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Colonial Cases

Shanghai Police Court, 1872

[minor crimes]

Shanghai Police Court records

Police Court, Shanghai
Source: The North-China Herald, 25 May 1872


22nd May.

J. MACPHERSON and T. BANKS of the Achilles.

Assaulting a Chinese police constable, and stealing his property as also that of another Chinaman.

P.C. AH-NO stated, that the prisoners, together with four others, were standing on one side of the road near the Hongkew end of the Soochow Creek Bridge when he happened to pass them.  Macpherson went up to him, laid hold of his jacket, and having discovered him to be a policeman from an examination of it, struck him a blow in the mouth with his clenched fist, and bled it.  Banks at the same time came forward, struck him a hard blow on the back of his \head and snatched his hat.  The constable ran away and about twenty yards off met Sergeant Slater and a foreign constable, to whom he complained.

The sergeant said he returned with the native constable to where the prisoners were, and on their being pointed out, he took them in charge.  The native constable was bleeding at the mouth and without a hat. It was moonlight, but he did not search them then; doing so at the station, he found the constable's hat secreted inside Bank's coat.  Of the two, Macpherson appeared to have been the worse for liquor.

MACPHERSON said that, although he had had a little grog he was not so drunk as to be unconscious of his acts.  He pleaded that the prosecutor must have been mistaken in his identity as he never saw the man before in his life.

Banks didn't remember the affair at all.

The other Chinese prosecutor stated that he saw the prisoners assault the native constable.  When the latter ran away they went up to him, and taking him likewise for a policeman, Macpherson struck him, and snatched his hat, which he threw into the creek.  He had not recovered it and he estimated the cost of it at 50 cents.

His Worship said he believed the account given by the native constable to be the truth.  It appeared to him that the assault was an entirely unprovoked a d shameful one.

Inspector Stripling hoped the Court would mark its sense of the offence by severely punishing the prisoner.  If native constables were not to be protected from wanton attacks of drunken sailors, there was an end to getting them to work.

His Worship was glad that, to the best of his recollection, there had never been any similar cases before him.  Had it been otherwise, he would certainly have passed sentence of imprisonment.  Native constables were inoffensive, and their presence a guarantee of order alike for the foreigner as for the Chinese.  They didn't interfere with foreigners, and he would wish that all should understand that, in any future cases of the kind, severer measures would be taken.  He would fine Macpherson $4 for the assault on the constable, $1 for that on the Chinaman, and order him to pay the latter 50 cents for his lost hat.  As for Banks, he did not appear to have gone to such a length as his companion, and his taking away the constable's hat appeared to have been more a drunken frolic, than otherwise.  He fined him $2.


T. MALLEY, of the Zeus.

Drunk and disorderly.

R. TALBOT, the master, sworn, stated - The defendant entered his cabin on Sunday morning and asked to be allowed to go on shore.  Having broken his leave the previous week, he refused to allow him.  Defendant, who was somewhat drunk, then commenced to abuse him.  He was that day ordered to do the cooking of the ship, the cook being drunk.  In obedience to the prosecutor, he left the cabin and went forward; but he entered the galley and threw overboard 16 lbs of fresh meat and 1 fowl, the entire provision for that day.  The master left the ship to procure the assistance of the police, but could not get it.  When he returned, defendant was quiet.  He would estimate the provisions lost at $3.

Defendant said when he asked civilly for leave, the Captain swore at him and challenged him to fight and that so exasperated him that he set to abusing in return.  They abused each other in fact.  He confessed to having thrown overboard the provision in a fit of rage.

The Court assessed the damage at $2, which it ordered the defendant to make good, and to pay the costs of summons.


T. COLLINGS. - Assault (adjourned from yesterday.)

The two seamen deposed that they did not see the assault committed.  They saw the Captain at the galley door and heard him complain of the dirt inside.  Presently he was heard to rebuke the prosecutor for laughing at him.  The Captain then entered the galley, but what happened there, as they were working on the forecastle, they did not know.  However, an hour and a half afterwards, complainant told them the Captain had struck him.  He bore a slight scratch over the left eye, but it didn't appear to have been caused by a blow.

His Worship said he could not convict a person for assault without the charge having been proved, and this became more necessary in cases where the prosecutor's countrymen were concerned, because they were so liable to exaggerate their grievance.  The defendant had admitted a slight assault, and he would have to pay the costs of summons.

The prosecutor SHEIK ALI was then put into the dock, to answer the master's charge against him for having been absent from the ship since last Thursday without permission.

