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THE JURY OF MATRONS.

[Wanganui Clironicle, May 2.] In order to carry out the arrangement come to at the previous sitting of the Supreme Court, in the trial of Phoebe Veitch, for child-murd«r, the Sheriff (Mr G. W. W,ood) summoned yesterday morning a jury panel of matrons, for the purpose of ascertaining whether the prisoner wa3 pregnant, in which case the execution of the death penalty would be stayed by law until after the birth of tho child. — The Sheriff, who was busy in his novel task from 8 o'clock in the morning, summoned a panel of 20 matrons, whose names were as follows : — Mrs John Alexander, Mrs J. W. Jackson, Mrs Elizabeth Pv.-arce, M»; John Wonlston, Mrs Hugh M'llhone, Mrs G. W. Ormsbee, | Mrs W. Pateraon, Mrs A. D. Willis, Mrs Morrison, Mrs F. M. Spurdle, Mrs Nance, Mrs Edward Tingey, Mrs A. M. Moore, Mrs Smidt, Mrs M'Nab, Mrs Palmer, Mra Hooper, Mrs Hicks, Mrs M'Farlane, Mrs Lingard, Mrs M'Farlane, Mrs Louisa Walker, Mrs Monro, Mrs Charles Bell, Mrs Thomas Woolley, and Mrs Jones. Of these, 23 made their appearance in Court, the remainder, who were evidently reluctant to undertake the delicate task required of them, escaping a fine simply throngh the first twelve names being called on, instead of the whole panel as is the custom when the sterner sex are concerned. — The matrons (who, collectively speaking, formed a body of ladies of whom auy town has a right to be proud, and whoreflected great crediton the sheriff's judgment and selection) assembled in the grand jury room to await their summons into Court. By order of the Judge, the floor of the Court was cleared of everybody except the Bar, the police, the Press, and the Court officials. There was a large gathering of the Bar, Messrs Travers, and H. H. Bell (the "Wellington Crown Prosecutor) being among those present. Dr Earle was also in attendance, having been Bubpcenaed by the Crown, in case his services were required. At ten minutes past 11 o'clock, the Chief Justice took his seat the Bench, .and the prisoner, Phcebe £ .. h (who seemed totally unconcerned if 1 1"c ♦ c whole businesn) was placed in ihTdock - ~ The Deputy-Registrar (Mr ]^ ,' . 'he usual question to her - reply.-The Chief Justice: I understood you to say, Mr Hutchison, t> b T a] ' e n " quick with child?— Mr Hutchison: *. £t0 > n . t put it quite that way. I understand sh^ ls 1 pregnant, but I have not asked her as to her particular condition. — The Chief Justice : I think it is sufficient, if she is pregnant. —Mr Hutchison : Yes, I understand she is pregnant. — The Chief Justice : Then the ordinary ceurse must be followed. But ask her whether she wishes you to say that for her. — Mr Hutchison asked her accordingly, and the prisoner replied in the affirmative. — The matrons were then brought into Court and took their seats. — The DeputyRegistrar addressed them as follows : — Ladies of the jury, will you please answer to your names. — The following twelve names were called, and all answered : — Mrs Palmer, Mrs John Alexander, Mrs Eliza Pearce, Mrs Hugh M'llhone, Mra Woolston, Mrs George Hicks, Mrs Smidt, Mrs M'Nab, Mrs G. W. Ormsbee, Mrs Thomas Woolley, Mrs Jones (Market-square), and Mrs M'Farlane. — The Deputy-Registrar : Choose your fore-matron, ladies.— The Judge explained to the jury that it was necessary to select one of their number to Bpeak for the rest. — The matrons then, after a few moments' conversation (several of their number declining the honor), selected Mrs Alexander for the post of distinction. The other matrons (not on the jury) were dismissed from attendance, and left the Court. The jury were then sworn in to give a true verdict whether or not Phcebe Veitch was quick with child. —The Chief Jnstice explained to them what they had to consider, and told them that they could have the assistance of a raedical gentleman if they wished it. His Honor added that the jury would now retire and that the prisoner would be taken into the custody of the gaoler's wife. — Phcebe Veitch was accordingly escorted by Mrs Pointon into the grand jury room, where the jury women proceeded to enquire and deliberate. — After being away 5 minutes, the jurywomen intimated (by one of their number opening the door very slightly and peeping round the corner) that they wished for medical testimony. Dr Earle was accordingly sworn to examine the prisoner and ascertain if ahe waa quick with child, and then joined ' the matronly conclave. — In another five minutes the fore-matron, accompanied by Mrs M'Farlane, entered the Court, and informed his Honor that, before the examination of the prisoner could be made, it would be necessary to procure some blankets. The gaoler was inatructed to obtain a supply at once. — A few minutes after 12 o'clock the jurywomen sent in word to the Judge that they wished to have the Court cleared. — His Honor replied that the verdict must be delivered in open Court, and their request could not be complied with.— At 12.30 o'clock the jury returned into Court and said that they had agreed, all but one lady who was undecided. — His Honor said that they must all agree, as the verdict like that of every other jury must be unanimous. — The matrons retired to the grand jury room again, the forewoman intimating that they did not require further medical testimony. — At ten minutes to 1 o'clock the jury returned into Court again, and the forewoman stated that to the best of their knowledge and belief the prisoner was quick, with child.— The Chief Justice respited the sentence of death passed upon the prisoner until next session of the Supreme Court in Wanganui. — The matrons were discharged, his Honor , thanking them for their services. — The prisoner was taken back to the gaol.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/HBH18830505.2.15

Bibliographic details

THE JURY OF MATRONS., Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume XXI, Issue 6548, 5 May 1883

Word Count
971

THE JURY OF MATRONS. Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume XXI, Issue 6548, 5 May 1883

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