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Colonial Cases

R v. Smith, 1859

[shipping, mutiny]

R. v. Smith

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



29th November, 1859.

Before THOS. TAYLOR MEADOWS, Esq., H.M. Consul,  A. J. HOW, R. JARVIE, Assessors.

ED. SMITH, A.B. of the Melancthon was charged by ROBERT SIMPSON. Then Master, with having, on the 29th of June last, whilst the ship was at sea on her voyage from England to Shanghae, committed various mutinous acts on board the Melancthon and with having on the same day attempted to use a sheath knife against the chief mate.

The evidence relative to the later part of the charge was very conflicting.  Some witnesses declaring that the prisoner drew the knife and others that he had only had his hand on the handle and that the mate drew it from its scabbard and threw it overboard; whilst all the witnesses disagreed as to the spot on the deck where the scuffle had taken place.  The prisoner was however convicted of having disobeyed the orders of his officers on that day by refusing to come on deck when called.  Taking into consideration that he had already been a prisoner on board the ship nearly three months, the Court only sentenced him to be imprisoned in H.M. Consular Gaol for two weeks.  At the conclusion of the case H. M. Consul remarked on the impropriety of mates having recourse to unnecessary violence when dealing with the crew, which conduct often led, as it might have done in this case, to very serious results.

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