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MR PLAIN'S DEATH

NATURAL CAUSES. CHARGE OF MANSLAUGHTER IMS MISSED. Tim inquest on the body of George Brain, aged 58 years, who died in the bar of the Gladstone Hotel on Monday night from meningeal hemorrhage, was continued this ir.ou;irig before Mr C'. G. Graham (coroner). A young man named Ernest Dallas was arm ted after the occurrence on a charge «•' manslaughter, and was present in custody at the inquiry. It should be stated that the evidence' of Dr Church at the initial inquiry was that the hemorrhage was? the cause and not the result of deceased's fall. Mr A. C. Hanlon appeared for the licensee (Mr Collins), and Mr IV. L. Moore for the prisoner. Richard Torrance (barman at the hotel) said that deceased had one pint cf beer when he came in. Dallas came in a little later. The first thing that attracted witness’s attention was when he heard Praia say something to Dallas about going to tin 1 front. Witness was called away, and on returning he saw Prain very excited standing opposite Dallas. Then Prain put out his hand on Dallas so that Dallas staggered back, anil immediately Prain fell, backwards i-n tire doer. He saw no blow Truck. They lifted Prain nmd put him in a chair—quite unconscious. There was a slight gurgling iu his throat. Afterwards ho was lifted into another room Witness taw no more ut Dallas, He would swear that deceased had only one drink and was sober. So was Dallas. Chief-detective Herbert: Where was the liccrsee when this took place? Witness: He came in just after the fall. The prisoner was asked to stand up, and the Chief Defective asked if witness had previously seen anything of the scars now apparent on the man’s face. He said he had not.

Mr Hanlon: But it would be possible that when deceased put out his hand in the act of falling he scratched the prisoner’s face.

Witness; Yes, tlmt was possible. Was Mr Praia talking; oi bowls?—He sail he had Icon bowling. This was the liral year he had' played, and ho appeared very elated over hie performance. VVm. Badmau, proprietor of the Albion Boarding-house, Maclaggan street, who was in the bar of the Gladstone at about 9 p.ru., said that both Dallas autd Plain had appeared to be very excited. The latter put out his hand to Dallas, and they both went down to the floor together. Dallas got up and went away. As far as witness could tell both nvm were sober. Witness helped to lift, Praia up and put him in a chair. Chief Detective : You made a statement to dergt. Matthews just afterwards?

Witness: Yes. Did you say that, live two men were talking about the war, got excited, and got into holds and fell?—No, sir! Were you sober?—! don’t, drink strong liquor. Did vou see auv marks on Dallas's face? —No. To Mr Hanlon: There.was no row and no scuffle. Tire two men did not fail together, but apait. Fl<? did not help to lift up either. The Coroner commented that witness seemed contradictory. Alex. M'Clue, a/ wharf laborer, who saw the occurrence, said he could sec the two men having an argument. Deceased told Dallas to leave his dog clone, and an argument followed, in which deceased told Dallas ho should go to the front-. The next he saw Prain put his hand out, and both fell to the floor. To .Mr Hanlon : It looked to him as if Prain was trying to save himself from falling when he put out his hand. There was no scuttle. The Coroner asked if it was necessary to go any further?

Chief-detective Herbert s £ aid that there were material contradictions in the evidence so far, and he diis not know what tho next witnesses intgh'4 -ay. Philip Reader, an ei|ginc driver, who came down from the country with Dallas, and was in tho bar when the death occurred, said that the* two were arguing. Both fell, he thought, but. sm blows were struck Philip M’Ledowney, a carter, who ten in tho bar, said that Prain and Dallas had been arguing the point when he camo in. He heard deceased say to Dallas "You’re a, loafer.” Dallas said "I’m not a loafer.'’ Next moment the men closed up and fell. Chief -detective Herbert : Did you say any tiling to Sergeant Matthews? Witness : I said " 1 thought .Dallas struck Brain,” but I would not sav that

Under cross-examination by Mr Henlon, witness said he did not remember being put. nut four or live times by the ha) man and the licensee. He thought there was a blow from the way they closed on cue another. He could not sec whether they wer ; holding one another. ~ Did sou see either man raise his hand? -Xu ! " And there were a few men standing between you and them?— Yes! And you were engaged with your beer? 1 had a beer. H .Mr Collins and the barman both swear that you were not served, and that you were, put out, wiii sou contradict them?— Not on eatn. Sergeant Matthews wa, the next witness. lie deposed that he saw deceased lying ou a. couch obviously dead. Wit. iil-ss .-aw Dallas at about midnight. He shocked signs of having hud liquor, but was not drunk at the time. He said lie had had a sleep. There wore no marks of violence, on deceased, but Dallas’s face, was scarred, as at present. He said that baci scratched bi? face. •John Colhrs, lie msec of the Gladstone Hotel, sail that he had left his hotel to go through the Arcade with a 1 man, and on return found deceased lying cm the floor. Witness detailed how they got him to the other room ami procured med : - cal assistance. When witness got hack from the Arcade all the witnesses who had given evidence were there. Dallas was rot there, and ho had not seen him that nightChief Detective: Do you know that Prain had the reputation of being a qnarlelsome man when in liquor?—Ho was a very excitable man. . _ The prisoner Dallas, a laborer who arrived from tho country ou the afternoon of the accident, said that deceased was there. Witness called for a. pint of beer, and spoke to a little dog, giving it a sandwich. Deceased said: "Leave that dog alone; it’s mine,” to which he replied; " All right; don't upset yourself. Have a drink with me.” Prain refused, and said again : " Leave my dog alone.” He then made a grab at witness, caught him by tim taco (leaving tho scars visible), and very nearly caused him to fall. He immediately wont out. He did not at any time Strike deceased either with hand or foot. He had had one or two drinks in the Gladstone, and about 14- in other places between 4 and 9 p.m. Ho would say that he kept his senses thoroughly. He was not drunk and not sober.

To Mr Hanlon: It was not an angry altercation —more or a, Joke. There was no scuttle, and the only time deceased put his hand on witness was when «ho was falling. The Coroner, in summing up the evi-' deuce, said that the doctor had deposed that any high blood pressure would bring a.fK>ut the break of a blood-vessel that iiad caused death, and that he did not think that death was directly or indirectly the result of a blow or a fall. This was entirely corroborated by the evidence just led. The occurrence of the stroke, or whatever it was, would cause deceased to throw out ills hand to protect himself from falling. The excitement of his howling achievement and the added excitement of the little argument probably brought on the attack, and he did not think that blame could be attached to anyone. He would find that death was due to purely natural causes—meningeal hemorrhage.

Chief-detective Herbert said that the. evidence, against accused would exactly that which had been given at the inquest, and His Worship was in the position of being able to decide without difficulty whether 4hc case should go any further. He felt that, with the concurrence of Hia Worship, it was his duty to offer no evidence, the Bench being already cognisant of what would be led. It would be noticed what difficulty the police had in these cases, where men were all perfectly sober, and yet could not remember anything that happened. The Magistrate dismissed the charge, and Dallas was released.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141029.2.39

Bibliographic details

MR PLAIN'S DEATH, Issue 15636, 29 October 1914

Word Count
1,422

MR PLAIN'S DEATH Issue 15636, 29 October 1914

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