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Colonial Cases

R v. Parker [1872]

wounding - assault

Supreme Court for China

Shanghai, 14 June 1872

Source: Supreme Court of China (Shanghai), Judges' Notebooks, The National Archives (U.K.), FO1092: 339, pp 42-52

Regina v. William Richard Parker

Indictment read

1st. Feloniously wounding one Henry Deblin with a slingshot with intent to do him some grievous bodily harm;

2nd. Unlawfully & maliciously assaulting the said Henry Deblin & thereby unlawfully and maliciously inflicting on him grievous boduily harm;

3rd. Assaulting and beating the said Henry Deblin.

Jury: W. Brand; J. Hall; H. Reynell; V. C. Housman; T. W. Song: sworn.

Objection to a Singaporean Jury man, a B. S. - Over ruled.

Mr. Stripling for the prosecution.

Mr. Brown for the prisoner.

Prisoner pleads "Not guilty".

Mr. Brown applies for all witnesses to leave the Ct. Objects to Mr. Stripling prosecuting.

Policeman prosecuting. Mr. Stripling - Inspector. Law Secretary - right to prosecute.

I refuse to turn Mr. Stripling out of Ct. because he is a witness.

Let all the other witnesses go out of Ct.

Henry Deblin

I am an Able-Seaman. I have been staying at the Mariners home. I am at present in the Hospital. The Prisoner is Bar Keeper in the Home. I went to my dinner on the 25 th or 26 th of May at the Home. There was another man there. he has gone away in my place. I said Parker - this is rough there is no soup. He said none of your d----d business, get up & clean the Home. I told him I would not until the [runner] should put me on board my vessel on the Monday follg. I sat in my chair with my back to the wall & my side to the window & Parker went behind the Bar. Two men were sitting beyond me, Greary & Macfarlane. Parker came back & told me again to clean the Home. I told him I would not & gave him the same answer as before. He up with a sling shot & hit me on the top of the head. I told him not to strike me with it & I got another blow on the side of the head. I sang out to lay down the sling shot & I would get up. He made three more blows at me which I recd on my left arm. I stood up & the Blood began to run about my face & neck. I sat down again & the blood made a pool on the floor. I went down to the Station. I saw Inspr Kennedy - he [was/wash] my head cut the hair off & took me to Dr. Macgowan. I got bad in the night & was taken to the hospital & I am there yet. Parker went aftwds behind the Bar. I don't know what he did with. I am certain is was a sling shot (describes it). I shd know it again - that is the one (produced). I was present when it was found.


I was not on board ship on Sunday Morng. I was about town - it must have been about 11 or ½ past. I might have had some drink. I was quite sober. I went to the sleepg apartment. I had signed Articles that day. I was not to go aboard until Monday. I had some work on board the ship. The Runner fetched me. I had not settled my account until Saturday night but I had a claim for Boasrd & lodging until I was put on board on the Monday. I was entitled to my dinner. I had paid until Monday morng. I complained - I thought the dinner bad. I left the dining room after 12. He said it was none of my God d----d business. It was not necessary for me to give notice that I wanted dinner. I did not use any strong language, was not abusive. There had been no scuffle, we had always been friends. He gave me no reason for wanting me to leave. I know the "Old Home at home." The keeper's name is "George."I never used foul language [or] [???] disorderly language. I have never been obliged to leave it. There was no wrangling on the Sunday. I sat quietly & allowed the Prisoner to strike me. I felt hurt. I went down to the Station. I complained to [Inspr/Supt?] Skinner there. I told him what had occurred. Dr. Macgowan put a bandage on. The [??above] went back to arrest the Prisoner. I was taken bad aftwds at the Home & next day went to the Hospital. I was sitting in the chair for 10 mins aftwds before I went to the Station. I did not take any more liquor - The Dr. forbade me taking. From the moment I was struck until I was taken to the Hospital. I have [??????] nothing. Dr. Macgowan attended me at the Hospital. I was brought first time to the Ct in a sampan, the next time I walked up - I had a cap on & the Officers Umbrella. There was no ill-will before but aftwds. I get drunk once in a while.

Re exd.

