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Colonial Cases

R. v. Velvick [1833]

Mulsims, attacks on - assault

Court of Quarter Sessions

W.H. Mackie, 1 January 1833

Source: Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 5 January 1833

[3] Fremantle 1st January 1833.- Before the Honorable W. H. Mackie Esq. Chairman, the Revd. J.B. Wittenoom J. P., George Leake Esq J.P. and J. Morgan Esq. J.P. ...

[4] John Velvick , - charged with assaulting a black man named Samud Alli. 

Samud Alli Sworn on the Koran. - On the evening of Christmas day I saw the prisoner in front of the Perth Hotel, Jackson, Aassi , and I were going along the street to Mr Leakes Store. Met prisoner and another man: he caught hold of me and said "you black man, give me glass of grog." I said "got no money," he said "you black b- I give you glass". I said "I no drink," he then struck me two or three times. I tried to make him quiet. (The witness here repeated words uttered by the prisoner, which are too beastly and disgusting for publication.) Prisoner held me, while another white man beat me with a stick, when more black men came up he said "all right, very good man and shook hands. Black men all went to their own fire place, white men to Mayo's public house. I saw twenty white men come with sticks, prisoner in front: he asked me to fight, I say " I no fight" be said you bloody b- you must fight, prisoner called all the white men, who caught hold of the  black, about eight in number, and some held them fast whilst others beat them with sticks.  

John Wittenoom, sworn. - Recollect being opposite Mayos between 6 and 7 on the evening of 
Christmas day, saw several black and white men pushing each other down, seemingly in play, saw previous witness and another standing looking on, prisoner pushed a man against Samud Alli purposely. The black men after being teased for some time broke some sticks and acted on the defensive The white men were the more numerous. Saw the black men shortly afterwards sitting quietly round their fire Saw a body of white men about twenty, with boys, coming down from Mayo's with sticks, saw the prisoner there with a stick, the black men were most cruelly used prisoner appeared to head them, he was first. The black men were covered with blood, some of the weapons were very thick. The white men were drunk, but the blacks sober. 

J Purkis , sworn - Remembered hearing a nosie opposite my house, thought it a Christmas gambol, but when I went out I saw a party of black and white men fighting. The prisoner was active in exciting a tumult, it lasted for half an hour, there was then a parley, and both sides shook hands. J. Wittenoom came down and said he thought there would be a fight. I hurried to the black mens huts, about 20 white men came down and challenged the blacks to fight, the prisoner in particular. The black men declined fighting. I saw 2 or 3 struck whilst sitting round the fire. There were about 8 black men. The attack was made whilst they were sitting on the ground, not one left without serious wounds. One man whilst a white man was shaking 
hands with him was struck in a most brutal and cowardly manner with a pole about 7 feet long. The person who did it left, exulting that the blood of a black, was on his body. From the general conduct of the black men I do not think them likely to bring any thing of the kind upon them, don't think them likely to provoke a quarrel. They are not powerful men, should not think it necessary to take a stick to them. 

J Wittenoom recalled. - The acts of the black men were not a sufficient provocation to use sticks. 

D Patterson sworn. - Remember a row on Christmas day, heard that some white men were going to pull the black mens huts down, (confirmed statements of the other witnesses). I live on the same allotment, never saw any impropriety in the black mens conduct.

Prisoner in his defence stated - That they were only playing, when a black man struck him with a stick and knocked him down two or three times. They parted friendly and he did not take a stick up to the hut with him. 

(Several of the Jurymen here repeated what they knew of the transaction. This is highly improper, and most probably did not reach the ear of the Bench, or it would have met with a reproof. The Jury are bound to consider the evidence dispassionately, such gratuitous Communications are therefore not only improper, but leave an inference that circumstances within their personal knowledge and probably not produced in evidence, have some weight in their decisions; we will allow it is extremely difficult in so small a Community as our own to select a Jury unacquainted with the circumstances of a Case, previously to their entering the Box, or to divest themselves of the impression this knowledge has left upon their minds, but 
there cannot be much difficulty in refraining from a public declaration of it.) 

The Chairman summed up. The Jury after retiring for a short time, returned a Verdict - Guilty. ...

On Wednesday morning the following sentences were past.

J. Velvick 3 months imprisonment and hard labour.

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