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Friday, 6th October. (Before T. A. Mansford, Esq., R.M.)

Breach ov Merchant Act.— A. Kerr, R. Rice, W. Smith, E. Hunt, W. Price, and W. Murray were charged, on the iuformation of John Gibb, master of the ship Thomasina M'Lellan, with having, on the 30th Juna, whilst on a voyage from Londoa to Otago, been guilty cf continued wilful disobedience of orders. Mr Joyce, for the defendants, pleaded Not Guilty. Wm. Murray was further charged with embezzlement of ship's cargo. Mr Joyce advised the Bench that the defendants had been called as witnesses in the case to be heard against the captain. The Bench ordered them to stand down, and the case of MaiUej[ v. John Gibb, to be called, the defendant being charged with having unlawfully assaulted the plaintiff by I)lacing him in irons, and confining him in the ower hold of the vessel. Mr Joyce prosecuted and Mr Bathgate, jun., appeared for the defendant, and the prisoner having opened tbe case, Valentine Mailley deposed that eithe* 1 on the day the ship left Rio or the day after, he could not be quite positive which, as he was pretty drunk, he went down to the hold with the second mate to secure some cargo. He had a bottle of liquor with him, which he had purchased at Rio, and put it on one side in the wing, and took a drink as he felt disposed. At last, the second mate saw him and took the bottle away from him. and said he had been stealing cargo. He was then taken on deck before the captain, and by that time the liquor had got into his head, and he could not remember what occurred, his first distinct recollection being next morning when he found himself in irons in the lower hold. He was lying on. the top of some barrels of cement, and was kept there five weeks, in the dark nearly all the time, and was chained to an iron staunchion, with about two feet of scope. This was below the steerage, and the after hatch was generally kept closed excepting a small space left open. The ventilation was bad, and when the ship took in water on deck, some came below and wetted his bed. He was kept below for five weeks, and only came on deck once a-day, generally in the morning for about ten minutes, During the first two days he was dieted on bread and water, but after that received the allowance he had signed for. The confinement affected his health, and he became very low, and at the end of the five weeks he asked the mate to tell the captain he was ready to beg his pardon, and besought him, for God' 3 sake, to let him cjo to work and not die down there. The mate had been kind to him, and went tG the captain, and returning, Baid the latter refused to comply with his request. Tbe next day, however, the irons were taken off him, and he wa3 confined in the sail-room in the front of the poop, on deck. Tho room was spacious enough for 20 men. He supposed the captain had taken pity on hiir. He was kepi under lock and key in the sail-room two weeks. On the evening of the day the ship arrived at Port Chalmers the mate and carpenter came to him, and took him below into the after hold, and chained him to the staunchion again, and kept him there until eight o'clock next moaning (Sunday), when he was taken on shore by the Police. — By Mr Bathgate : Generally he was not fightable when in liquor, and did not recollect what took place when he was drunk. He was pretty warm in ihe hold at first, but when the ship was off the Cape it was very cold. He had only a damp rug to cover him, but subsequently tho mate gave him a small piece of canvas in addition. He wanted a sail of some sort. The quartermaster told him the ventilators on deck were closed, and he recollected noticing the main ventilator covered with canvas. He became very low during his confinement, and at last could scarcely crawl up the ladder. When the weather was extra cold, he was kept on deck longer when he went up, as if to aggravate his punishment. During fine weather he was quickly sent below again. It might have been that the captain vas fearful of his communicating with the passengers. Sometimes he was permitted to come on deck in the evening. The Bench remarked that the witness had just before positively stated that he was only allowed on deck once a day. He reproved him for not telling the whole truth. Was he allowed on deck twice a day? Witness replied, "Only sometimes." Wm. Smith, seaman, belonging to the Thomasina M'Lellan, remembered the afternoon of the day the ship left Rio. Sam Mailley came out of the after-hold, no one being with him. The captain called him on the poop. He avjis drunk. The captain told the mate to put him in irons. M&illey said, " D n it, don't put me in irons ; who ai*e you, captain ?" Some more words passed, and the captain told the mate to draw his revolver — at same time producing his own — and then said, " Put that dog below. " Mailley was then put down in the after hold, on top of casks of cement. Everything was quiet in the .ship when the man was arrested. Heard Mailley crying for mercy after he was below. He seein«il to be frightened. He held up his hands quietly to be ironed, and made no resistance. Saw him about four weeks after that, and he looked very bad ; had a handkerchief tied round his

