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Colonial Cases

R v Micaleff, 1880

[theft from church]

R. v. Micaleff, 1880

Consular Court, Egypt

Source: National Archives (U.K.) FO847/1

HM CONSULAR COURT

OF EGYPT

[ALEXANDRIA]

1880 (40)

Regina,

on the prosecution of

Boutos Basbous & Mickail Saman,

priests of the Maronite Church,

vs.

Paolo Micallef

TNA REFERENCE:

FO847/1

(3 selected of 46 records)

 

Traduction

Monsieur le Consul de France, Alexandrie.

En réponse a sa lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'adresser sous le No 1et par laquelle vous m'informez que la vicaire du Patriarchat maronite se plaint d'avoir ete vole, je m'empresse de porter a votre conaisssance que vers 11 heures a l'arabe de Mardi dernier le Caracol de la place des Consuls apprit qu'un vol d'argent avait ete commis dans le patriachate susdit; aussitot un delegue du Caracol se rendit sur les lieux at l'examen minutieiux establit que le patrirachat est habite par deix pretres, les peres Boulos Basbous at Michail Saman, et leur domestique Youssef, Beyrouthain, lequel avait coutume de toujours rester au patriarchat seulement, a jour etant un jour de fete chretienne, les peres, suivant de leurs habitude, parcouraient les maisons de leurs paroissiens et avaient ennome avec eux leurs domestique apres avoir ferme les portes interieures et exterieurs du patriarchat.

   A leur retour, vers 10 heures environ, ils trouveront la porte exterieure ouverte ainsi que la porte situee au haut de l'escalier, il etait evident que ces portes avaient ete ouvertes avec de fausses clefs. La porte de la chambre d'un des pretres avait sa serrure brisee ainsi qu'un bureau place dans la chambre lequel avait deux tiroirs contenant de l'argent.  Le [penne] de la serrure de la seconde chamnbre etait sorti et l'on voyait qu'elle avait ete ouverte a l'aide d'une poussee.  Le tiroir d'une armoire etait sorti de sa place at jete a terra avex sa clef.  La porte de la chamnbre du domestique etait intacte, seulement on y trouva une caisse don't la serrure etait brisee et don't l'argent avait egalement disparu.  On verifia ce qui manquait et dans le nombre des objects disparus se trouvaiut une caisse appartenant a une femme syrienne, laquelle caisse était placee sous l'escalier dabs un reduit en bois abandonnee et obscur et qui avait été ouverte avec de fausses clefs encore attenantes a la serrure de la caisse.  On a remarque que le voleur devait certainment etre une personne commaissant les etres de la maison et on demanda aux pretres qu'elles etaient les personnes qui avaient l'habitude de venir souvent chez aux.  Ils ont designe un maltais, nomme Paolo Micalef, suject anglais, homme pauvre, qui était constamment au patriarchat pur fair certaines reparations, qui avait arrange les serrures et en avait pose quelques unes et qui avait une connaissance minutieuse des lieux et des habitudes.  Les soupcons se porterent sur cet homme. Note below.

   Pour traduction par extrait certifiee conforme a l'original depose dans les archives du drogmanat du Consulat de France a Alexandrie, Dossier 43.

 

Alexandrie le 13 Janvier 1880.

Le 1er Drogman.

 

Note : 25 Moharram 1297 - Cachet du prefet de Police.  Renvoi approuve.  H.C.G.

[Coat of Arms]

 

SUMMONS TO ACCUSED.

No. 4

In Her Britannic Majesty's Chief Consular Court for Egypt, held at Alexandria, the 13th day of January 1880.

To Paolo Micallef

You have this day been charged before this Court with having robbed the Maronite Church of money and other valuable articles.

Therefore you are hereby commanded in Her Majesty's name, to appear before this Court, Forthwith,

to answer to the said charge, and to be further dealt with according to law.

