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MILLIONAIRES ON TRIAL.

Directors Charged with Manslaughter. Intense interest was : excited in New York last month by the trial of the seven millionaire directors of the Tramway Company, who were.arraigned for manslaughter on account of the fatal accident last February through a collision at a level crossing between a suburban train and an electric tramway-car carrying pupils of the Newark High School.' Eight girls were instantaneously killed and fourteen injured. Six boys were, severely injured, ; some of them ; fatally. The. motor-men were also, killed. Dramatic scenes were witnessed when the seven magnates appeared for trial on September Ist. An immense crowd had gathered outside the courthouse at Newark, New Jersey, and all the available space in the courtroom was packed with spectators. Among the seven directors who faced the jury were Mr Koosevelt Shariley, miilti-millionaire ; Dr Leslie Ward, vice- President of the Prudential Insurance Company ; Mr Alexander Cassat, president of the Pennsylvania Eailway; Mr John Crimmins, millionaire contractor ; and Mr Elisha .Gaddis, head of the largest importing' grocery house in America. ' The prosecuting attorney, in opening the case, declared that the directors were legally and morally responsible for the accident, which was caused through neglect to provide proper precautions at the crossing where the accident occurred. Council for the defence admitted the facts alleged regarding the accident, and also admitted that it could have been avoided if the car had been provided with sand to prevent the wheels slipping, but asserted that. the men in charge of the car were solely responsible for the negligence. Many of the children injured in the accident were summoned as witnesses and also the parents of those who were killedi There was loud weeping when witnesses described the accident and," the,, mangled bodies as tbey lay scattered along the railway. A dramatic incident was the appearance on, the witness stand of the enginedriver .of. the train which ran into the tramway car. In giving evidence he was frequently overcome by emotion. The directors shifted uneasily in their seats, while the jury seemed deeply impressed. The trial came unexpectedly to an end on the morning of September 3rd, when the presiding Judge ordered the jury to acquit the defendants. The jury immediately returned a verdict of not guilty. The action of the Court was taken on the motion of the defendants 1 council, who asked for an acquittal, on the ground that the evidence submitted by the prosecution failed to prove that the- directors were personally responsible. - . ;. ; . Judge rXxrummere, with the concurrence of his associates, granted a motion stating that there was nothing to show the defendants were so grossly negligent as to make them criminally responsible. The Judge said the. accident was evidently caused through the .negligence of the men ;in charge of the car, but it was.not proved that they wilfully or maliciously neglected, the proper precautions. ••- ;< " Being discharged, \ the directors were overwhelmed with congraulations by friends in Courti •

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/FS19031104.2.29

Bibliographic details

Feilding Star, Feilding Star, Volume XXV, Issue 121, 4 November 1903

Word Count
486

MILLIONAIRES ON TRIAL. Feilding Star, Volume XXV, Issue 121, 4 November 1903

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