head. He could *rt>£ eafi anything. After that he was confined irt the sail-locker in the front of the poop. E. tiice, A. 8., remembered that Mailley had grog of his own when he left Rio, and that he was a little dro»k on the day of sailing. Saw him after he Wfts put below. Some days elapsed before his bed was Bent down to him. The man became shaky, and tottered when he came on deck. The crew thought he was going crazy, as he asked to be told when the ship was in 470 fathoms' of water, E. Hunt, A.8., generally corroborated the evidence of the foregoing witnesses, but thought Mailley was sober when he went below with the second mate. Mr Bathgate, for the defence, slated that the crew had been very troublesome from the outset of the_ yoyagO — Mailley being a ringleader. Suspicions of cargo plundering were rife, but could not be substantiated till long afterwards. He should prove that Mailley stole a bottle of grog whilst below with the second mate, and also that be had been unruly and threatened the life of the captain and one of the paswnasta. He quoted from the official log to show thai the lact of his having stolen grog had been fcoted. The counsel pointed out that Mailley bad been treated with consideration whilst in «onfin&ment, and was allowed to be an hour on deck every day. He had not been assaulted, but merely detained in custody. The Bench said that he should rule that if the imprisonment Was proved to be unlawful, it would be tantamount to an assault. Upon that he should base his decision. John Gibb, master of the ship Thomasina M'Lellan, deposed that on the day the ship left Rio (August 12th) he, in consequence of a communication from the chief officer, had Mailley brought tip. Mailley admitted having taken a bottle of old tota from the ship's cargo, saying 'twas only one. Witness told him ho would have to stand the consequences, and care would be taken that he did not offend again. Mailley then came close to him, andj using very bad language, dared him to put him under the arrest, as all the crew weuld side wffcb him j at the same time threatening his life. Witness then called the mate, and ordered him to put the man in irons. The ship was then in a dangerous position — only 1£ mile off the land, with little wind. Mailley was ironed and taken below, swearing as he went that he would have the life of the captain and mate. Witness did not reoollect using the expression " put that dog below." Upon making enquiries aboufc the man, witness ascertained that lie had been heard to use violent language on former occasions, threatening the lives of the master and officers, and one of the passengers. He consulted with his officers and passengers, and, bearing in mind the Lennie mutiny case, considered the man was dangerous and not fit to be at large. The man was confined in a dry, well - ventilated room in the lower hold, had his bed to lie on when he asked for it. The man's comfort was attended to, and when he complained of ill health, the steward was ordered to mix him a mild dose of salts. The man had been a soldier in the 57th regiment, and was discharged on account of heart disease. A sail was put up below, to keep the draught from him, ar.d one of the passengers, a young medical student, pronounced him to be free of fever. By Mr Joyce : Mailley was drunk when he came aft, but knew what he was doing, When the man threatened him, he (witness) procured a revolver to defend himself with. It was after the man was put in irons that he threatened to take the life of witness. Was not aware whether the mate had a revolver at the time. It was fine weather when the vessel arrived at the port, but there was no Police about to whom to give him in charge. He knew nothing about hoisting the Police signal, as a copy of the Harbour Regulations was not given him until some time after the ship arrived. His Worship pointed out that the information only dealt with what occurred between the dates of August 13th and September 17th. A charge against the captain for what had happened subsequently would have to be covered by a fresh information. John Cowie, carpenter, W. Innes, quarter-master, F. Skipper and 0. Anderson, apprentices, corroborated the preceding evidence, and maintained that Mailley was very troublesome and had threatened the captain's life. Innes said he saw the captain draw his revolver npon the man, but neither of them heard the captain apply the term "dog " to him. They regarded Mailley as more or less dargerous. J. S. Sm&ile, a passenger, once saw Mailley threaten the mate with a knife, and had also threatened to take witness's life, because he thought he (witness) had carried stories to the master about him. The man was dangerous. Witness had studied medicine three years, and was of opinion Mailley was not very unwell at any time during his confinement. Other evidence greatly corroborative of the foregoing was taken, and the Bench then said the decision would be reserved until Monday next, when the charges against the six men in custody would also be heard.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18761014.2.15

Bibliographic details

Friday, 6th October. (Before T. A. Mansford, Esq., R.M.), Otago Witness, Issue 1298, 14 October 1876

Word Count
1,883

Friday, 6th October. (Before T. A. Mansford, Esq., R.M.) Otago Witness, Issue 1298, 14 October 1876

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