[Consular seal]

 

Mr. Cookson

A

Mr. J. de Cazotte                                                                                               14 Janvier

M. le f  .......,

   [J'ai l'honneur de vous informes que = deleted]  Le nomme Paolo Micallef [sousignee? d'avoir vole et commis un = deleted] ........ de vol dans l'Eglise maronite ayant ete arrete par les soins de cette Cour, J'ai l'honneur de vous ..... per le ...... de voiloir bien a charge de se presentes devant cette Cour aujouid'hui a trois heures de l'apres midi pour donner leurs .....

 

ALEXANDRIE, LE 13 Janvier 1880

CONSULAT DE FRANCE

ALEXANDRIE (EGYPTE)

Monsieur le Consul,

                                J'ai l'honnneur de vous adresser ce-inclus traduction certifiee conforme d'un rapport de la police etablissant que de graves soupcons present sur un maltaise, appele Paolo Micallef, a l'occasion d'un vol commis dans le patriachat maronite d'Alexandrie place sous la protection francaise.

   Je suis assure, Monsieur le Consul, qu'il me suffira de signaler les faits a votre haute equite pour etre certain que vous ferez tous vos efforts pour arrivera la decouverte, d'ailleurs, prets a se porter partie civile et se tiennant a l'entiere disposition de la justice.

   Agreez, Monsieur le Consul l'assurance de ma consideration tres distinguee et de mes meilleurs sentiments.

   Le Gerant du Consulat de France.

                                                 J. de Cazotte,

Monsieur Cookson,

Consul de sa Majeste Britannique a Alexandrie.

 

Translation of a letter from the Police Office

Dated 1st Saffar 1297; 12 January 1880.

To: H. M.'s Chief Consular Court for Egypt, Alexandria.

   On the 23d Moharram 1297, a robbery took place at the Maronite Patriarchate situated behind Moharrem Bey's Okella.  A Maltese named Paolo Micallef, a British subject, is supected of having committed this robbery.  He used to go, occasionally, to the Patriarchate to render some services, repair the locks & replace some of them, & is well acquainted with the premises.  - A chisel subsequently recognised by the servant of the Patriarchate as belonging to Micallef, was found there, as also an iron file with a wooden handle.

   At the request of the Interpreter to the French Consulate, who also informed me that this case is to be examined at H. M.'s Chief Consular Court, I send over to you with the bearer, both the chisel and the file

(sig) The Prefect of the Police

(Seal) Mohamed Loosson.

In Her Britannic Majesty's Chief Consular Court for Egypt at Alexandria.

13th January 1880.

Regina

vs.

Paolo Micallef.

Charged on summons with robbery in the Maronite Church.

Bail of L. 100 required.

In default remanded till tomorrow.

 

In Her Britannic Majesty's Chief Consular Court for Egypt.

Wednesday the 14th January 1880.

Paolo Micallef of Alexandria stands charged before this Court for that he on Tuesday last the 6th Instant did commit a robbery in the Maronite Church of money & other valuable articles.

   And in the presence and hearing of the said Paolo Micallef Father Bulos Basbous deposes on oath as follows:

  I am the Procurator of the Patriarchate of the Maronite Community.  On Tuesday the 6th instant I with my colleague Father Micael was absent  for about 3 ½ hours from our church.  On my coming back alone at about 3 pm I found the outer door of the house open.  I went up stairs to my rooms and found the door of the corridor open also.  There was no sign of violence and I supposed that the two doors must have been opened with a key.  On my [reaching] the door of my room I found it also open.  It was forced open.  The bolt of the lock being bent [twisted = deleted] and the plate where the bolt goes to, broken.

   On getting into my room I found the drawers of my writing table open and placed on the floor.  My clothes and things were in disorder.  [I saw that = deleted] a sack containing about [Maps] 50 in gold and silver cash had been taken away.  Also [Maps] 20 Sovereigns 4 and 2 Engh [Louis] which were placed in one of the drawers of the table in a tin box.  Another sac containing about 11 [Map] in silver and gold coins had been also [abstracted].  From another drawer abourt L. 4, [sovereigns = deleted] in different coins were also taken away.  A silver watch was taken away from one of the drawers of the writing table, together with another of[french] chaplet.

   From Father Micaels room money and medaillons were also taken away as he told me.  I saw the door of the father's room forced open.

   In the servants room I saw two boxes forced open and a chisel found among the clothes [..................] on the ground.

