On the 17th December, 1880, he was convicted of being illegally on the premises, and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment; on the 4th January, 1882, he was sentenced to three years' penal servitude for. burglary; and on the 9th December, 1884, he was convicted of housebreaking and larceny, and was sentenced to five years' penal servitude. He had only got out of Mount Cook in September, after

serving that last sentence, and in November committed the present offence. His Honor (to prisoner): The sentence of the Court is that you be kept to penal servitude in the colony of New 7ealand for the term of four years. LARCENY. George Paher and John Fitzgerald were charged with stealing L 6, the property of Archibald Baxter. There was a second count against Fitzgerald of receiving the money, knowing it to have been stolen. Mr Stanford appeared for Palser; Mr E. Cook for Fitzgerald. Both pleaded not guilty. The Crown Prosecutor said that the facts were as follows: The prosecutor, Archibald Baxter, was a dairyman living at Henley, Ho came into town on the b'tli April last, and had at that time in his possession a cheque on the Colonial Bank for L2O lis 6d. He went to the bank and got the cheque cashed, receiving two L5-notes, ten Bingles, and lis 6d in silver. He remained in Caversham and about town until the following Tuesday, on which day he came into town, and while walking down Manse street he saw Palser standing at the door of the back part of Wain's Hotel—the part kept by a man named Wilson. Palser spoke to prosecutor, and the latter recognised Palser as a man with whom he had been shearing some months before. Prosecutor stopped and talked with Palser. The latter suggested that they should have a drink, and they went into Wilson's. Palser said he had no money, and that prosecutor would have to pay for the drink. Prosecutor did so. Shortly afterwards Fitzgerald came in. Prosecutor did not know him, but through Palser they got into conversation and had some drink together. Fitzgerald said that he ateo had no money, and he proposed that prosocutor should lend him LI, representing that there was money owing to him by a man named Williams, of Green Island, and adding that he (Fitzgerald) would give prosecutor an order on Williams for that amount. Prosecutor could not say whether that order was or was not given; if he received it he must have lost it. The three men had'several drinks, and prosecutor got drunk and did not know anything else that happened excepting this: that later on in the same day he found that his pocketbook, which earlier in tbe day had contained his money, was empty. Other people, however, would come forward and take up the story from the time prosecutor lost his senses. It would be told that after the men left Wilson's Hotel, between throe and four o'clock in the afternoon, they went to Owen's Ship Inn in company. After being there for a short time Palser went for a cab, in which they drove to a brothel in Moray place. There they had more drink, and Fitzgerald proposed that he and prosecutor should wrestle together; and in order to do so Fitzgerald and Baxter threw off their coats. Baxter's coat contained his pocketbook ; and he threw it over the back of a chair. Palser took this coat on his knee; and Julia Collins, one of the women belonging to the house, saw .Palser take the pocket-book out of the coat and take out of it something which she believed to be bonk notes, and then close the pocket-book and replace it in the pocket. She told Falser he had no business to touch the man's pocketbook, but he did so, and shortly afterwards they all left the house together. The prisoners, by their own account had had no money previously— Palser had not enough to pay for a drink, and Fitzgerald had to borrow LI; yet these two men were seen together later in the evening, and in possession of for them a very considerable amount of money. They first went into a shop in George street and one of them thero changed a L 5 Colonial Bank noteofthesamedenomination as thatof which prosecutor had been robbed. Then they went and did a little shopping on their own account, providing themselves with necessaries, and it would bo shown that the amount of money which they were traced to have spent that evening amounted to nearly the amount of which prosecutor had been robbed. It was not an extraordinary case; it was one of the type they had every session—of a man found in possession of a sum of money being made to drink until he was quite stupid, then being taken to a place where he could be conveniently eased, and then let go. The only peculiarity about this case was that the brothel in which the robbery was committed happened to contain an honest woman, and she told what had taken place instead of leaving it to be inferred, as was very frequently the case. A good deal would depend upon the evidence of this woman Julia Collins. An attempt would probably be made to throw doubt upon her evidence, on account of her belonging to such a place; but it would be for the jury to say what credence should be given to her statement, and in doing this they would judgo of her story by the light of other facts which would come out in evidence. The witnesses called for the Crown were —Archibald Baxter (prosecutor), Dr Barclay (called to testify to the illncßS of Constable Crawford, whose depositions were read), Humphrey Sydney Thomson (cabman), Julia Collins, James Hendry, Robert M'Naughton, and Alfred Masters. The last-named witness was under examination when we went to press.

WELLINGTON. Judge Richmond, in his address to the Grand Jury, said that- the chief oases of interest were charges against a farmer of burning his own staeks, with alleged intent to defraud an insurance company, which came under the heading of arson ; robbery of a safe from the Feilding Post Office j and the Kaiwarra murder. It was many years since so grave an offence as the latter occurred in this district. The only question would be Who did it ? He would not attempt to go into the evidence, believing that it would be better to be silent on the subject. The jury would have to confine themselves to such evidence as was brought before them, as developed before the Resident Magistrate. The case was one of circumstantial evidence only. In raoßt murder cases of the worst class there was seldom an eye-witness, and the evidence was therefore purely circumstantial. The charge of trying to pass a silvered penny as half a crown, preferred against Henry Duncan and Emily Olsen, is proceeding. _^__^__^__^_

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Bibliographic details

SUPREME COURT-CRIMINAL SITTINGS., Issue 7947, 1 July 1889

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SUPREME COURT-CRIMINAL SITTINGS. Issue 7947, 1 July 1889

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