Defendant confessed to the charge and said he was afraid to return on board lest the master would again beat him.  The ship was to sail in two days.

Seven days' imprisonment and pay costs of summons.


Shanghai, 23rd May.

W. MOORE and J. JOHNSON of the Black Adder.

Refusal of Duty.

The men admitted the charge.  They had asked the Captain on Monday to discharge them, and when he refused to do it, they knocked off duty and had remained so ever since.  The wanted to leave the ship because the captain was in the habit of growling at their steering.  The compass, they complained, was too high for them.

The Court advised the defendants to return to their work, but they persisting in their refusal, the Magistrate sentenced them to two weeks' hard labour each, and to pay costs of summons.


Source: The North-China Herald, 1 June 1872


Shanghai, 27th May.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.

C. WILLIAMS, of the Miaca.

Absent without leave.

Prisoner said he joined the vessel at Nagasaki, and signed "articles" on the 22nd April for one month.  He left the ship on last Saturday.  He did not however report the circumstance at the Shipping Office, although, having left her at 12 and the vessel only sailed at 4 o'clock, he had time to do so.  He said he wanted to join the U.S. nab y, in which he had served nine years before.

As there was no means of ascertaining the troth of prisoner's statement with regard to the expiry of his articles, the vessel having left, His Worship ordered the prisoner to come up for sentence whenever required.


W. R. PARKER, - Assault.

Inspector STRIPLING applied for a remand, owing to the prosecutor being too unwell to appear; the Doctor was unable as yet to say whether his skull was fractured or not, the blow having been inflicted with a sling shot.  The instrument was produced in Court, stained with blood.  The prisoner admitted to the Inspector at the United States Consulate General, where he was first taken, that he had committed the assault.


28th May.

R. v. RICHARD W. PARKER, Felonious Assault (adjoiurned from yesterday.)

Inspector Stripling handed into Court a certificate from Dr. Macgowan, stating that prosecutor was still unable to appear and give his evidence.  He had been sent to the General Hospital.

R. GREACY, sworn stated, - I am a citizen of the United States, and reside in the American Sailors' Home.  The accused is bar-keeper there.  I was in the bar-room on Sunday last, a little after noon, with the prisoner and two seamen, trhe name of one of whom was Deblin (the prosecutor), and that of the other I subsequently learned to be Macfarlane.  I was sitting down reading.  Deblin as growling about his dinner, sometimes sitting down, sometimes moving about.  Macfarlane was sitting next to me on my right, and Deblin nest to him, about 8 feet from me.  Prisoner was sometimes behind the bar, sometimes moving about in the room.  He and Deblin had a dispute; he went behind the bar and came out again, and I heard Deblin say, "put away that sling-shot, and I'll fight you."  I paid no attention to what was going on.  The next thing I heard was Deblin saying, "Don't strike me with that sling-shot."  I then looked up and saw blood running down Deblin's neck, and some on the floor.  Deblin then said he would go for a policeman.  The prisoner returned to behind the bar.  I believe Deblin went and washed himself, before he actually went for a policeman.  I don't recollect anything that was said by prisoner.

Deblin was sitting down at the time I looked up, and prisoner standing in front and close to him.  We were all sitting against the wall.  I didn't hear any sound of a blow struck.  Prisoner had been scuffling with Deblin.  I mean that, in the course of their dispute, Parker had laid hold of Deblin and forced him into his seat again to make him quiet - I think, I am not sure of it.  All the time there was a row - growling - going on between them, about the dinner I believe. It was after this [after Dublin's remark about his being struck with a sling-shot] that prisoner went behind the bar.  I didn't see the former take hold of Parker.  I remember Serjt. Skinner and Mr. Stripling enquiring subsequently of prisoner if he owned a sling-shot.  I didn't hear what reply he made.

Mr. Stripling here informed the Court that Macfarlane, whom he had expected to call to give evidence, had that morning left in the Levi Stephens.  Besides that witness he had Serjt. Skinner, the prosecutor and himself, to be examined for the prosecution.

George Skinner, Sergeant, sworn, stated, I was on duty on Sunday last at the Station.  I remember Deblin's coming there about 12.30 that day.  Blood was flowing from two wounds on his head.  He complained that the bar-keeper at Mr. Murphy's had struck him with a sling-shot.  It was some time, about 10 minutes, before I could stop the bleeding, by the application of cold water.