   Accused was employed occasionally to clean the church and sundry other services.  The theft was committed during our absence in going around the town and blesssing the houses of our members, as customary once a year. Read over to deponent. [Signatures in Arabic]

   Remanded till tomorrow at 10 am.

 

15th Jany/80.  Resumed at 10 am.

                       Father Bulos Basbous evidence continued.

     Accused was employed in our church very often almost every day - and [lately = deleted] on the 5th instant the day before the robbery was committed he was n the premises the whole day.

   I suspect Accused because the doors [were opened = deleted] must have been opened by somebody who knew the place, and Accused had an easy access to the house and knew it [unreadable deletion]. He saw that I had money in one of the drawers of my writing table because I paid him once money which I took out of it in his presence.  I received the [Maps] 50 I mentioned before on the 23d of last month.

Read over to frponent.  No XX.  Signature in Arabic.

   Father Micael Samaan, sworn.

I am a priest in the Church of the Maronite Community.  On the 6 instant I went out with Jusef our servant at 10 am to bless as customary in Epiphany the houses inhabited by the members of our Community.  I left Father Bulos in the house.  I returned at about sunset. On my way back I saw Deft going up the Rue des S??????.  The Church and house are behind the Okella [????] near the French Consulate.

   On my arrival at the Church I saw a crowd of people before the premises.  I found the door of my room forced open.  Two drawers [of my ??? ??? = deleted] of a book case were on the ground.  Another drawer of my writing table was also on the ground.  From the two first drawers L. 3 and Fr: 50 in different coins was taken away.  Also a locket containing a piece of the holy cross [was taken away = deleted] together with a silver ring and a Sack containing L. 40 & Maps 22 ½ were taken away.

  On the table I had placed Fr: 6 and a [dollar] which I did not find.

   I suspect the Accused because he knows the premises and had easy access to them, and because the day previous to the one on which the robbery took place I had asked him to have a new key of the entrance doors made or to find an old one which would fit.  He said he would take out the lock but I proposed he should take the key to find one like it, and I left the key in his hands. I do not recollect the time when I gave him the key but it was during day time.  I left the key with him and went away.

   The day the robbery took place I called him and [told = deleted] asked him why he had done this - he denied it - and on my asking whom he confessed to as a Chatholic, he said that was not my business.

Read over to deponent.  No XX.  Signature in Arabic.

Remanded till tomorrow at 10 am.

 

16th Jany/80.  Resumed at 10 am.

Joseph Mansur, sworn.

I am a servant in the Maronite Church.  I know Deft.  He was employed occasionally by the Fathers to assist in decorating the church and do other things.  He had easy access to the premises.  At first he used to come occasionally but of late he came oftener almost daily.

   I recollect the 6th of January when a robbery was committed i9n our place.  I was then absent with Father Micael.  When I cam back I saw a crowd of people oppoaite the church and outside the premises.  I went inside together with Father Micael.  I saw that the door of the room of two priests had been forced open [???? ???? ????] was not locked up. I observed in the rooms of the two priests drawers taken out of their places and lying on the ground, and clothes [scattered? = deleted] thrown on the floor.

   I my room I found that two boxes I had had been forcibly opened, their contents being thrown on the ground.  In picking them up I found among them a chisel now (A) produced and which I identify as the one I had last seen a month before brought by Accd on the premises to repair a table with.  I know it from by the handle which is peculiar and because there are on it certain marks which I had observed before.  As soon as I saw it I said this is Accd's chisel.

   The day before the robbery was committed, Accd was in the kitchen with me and asked "who was going out tomorrow with the priests." I said I was going with Father Micael and Nahli with Father Bulos.

   A box belonging to a Syrian girl had been deposited by her with the consent of the Priests in the coal cellar.  When I got into the place I saw the box open and the contents thrown on the floor.  Accd knew that the box had been placed there because I occasionally asked him to bring me coals from that place.  Nobody had access to the coal cellar except me and him.  Accused also was requested once by the girl to take out of the cellar the box which she opened in his presence.  I saw her open the box.

