Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

R. v. Dollah and Badjoe, 1870


R. v. Dollah and Badjoe

Supreme Court of China and Japan
4 October 1870
Source: The North-China Herald, 11 October 1870




Oct. 4th, 1870.

Jury Trial.

Before C. W. GOODWIN, Esq., - Deputy Chief Judge.



Stabbing and wounding.

The following Jury was empanelled: - Messrs. C. T. Jones, W. Lent, Geo. Mackay, H. Cooper, and C. G. Webb.

   The indictment charged the prisoners with intent to murder, and to do grievous bodily harm, and with assault; but the felonious counts were struck out, on technical grounds, by direction of his Lordship, and the prisoners tried on those for misdemeanour.

   Prisoners pleaded not guilty.

   Inspector Stripling prosecuted; and Mr. Kelly, of the Sailors' Home, acted as Interpreter, and at his Lordship's request watched the case for the prisoners.

   AHMAT, the complainant, sworn, said - About 7 p.m. on Sunday the 25th Sept., I was walking in a lane in Hongkew with a man named Fritz, when the two prisoners came up and spoke.  They asked whose men we were.  I said I belonged to Cassim, when Badjoe struck me with his fist.  I struck him back again, and we commenced fighting.  When I struck him back again, Badjoe drew his knife and stabbed me in the neck, and I immediately ran to the Ghant Serang's house.  I told Cassim that I was stabbed, and he went with me to the place where it had occurred, and afterwards to the police station.  Dr. Macgowan saw the wound, and has seen and dressed it about five times since.  (Identified the prisoner Badjoe as the man who had struck and stabbed him.)  The time was about half-past seven in the evening.  Dollah was fighting with Fritz.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Kelly - I did not first strike Badjoe.

   To his Lordship - I had no knife in my hand.  Before he struck me we had been quarrelling for about five minutes.  The first blow that Badjoe struck knocked me down and I got up to strike him back again when he drew his knife.

   Dr. MCGOWAN, sworn, deposed - I saw the man on the 25th, being sent for to the station.  I found a wound near the carotid artery, quite superficial.  The knife had passed through the integument obliquely.  The wound was not in itself dangerous, but near a dangerous place.  The wound had been made with a sharp knife.  I have seen the man almost daily since, and the wound is now healing.  Had the blow been given direct, instead of obliquely, downward, a very slight distance would have been fatal.

   FRITZ, being called to give evidence, was examined as to his comprehension of the Protestant religion and the nature of an oath.  Said he could read the Bible in Dutch.  When sworn he promptly kissed the book, and with a betrayal of Mahomedan formulae, pressed it to his forehead.  He remembered the row and took part in it.  Dollah and Badjoe both drew knives; and Dollah aimed a blow at witness, while Badjoe struck Ahmat in the neck.  Witness and the wounded man ran away to Cassim's house.  The scuffle had gone on for a few minutes, till a third man appeared, and then the prisoners drew their knives.

   Cross-examined by Mr. Kelly, for prisoner Dollah.  The time of the row was about a quarter to seven and it was somewhat dark.  I saw Dollah had a knife, a white-handled one.

   To the Court - I did not know the prisoners before.  Quite certain they were them.  Had seen them walking about the street before.

   AHMAK, one of Cassim's men, swoern on the Koran,  said - Recollected being out about half past seven on Sunday week the 25th, and when about to return, saw, in  a lane in the neighborhood of where he stayed, the prisoners.  They were asking whose man the others were, and witness saw Badjoe stab the man Ahmat, while Dollah drew a knife to do the same to Fritz.  Witness was standing, with his arms folded, at the time, about six yards off.  He stood in the same spot all the time, and when he saw Fritz run away stepped back too.  Quite sure Dollah had the knife, and that he aimed a blow with it.  Saw Badjoe returning his kniofe to the sheath.  Prisoners also ran away.  Afterwards saw the wound in Ahmat's neck; and identified prisoners when taken in custody in some China houses.  There was an oil lamp burning about thirty feet off.  Saw the men sufficiently to recognise them.  Saw the prisoners, ten minutes after, going into a house occupied by Chinese.  Did not know the men but had seen them about three in the afternoon walking about.

   Cross-examined - I had not been speaking to the prisoners before, but to one of their shipmates.  Saw the knife, a white-handled one, in Dollah's hands.