I went after that to the "Mariner's Home," where I saw thr prisoner and the last witness, who were the only two in the bar-room at the time.  I acquainted prisoner with the charge against him.  He said, "It's nothing of the kind, the man had been drinking all the morning and been outside fighting, and came in with blood all over him, but I don't know where he got it."  I asked the previous witness if he had seen Deblin struck by prisoner; he said he had not.  I did not arrest the prisoner at this time.  Afterwards I went back with Mr. Stripling, and we searched the bar-room.  I heard him ask the prisoner of he had a sling-shot there.  He said he had not.  I saw Me. Stripling search the bar and find the sling-shot from underneath the bar.  Mr. Stripling had to rake it out with a stick.  I noticed stains of fresh blood in it.  I arrested prisoner then.



29th May.

Before C.  W. GOODWIN, Esq.

ABDOOLAH of the Ottawa.

Drunk and Disorderly.

P.C. BOYS met prisoner on the Club Bridge, last night, in a wheelbarrow.  The barrow-man dropped him there and refused to proceed further.  Prisoner thereupon assaulted him and he ran away.  The constable ordered the prisoner to go about his business, and he moved towards the sampans, but presently returned to the bridge, and commenced to obstruct the thoroughfare, beating Chinese who attempted to pass.  He caught hold of an old woman and held her prisoner, evidently, the constable believed, with the intention of assaulting her, but he, coming up at the time, took him in charge.

On the way to the station, prisoner was very disorderly, using abusive and obscene language, and gave much trouble.  He was not very drunk.  At the station, assistance had to be called to get him into the cell.

Prisoner pleaded that he was drunk, and knew nothing of what he did.

Fined $1, and costs of $ 1½.


R. v.  MAHOMED KASSIM, steward on board the Monocacy.

Entering a Chinese woman's house on the Yang-king-pang and destroying her property.

The prosecutrix stated that she had known defendant for a month past.  He used to frequent her house, but she refused to have anything to say to him.  Last Friday, he was seen coming, and she attempted to bar the door against him; he took up a brick and threw it at her, at the same time drawing a knife and threatened to use it, and using very violent language.  He returned next night and tried to coax her, and she refusing still, he broke two panes of glass and damaged her umbrella.

Defendant asked the prosecutrix several questions, tending to prove the nature of her calling and his long intimacy with her; the witness, however, did not know him more than a month ago, and on every occasion of his visit refused to accept his advances.

Sergt. YEOMANS, sworn, stated - Last Thursday or Friday, at 9 a.m. complainant, in company with some other women, complained at the station that defendant had been in the habit of visiting her house and creating a disturbance there.  I was ordered then to pas thje Yang-king-pang in the course of my night rounds.  I heard several women shouting for the police last Saturday night, about half-past 11.  I went to the spot and saw defendant at the door of No. 25 Sungkiang Road.  I enquired the cause of the row, and was told that defendant had created a great noise in the house and broken two panes of glass, pieces of which I noticed on the floor.  I took him to the Station.  He was the worse for liquor.  The women were advised to summon him, which they appear to have done.

Fined $4.50 and $1.50 costs.


30th May.

Before R. A. MOWAT, Esq.

J. MELVILLE of the Tamerlane, absent without leave.

Prisoner said the master swore he would take his life if he returned to the ship without having procured a guarantee to enable him to be discharged from the ship.

Remanded - for the captain to appear against the man, he having reported him an absentee at the Consulate.


A. HUNT, master of the Cheops, Assault.

... C. CROCKETT, sworn, stated - I am the cook of the vessel.  On Thursday last I had a fight with the steward.  The captain sent for me and reprimanded me for having fought, and said he would not allow anything of the kind.  He added that he had a great mind to chastise me himself, and quickly set about it, and punched me in the most brutal manner.  The mate came between us twice, but could not get the master away till he had satisfied himself.  He then ordered me to pack up my traps and go ashore.  I was to cease work in the galley.

By the defendant. - You didn't commence b y putting me out of the cabin, nor did I strike you.  It wasn't with the open hand that you struck me, you used all the force you had.

By the Court. - I never struck back or attempted to it.  I did nothing more than try to ward off the blows; I was half-lying down on a bag of signals.  The chief mate was in the cabin, all the time.  I didn't give the defendant any cheek.  I simply replied to him that the affair wasn't my fault.  After the fight with the steward I washed my face and put on a clean shirt.  The great part of the bruises on my face are caused by the Captain, I don't know how many time he struck me.

The Chief mate gave evidence to the effect that he saw the prosecutor after both engagements, and did not tbhink that he showed worse condition after the second fight.  He had heard previously high words in the cabin between the Captain and the cook.  The witness contradicting the prosecutor on two other somewhat material points.  His Worship discredited Crockett's story and dismissed the case.

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