XXX   Together with the chisel and plane and a gimlet were brought by you in a red handkerchief.  I could identify the plane if I saw it, by the size.  When you brought thre chisel with the other implements you left it for three days in [the father bulos room = deleted] in the kitchen and I had [?????] opportunity to see it.  The plane you brought you used in the church.  I saw you use the chisel when you repaired the table.

Read over to deponent.  Signature in Arabic.

Remanded till tomorrow at 10 am.

 

17th Jany/80.  Resumed from yesterday at 10 am.

   Halil Jounes Fares, sworn.

   I am a merchant and the Administrator of the Maronite Church.  I know accused.  He was occasionally employed by me to decorate and clean the church on special days since about six years.  He used to come to the Church almost daily.  We had full condidence in him on account of his piety & honest appearance. X

   I was at Ramaleh where I live on the 6 instant.  I heard of the robbery next day and came to town on the 8th to make enquiries about it.  I met accused at the Maronite Church.  I called him and took him with me upstairs.  I told him you are the only man that must have committed the robbery, as you had easy access on the premises and you knew the place. 

X

I held out the promise of impunity to him if he brought back the money stolen, less Maps 40, which I allowed him to keep for himself, instructing him to deposit the same in a box in the church without the necessity of bringing it to me.  I also promised to employ him in my buildings at Ramaleh.  In the mean while the two priests came in who also made to him the same proposal.

   He said: "to day is Saturday, tomorrow I shall not come but on Monday morning I bind myself to comply with your wish. This is not my business."  He went away.

   Deft called on Monday as promised.  He said I made enquiries every way but could find no trace of the thief.  I said we asked him to bring the money because we distrusted him and we were sure he was the thief.  He denied having taken the money, though I warned him that by restoring it he would avoid criminal proceedings against him.

Read over to deponnent.  Halil Jounes [x mark] Fares.

 

Nahli Habib Assy, sworn.

I am a servant in the Maronite Church.  I know Accd.  He used to frequent our church and be occasionally employed by fathers Bulos and Micael.  There was a robbery committed in our premises.  I was then absent with father Bulos.  We locked up the Church door and placed the key in father Bulos room which we locked up.  We also locked up the doors of the corridor and the entrance doors to the house.  When we came back at 3 pm we found the outer door op0en.  We went up stairs and found the door in the corridor and those of the rooms of the two priests open.  The last two doors were forced open/  I saw drawers placed on the ground in the two rooms and clothes thrown on the floor.  In the servants' room two boxes had been forced open.  My room was not opened.  A box in the coal cellar deposited by a Syrian woman was also forced open.

Read over top deponent.  No XX  Arabic signature.

Remanded till Monday next at 10am.

 

19th Jany/80.  Prisoner brought up from remand.

H. Coghlan, sworn.

I am the Chief Constable of this Court.  On the 14 instant I was ordered by the Judge of this Court to go to the Maronite Church for the purpose of examining the doors that had been reported as forced open by thieves.  I examined the doors and premises.  I found that the doors of the rooms of the two priests had been forced open, one by instruments or tools the other by pushing it by the shoulder.  On another door I found the mark of an instrument.  This door had not been opened.

  I then proceeded to the house of Accd, which I searched.  Among the tools (he is a carpenter) I found a chisel on which there are marks which would show that it had been recently used.

X  The width of it corresponds with the marks I saw on two of the doors.  (B) I produce the chisel.

Read over to deponent.  No XX.  H. Coghlan, Chief Constable, HBM Cl Court.

 

Accused cautioned according to law states he has nothing to say, and on being asked if he wished to be tried with a Jury he said he wished to be tried with a Jury. 

To be tried on indictment with a Jury. Signature

[Coat of Arms]

No. 1.

 

In Her Britannic Majesty's Chief Consular Court for Egypt, held at Alexandria, the 19th day of January 1880.

To Henry Coghlan, Police Officer of this Court, and to the Keeper of (Her Britannic Majesty's Consular) prison at Alexandria -

Paolo Micallef stands charged before this Court on the oath of Father Bulos Basbous of Alexandria and others for that he did on Tuesday last the 6th Instant break & enter a dwelling house and did steal money and other valuable articles therefrom.