   CASSIM, ghaut serang, sworn on the Koran, stated - Remembered, about 7.30 on the evening in question, the wounded man came topside to where witness was lying in bed.  Saw the wound.  Went with three men to search for the prisoners, and by another serang was told their names were Dollah and Badjoe.  Ahmat showed him a house where he thought they were, but he on going in saw nobody downstairs.  Ahmat and Fritz went to the Police Station, and witness with other men kept watch round the house.  Witness went away and met Mr. Duncan, the police sergeant, coming to look after the prisoners.  On going back with the sergeant, some one said the men were in that house yet.  On their approaching the house, Dollah came out and said it was not him who had killed the man but Badjoe.

   Sergeant Duncan having given evidence at considerable length; the prisoners' statements in defence were heard.  Dollah's was to the effect that he had no weapon, and both said that the others had begun the row.

   His Lordship having reviewed the evidence in charging the Jury, the latter, after a short consultation in Court found a verdict against Badjoe.

   His Lordship said he could not dissent from the view the Jury took, as the evidence of Dollah's drawing a knife was not entirely satisfactory.  That Badjoe had done so, and had wounded Ahmat, there was no doubt whatever; and as a waning to his class not to resort to the use of the knife when squabbles occurred, he would sentence Badjoe to one year's imprisonment, with hard labour.  Dollah was discharged.

[See also: Judges Notebooks; TNA REFERENCE: FO1092: 339, 1870 [pages 2-9] Reg. v. Dolla and Batzoe; 1st: Assault on Ahmet; 2nd: Assault on Fritz.]


Supreme Court for China

Shanghai, 4 October 1870

Source: Supreme Court of China (Shanghai), Judges' Notebooks, The National Archives (U.K.), FO1092: 339, pp 2-9

1st. Assault on Ahmet;

2nd. Assault on Fritz.

Jurors: H. Cooper, C. G. Webb, G. Mackay, C. T. Jones, J. Thomas, sworn.

Kelly interprets for prisoners.

Indictment amended. First two counts struck out by Judge - Two counts remain.

Both plead not Guilty.

Names Dolla and Batzoe.

On request of Kelly for prisoners, two witnesses ordered out of Court.

Ahmet, sworn on the Koran.

On the night of 25th Sept. I was walking with one Fritz & the two prisoners came up to me & my companion & asked us both whose men we were. Which Ghant Serai we belonged to. I & Fritz said we belonged to Cassim. Batzoe struck me with his fist. I struck him again & we fought. When I struck Batzoe he drew his knife & stabbed me. I was stabbed in the neck. I ran. I went to the Ghant Serai's house. I told Cassim I was stabbed. I went with him to the spot where I was stabbed & then to the police station. Dr. Macgowan saw the wound & I have been five times to have it dressed. It was Batzoe who stabbed me. Dolla was fighting with Fritz. This was at half past 7 p.m. I saw another man come up, while we were fighting. His name was Ahmet.

X exd on behalf of prisoner Batzoe.

I deny I first struck Batzoe.

By the Court.

I had no knife. We were quarrelling about 5 minutes before Batzoe stabbed me. The first blow Batzoe struck me. I fell. I got up again & struck him back.

Dr. Macgowan, sworn

On the 25th I was sent for from my house to the Police Station. I saw the last witness. I found a slight wound, near the carotid artery, not quite superficial. It was not a dangerous wound, but had it gone in another direction it would have been dangerous. It must have been made with a knife & a very sharp one. I have seen him almost daily. The wound is now nearly healed. Had the wound been direct it might have been fatal.

Fritz, sworn (Protestant)

I am a seaman. I am a Malay. I live at Cassim's house. I remember last Friday week. I was walking with Ahmet & met two men - the two prisoners, Dolla & Batzoe, the big man Dolla spoke first - he asked me what man I belonged to. I said to Cassim. Dolla struck me. I struck him back. Another man named Ahmet (not prosecutor) came up. Both Dolla & Batzoe drew their knives. Dolla aimed a blow at me, & Batzoe struck at Ahmet (prosecr) - he cut him in the neck. After that plenty men came & I ran away. I went & told Cassim & then went to P. Station. We both ran away together. I saw Ahmet had a cut in his neck. We were about one or two minutes scuffling before they took their knives. I went with Cassim to find the prisoners. I saw them next in an empty house.

X exd for Dolla

The row took place ¼ to 7 - it was very dark. There was no light when we were fighting. I could see Dolla had a white handled knife. He knocked me down. I ran away when he drew his knife. He drew his knife when Ahmet (No. 2) came up.