I don't think I had two drinks on Sunday morng. Drink does not affect me very mkuch. I settled my Acct with Parker on Saturday eveng. I had asked when I was to go on Board. I was told I was to go on board Monday morng. The Prisoner had no authority to order me away. I have had a drink occasionally with Fuller the Bar keeper of the "Old Home." I am still ill. They won't let me out of the Hospital - perhaps they may today.

Robt [Greary/Greesey]

I am a citizen of the U.S. My memory is bad owing to a blow on the head I got some years ago. I reside in the Prisoner's home. He is bar-man there. I was in the Bar on a Sunday three ago. There was a disturbance there. Deblin was half intoxicated & he & the Bar-keeper had had a disturbance about 12 ¼. I think they had some sort of scuffle.

I heard Deblin say, Put that sling shot away & I'll fight you. I did not hear any reply. I was reading. There was a man called Macfarlane there. Deblinwas sometimes sitting & sometimes standg. He was growling about something. I had been there all the morning. When I heard him say about the sling shot D. was in the corner of the Room. I looked up & saw D. with a good deal of blood on him. Prisoner was 4 or 5 feet from him. D. got up & said he would go to wash himself. Pris. went behind the Bar. I was in the Room when [Inspt/Supt] Skinner came to look after the Prisoner. I don't remember if anything passed between them. I remember you coming. I remember you searching the Bar - you found a sling shot in the Bar.


I have known Prisoner two years & a half. I saw D. come in & out all the morng. He was the worse for liquor about noon. I cannot recollect the language exactly. I cannot say for certain what they were wrangling for. D. was walking up & down the room all the morning. He was fully half gone. I think the name of the ship to which D. belonged was the ["Winter"?]. I saw blood on his neck. He washed himself, or at least some else did. He went out into the yard. He said he would wash & go down to the Police Station. He was away 10 or 15 minutes. He did not fall down. D. was living in the Home. He was more or less drunk any day. I can't say whether he used foul language. He was beastly intoxicated [u/lined x 2] all that afternoon. He went to bed.

[Note in margin: sling shot effects of blow.]

Re xd.

G. Skinner See Deposition.

I took him round to Dr. Macgowan who dressed his head. [Greary/Greesey] was sitting within the Bar. I asked him if he knew anything - he said he did not see it, but he had heard a scuffle. The Master said that if Prisoner had so conducted himserlf he shd have been arrested. I then went to search the Bar room. Mr. Stripling asked Prisoner if he had a thing as a sling shot in the Bar. Pris. said No. Upon search a sling shot was [raked] out. Complt said that was what he had been struck. I then arrested Prisoner & took him to station. This is the sling shot.


The wound had not been washed until I washed it. He was there 15 or 20 mins. I observed him. He was not drunk - he may have taken a glass of liquor - man appeared to me to be sober. The wounds were on the side of the head - it was a ragged wound an inch & a ¼ long. The man walked to the Doctor's & to the Native Hospital. He stayed there a ¼ of an hour - he went then to the Bar room. He was complaining that his head was sore.

[Note in margin: similar disturbances]

Stripling, Inspector. "See Deposition."


I was at Shgai when I first heard of the case. I saw the Proprietor in a [?????] of the Building. Prisoner denied the sling-shot was his. It appeared to me stained with blood.

[note in margin: Wound - slight - induces fever -]

Case for Prosecution.

Mr. Brown for Prisoner.

Alex. Fuller.

I am a Publican. I keep the "Old Home at Home." I recognise the [Pris./Pros.?] I have seen him twice. He did not pay for his drink the first time. The 2 nd time I turned him out he was abusive.


I have known Prisoner 2 ½ years, as far as I know he is a good character.

Deft's case.

Mr. Brown.

He had settled Bill - no business there. No evidence of striking - provocation.

[Imagination] "Bad language."


[Side note: Case of China-woman ! Scull fractured - by a sailor.] [?The Emily?]

Washes himself.

Walking backwards & forwards.

Nothing out of the way.

A scalp wound.

Description of Sling-Shot. Use of by Sailors.

Rough handling.



That he did own the slingshot & did inflict the wound.

Six months' hard labour.

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