   Therefore you are hereby commanded, in Her Majesty's name, you, the above-named H. Coghlan to convey the said Paolo Micallef to the above mentioned prison, and there to deliver him to the keeper thereof, toigether with this warrant, and you, the said keeper of the said prison, to receive the said Paolo Micallef into your custody in the said prison, and there safely keep him till he shall be thence delivered by due course of law.

[Consular Seal]

22 Janvier 1880.

Mr. Cookson

A

Mr. de Cazotte

Monsireur le Girant,

                              J'ai l'honneur de vous informer que l'affaire de Paolo Micallef poursuivre

[deleted = par le frere Maronite de s'etre ............... dans leur maison et d'avoir vole de l'argent et autres]

pour vol avec effraction dans la maison habite par les freres maronite a été [revoquee] pour etre judgee [deleted = la decision d'un] par jury, [deleted = pour Mecredi] et l'audience a cet effet été fixee pour Mecredi prochain le 28 Janvier at 10 heures du matin.


   Je vous prie par consequent M. le Gerant de voulou bien inviter les freres Maronites et tous leurs memoires de se presenter [deleted = several versions] le jour et l'heure indique pour etre ..... des assises comme memoirs devant le  .... propre.

Veiullez ................

 

In Her Britannic Majesty's Chief Consular Court for Egypt, Alexandria, to wit:

  The Jurors for our Lady the Queen upon their oaths present that Paolo Micallef on the sixth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty in the dwelling house of Father Bulos Basbous and Micael Samaan situate andf forming part of the premises occupied by the Church of the Maronite Community behind the Okella Nuova near the French Consulate in Alexandria aforesaid feloniously did break and enter, with intent the goods and chattels of the said fathers Bulos Basbous and Micael Samaan in the said dwelling house then being, feloniously to steal take and carry away a sack containing about fifty Napoleons in gold and silver coins; Also a tin box containing twenty Napoleons, four pounds sterling and three Egyptian pounds; also another sack containing eleven Napoleons in silver and gold coins; also about four pounds sterling in different coins; Also a silver watch, and a Mother of Pearl Chaplet of the goods and chattels of the said father Bulos Basbous then in the said Dwelling house then feloniously did steal take and carry away against the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our Lady the Queen her Crown and dignity; And also Three pounds sterling and fifty francs in different coins; Also a Locket containing a piece of the holy cross; A silver ring; A Sack containing forty pounds sterling, and twenty two and a half francs in different coins; And six francs and a dollar of the goods and chattels of the said Father Micael Samaan then being in the said Dwelling house then feloniously did steal take and carry away against the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our Lady the Queen her Crown and dignity.

[Consular Seal]

 

In Her Britannic Majesty's Chief Consular Court for Egypt, Alexandria, to wit:

    Paolo Micallef stands indicted that on the sixth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty in the dwelling house of Father Bulos Basbous and Micael Samaan situate and forming part of the premises occupied by the Church of the Maronite Community behind the Okella Nuova near the French Consulate in Alexandria aforesaid feloniously did break and enter, with intent the goods and chattels of the said fathers Bulos Basbous and Micael Samaan in the said dwelling house then being, feloniously to steal take and carry away a sack containing sbout fifty Napoleons in gold and silver coins; Also a tin box containing twenty Napoleons, four pounds sterling and three Egyptian pounds; also another sack containing eleven Napoleons in silver and gold coins; also about four pounds sterling in different coins; Also a silver watch, and a Mother of Pearl Chaplet of the goods and chattels of the said father Bulos Basbous then in the said Dwelling house then feloniously did steal take  and carry away against the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our Lady the Queen her Crown and dignity; And also Three pounds sterling and fifty francs in different coins; Also a Locket containing a piece of the holy cross; A silver ring; A Sack containing forty pounds sterling, and twenty two and a half francs in different coins; And six francs and a dollar of the goods and chattels of the said Father Micael Samaan then being in the said Dwelling house then feloniously did steal take and carry away against the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of our Lady the Queen her Crown and dignity.

[Consular Seal]

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School