By the Court

I never saw the men before. I did not know them before that night. I saw them walking about the streets before.

Ahmet (No. 2) sworn on the Koran.

I am a seaman. I belong to Cassim. I was at Hong gue at a place where Malays stay in the middle of Hong gue. I recollect Friday week last. I went out. It was 7 ½ p.m. I had a watch in my house & saw the time when I went out. It was 7 ½. I was coming back when I saw the tall prisoner strike Fritz & Fritz struck back in return. I saw Batzoe stab Ahmet in the neck, & saw Dolla draw a knife to stab Fritz. I was as far from the fighting as the witness box from the window. I heard the questions put by the two prisoners & I stood on the same spot & saw them draw their knives. After that when I saw Fritz run away I stepped back. I am certain I saw Dolla draw a knife. I saw him aim a blow at Fritz. I saw Batzoe return his knife to the sheath. Batzoe & Dolla ran. When I next saw Ahmet I saw a wound in his neck. I identrified the two prisoners at the Shanghai House. I saw them both taken into custody. There was a gas lamp at the head of the street. There was an oil lamp. The row was about 15 fathoms from where the lamp was burning. I had seen the two prisoners before. I saw their faces. I was never closer to prisoners that as far as from the witness box to the window. I saw the prisoners ten minutes after they ran away. It was a Chinese house. There were people living in it. I saw first one & then the other in custody. I don't know them. I had seen them about 3 o'clock the same day walking about.

Batzoe x's

I did not speak to Batzoe before the row. I spoke to a shipmate of the prisoners not to him. The colour of the knife in Dolla's hand was white.

Cassim, sworn on Koran.

I am Ghant Serai. I remember last Friday week. At 7 ½ I was lying on the bed. Ahmet the prosecutor came to me & told me that two men had cut him with a knife. I saw the wound. I went with Ahmet. He told me they belonged to the [???] [?????]. He said one was named Dolla & one Batzoe. I know Dolla but not Batzoe.

Ahmet (No. 1) showed me a house. I went in & found no one. It was quite dark & I did not go up stairs. I met Mr. Duncanwho was looking for prisoners. He told me to go & search. I went back to the house & met prisoner Dolla there. Dolla said to me that he had made a row, but had not stabbed a man. He said Batzoe had stabbed some one. I took him to the station.

X exd for Dolla

I am certain Dolla told me that. Dolla had sailed with me.

[La fibe?], sworn on Koran

I am a lascar, live with Cassim. I heard about a row on Sunday eveng. I went out of my house.

This witness disqualified as knowing only from hearing.

P. Sergeant Duncan, sworn

I remember last Sunday eveng week. The Pros. & Fritz came to the station about 6.30 p.m.. The gas was lighted at that time, it was a dark evening. I saw that Ahmet had a wound. Fritz said he knew the man who had done it. I went with him to Cassim's. Then we searched house. Fritz pointed out a house. I went in & searched the house below & above. I found no man in the house. There was only a Chinese woman. Cassim gave me their names. I saw that some one had got over a wall. I told Cassim to keep a look out round about. I continued to search. About ½ an hour later I saw Dolla at the station house. I went back in search of a knife. Fritz came to me & said a man (Batzoe) was in an unoccupied house. I went there, & gained an entrance from the house which I had previously [entered]. I found him in the third house - an unoccupied one. The flooring is broke down. The prisoner was in the front part. I took him into custody. I asked him where the knife was. He said he had thrown it away. He took me to a place where he said he had thrown it. There was a good deal of long grass & I could not find it. I took him to the Station House.

Xd for Batzoe.

I am certain Batzoe spoke to me about his knife.

Case for prosecution.

Prisoners have no witrnesses.

Dolla in defence says: Came ashore to buy stores. Fritz came up & asked what ship I belonged to - I said Iron-bark. Fritz said you seem to walk about as if the whole place belongs to you, & struck me. On that I ran away. Seeing other men following I went into an empty house & hid myself. I was caught by Cassim & taken to the P. Station. Says that two men would be afraid to attack any one on shore. When Cassim came to me I said I have created no disturbance with your men. Your men have been striking me. I brought no knife ashore with me.

Batzoe in defence says: I was walking that eveng. Fritz came and asked what ship I belonged to. I said An Iron barque. Fritz said you have no business "to make bad" a man's house. With that he struck me.

Judge sums up.

Verdict: Batzoe - Guilty; Dolla - Not guilty.

Batzoe: Imprisoned for One year with hard labour.

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