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Colonial Cases

R v. Spencer, 1856

[stealing in dwelling house]

R. v. Spencer, McCullum and Cain

Consular Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 6 September 1856


WE are glad to observe that a tangible case has been brought before H.B.M.'s Consulate and dealt with in a manner to check, at least, the depredations of those vagabonds who have so long committed them beyond the beat of the Police.  We give a statement of the proceedings below.


25th AUGUST, 1856.

D. B. ROBERTSON, H.B.M.'s Consul.


THOMAS PLATT, Assessors.


This was a charge of Robbery in a Dwelling house preferred by Yaou-kin-hwan residing on the Poo-tung side of the River, against William Spencer, John McCullum and Joseph Cain, Seamen, without employment, and residing at the Seaman's Boarding-house on the Poo-tung side.

Yaou-kin-hwan being warned to speak the truth deposed; I recognize the three Prisoners as the men I and others seized on the afternoon of the 22nd inst., about 4 o'clock on that afternoon, they entered the compound of my Dwelling-house and took there from two pieces of cotton cloth, 900 cash and women's silver ornaments together with a Title Deed of my property.  I was not present when they entered, I was in the fields and hearing an outcry I with others rushed in and found boxes broken open and those men leaving the place, we seized, bound and handed them over to the Consular authorities.

Woo-kin-qua, a female, being warned top speak the truth, deposes; I reside in the house these men entered, I recognize them, my house has frequently been visited by Foreigners and fowls and other things taken but I had no means of apprehending them.  On the afternoon of the 22d inst., the Prisoners came ion; they searched the premises and broke open my boxes and took out a few valuables therein consisting of silver hair pins and ornaments, I do not know their exact value for there were but few of them.  I called out for help and my relations who were at work in the fields came to my assistance and seized the Prisoners; as they were leaving with the property.

Chun-ta-qua, a female, deposes; I was in the house at the time, the men were out in the fields and we were alone.  I recognize the three Prisoners as the persons who searched the house; they took the silver hair pins from my head.

Chia-yang-quan, a female; Recognized the three prisoners and deposes to be present when they robbed the house.

The Prisoners having been called upon for their defence, denied they had anything to do with the robbery, they were walking in the neighbourhood and seeing a disturbance went to enquire what it was about, and were forthwith seized and bound.

The Court being of opinion that the charge was fully proved, sentenced the prisoners severally to twelve calendar months Imprisonment with hard labour.

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