SUPREME COURT-CRIMINAL SESSIONS.
Monday, October 7. ; [(Before His Honor Mr Justice Williams.) PERJURY. Georr/e Wallace was indicted for having at Dunedin, on April 30, committed perjury during the hearing at the City Police Court of a case of alleged stealing. Mr Haggitt, with him Mr Solomon, appeared for the prosecution; Mr E. Cook defended. The Crown Prosecutor, in opening the case for tho Crown, said: In tho prsaent case the accused Wallace laid an information for cattle stealing against tho prosecutor, Alexander Campbell, which charge was heard before Justices in the ordinary way. On that charge Campbell was committed fo" trial; but the Grand Jury threw out the bill, and he subsequently instituted proceedings for perjury against the present accused. On the occasion of the prosecution of Campbell the defence was that the heifer alleged to have been stolen was the joint property of Campbell and Wallace, as they were in partnership in cattle transactions, and therefore that Campbell could not be guilty. It would be seen from this that it was most material on Mr Campbell’s side to establish such partnership, as if established the prosecution must fail. The accused on that occasion swore point-blank, In reply to straight questions put to him by Mr Solomon, that there never had been any partnership whatever between himself and Campbell at any time, and that there was no foundation for the assertion that there had been such partnership, as there were no joint transactions at all between them. The indictment which had been read picked out certain assertions made by the present defendant in the evidence he gave before the Police Court, and alleged that these pieces of evidence were absolutely false. The particular pieces of evidence picked from the evidence given by Wallace were as follows:—“It is not a fact that for a considerable time past accused and I have been dealing in horses,and cattle in partnership.” “It is not a fact that it was a common thing for the accused and myself to have cattle at the saleyards, and when sold for me to draw the money.” “I deny daving any partnership or joint transactions with the accused.” “ I deny that I ever had transactions in partnership with Campbell in dairy cattle.” The jury might reduce the whole tiling to an inquiry into the
existence of the partnership or joint dealing with cattle between the present prosecutor Campbell and the accused Wallace; and into the question : Did Wallace, in the evidence he gave before the Court on tho occasion referred to, when lie charged Campbell with cattle stealing—did Wallace falsely swear that there were ho such joint transactions as it was alleged existed between himself and Campbell? As to the materiality of this evidence, His Honor would direct the jury, and that was really tho only other question involved. There would be no difficulty in proving that AVallacc had sworn as alleged in tho indictment, the statements being in the depositions taken at the time, and read over to and signed by the accused immediately after tho evidence Was given ; so that practically the only question for the jury was the truth or falsehood of what Wallace hMI sworn, and that point the jury Wild decide upon the evidence.
Tho following witnesses wore examined on behalf of the prosecution John Logan, J.P. ; H. H. 6. Ralfe, clerk of the Police Court; Alexander Campbell, the prosecutor; and R. Chisholm, J.P.
At 6 p.m. the Court adjourned until ten o’clock this morning.
D. C. Monteith, for horse stealing, was sentenced to two years’ hard labor. John Southie (alleged altering and uttering an order for payment of money) was acquitted. The bill against George Harris and Wir'omu liutuua (malicious injury) was thrown out. CHRISTCHURCH.
Judge Pcnnistou made these references to the changes in tho law of evidence made during the last session: —“ Aa you may bo aware, an Act comes into force, unless it itself contains some provision to the... Contrary, on the day it receives the Governor’s assent that is, the Riiitant it becomes an Act. This Criminal Evidence Act was assented to on September IG. Now, it so happened that on that day I was holding a criminal sitting of this Court in Hokitika. I was therefore supposed to be administering this Act at a time when I did not and could not know of its existence as an Act, much lees its provisions. Had anyone then being tried been undefended by counsel, it would have been my duty to have read to him a formula contained in the Act, and given him the option of giving his evidence on oath. Fortunately there was no conviction, or a very serious difficulty would have existed, and might have led to awkward consequences. In all the Justices of tho Peace Courts in the colony a similar anomaly exists in connection with another Act of the same session. By the Offences Against the Person Act, 1889, an important alteration has been made in the law raising the age of consent in certain crimes. This Act also came Into operation the very day it became law in Wellington. Now, it is a legal presumption that everyone knows tho law, and therefore that ignorance of the law does not excuse its breach. A man therefore might be convicted for doing something which, however immoral, ho could not have known to bo a Crime when he did it. I think it is not too much to ask that when important changes are made in the administration of the criminal law and new crimes created by statute, that such Acts should not come into operation until after such a lapse of time as would make it at least physically possible that those who have to administer the law, and those who may be punished for breaking it, should know of their existence. I think myself justified, gentlemen, as one called on to administer the criminal law in this colony, to take this, the only formal occasion open to me, to publicly draw attention to these considerations. ” The following convictions were recorded ; —James Stewart, forgery (two cases), four years; Charles Hillary Parker (five charges), forgery, nine months ; Joseph Rainshaw, horse stealing, nine months ; Mark Bayliss, false pretences f two cases), two years; Dennis Murphy, alias Patrick Shine, unlawfully wounding, six months; Edmond Reynolds, larceny, five years; Walter Ullmer, breaking into and stealing, two years. W. Milligan, convicted of larceny, had his sentence deferred.
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SUPREME COURT-CRIMINAL SESSIONS., Evening Star, Issue 8032, 8 October 1889
SUPREME COURT-CRIMINAL SESSIONS. Evening Star, Issue 8032, 8 October 1889
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