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Colonial Cases

R v. Richardson, 1859

[stowaway - sailors, refusal to serve]

R. v. Richardson

Consular Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 3 December 1859



29th November, 1859.

In the same day before H.M. Consul and the above mentioned Assessors

JAMES BLACK, Master of the Xulla, charged JOHN RICHARDSON with having, at Hongkong, secreted himself on board the Xulla without the knowledge of the Captain or officers, and with having broken open some cases of wine, part of the cargo of the ship.  Eight more of the crew were also charged with having been more or less accessories to the crimes of John Richardson.  When called on for his defence, the prisoner (Richardson) acknowledged his having come on board without the captain's leave or knowledge and also that he had broken open the wine in question.  The remainder were found guilty of concealing the fact of Richardson's being on board but not guilty as accessories in the embezzlement of cargo.  The sentence of the Court was that the Defendant, Richardson, be imprisoned for one month for secreting himself on board the Xulla, and six weeks for embezzling the cargo of his ship; and that the other defendants be fined each two dollars for aiding in the concealment of Richardson, the fines to be deducted from the wages they shall earn and to be paid to the ship. 

The prisoner was then removed in custody, and the other defendants instructed to return to their ship and resume their duty, - which they all declined doing.  They complained that the forecastle of the Xulla was not a fit place to live in and they wanted their discharge.  They were instructed to go before H.M. Vice-Consul who would give them a hearing.  When before him they re-iterated their complaint relating to the forecastle.  The Master promised he would repair the forecastle and do all in his power to make the men comfortable, but they said that though they had no further complaint nothing should induce them to go on board.  In default of returning to their duty H.M. Vice-Consul sentenced them each to "one month's imprisonment. - the first two weeks being on bread and water; and further to pay, respectively, out of their wages, any expense that may be incurred for substitutes during the time they are in Gaol."

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