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Colonial Cases

United States v. Greacy, 1876


United States v. Greacy

United States Consular Court, Shanghai
Myers, 29 November 1876
Source: The North China Herald, 1 December 1876




Shanghai, Nov. 29th.

Before J. C. MYERS, Esq., Consul General.

Charge of being Accessory to an Assault.

   ROBERT GREACY was charged by George Harrison, storekeeper, with being accessory to a brutal assault on him, in Murphy's drinking saloon, at the corner of Broadway and Taiping Road, Hongkew, on the evening of the 13th instant.  Complainant, who appeared in Court with his head bound up, deposed that he went into the house named on the evening in question to have a drink.  He was perfectly sober.  Three other people, one of them the present defendant, had a drink each with him.  Complainant and defendant began chaffing each other in fun, when the bar-manager, Brown, came in, evidently supposing they were quarrelling.  Brown spoke to complainant about it, and was told they were simply joking.  Brown then spoke sharply to complainant, and in a few minutes afterwards assaulted him by striking him on the head with a bottle, inflicting terrible wounds, and causing him to lose much blood.  Complainant fell to the ground, and called to Greacy to explain to Brown (who still kept beating him with his fists) that they were only joking.  Greacy did not do so, and upon complainant clearing away the blood which was pouring from his wounds into his eyes, he sae Greacy hand to brown a large cane or stick with which he (Brown) recommenced the assault, beating and poking him with it as he lay, hurting him very much.  Greacy had taken the bottle out of Brown's hand, and then handed him the stick.  Greacy did not try to prevent Brown assaulting complainant, who was so much injured that his life was despaired of for four days, and he had been laid up ever since.  Brown is a German, and has been prosecuted by complainant before his own Consul.  The case was proved against him, and he was sentenced to six days' imprisonment.  Had it not been for Greacy, complainant would not have been so badly hurt, and he therefore prosecuted him as a wilful accomplice in the desperate assault made upon him, and for providing a weapon with which he was assaulted, with the intent that he should be injured.

   A certificate from Dr. Pichon was produced, in which was set forth the dangerous nature of complainant's injuries, and also that he was still very feeble from loss of blood.

   Detective YEOMANS, on being asked if he knew anything about the house in which the assault was committed, said he knew nothing detrimental regarding it lately, but it was a place where slung shot had been used, as perhaps the American gaol authorities might remember.

   The CONSUL-GENERAL asked if there were any witnesses to be called for the defence?

   Defendant said he had a witness, who was present the whole time, but he did not know his name.  He believed he was waiting outside.

   The Marshal went in search, and presently returned with a man who said his name was Hartley.

   Witness deposed that he was in the room during the time the complainant, defendant, and Brown were there.  He saw the row begin, and considered it was nothing more than a "rough and tumble fight," In which Harrison got the worst.  Witness did not see Greacy hand a stick or cane to Brown, nor did he see Brown use a stick or cane.  If one had been used, he must have seen it.

   The CONSUL-GENERAL - When you saw a man's head cut nearly to pieces in the way complainant was, did you do nothing to prevent it?  Did you sit still and look on the whole time?

   Witness - I did call out to them to leave off.

   Defendant denied that he encouraged Brown in any way, or that he handed him a stick.

   No other evidence was called, and

   The CONSUL-GENERAL said that, considering the contradictory  nature of the evidence regarding the stick or cane, and in view of the whole circumstances of the case, and the fact that Brown, the man who really committed the assault, had already been sentenced by his own Consul, he had come to the conclusion to dismiss the charge.

[* Brown was immediately set at liberty, on the understanding "that on the 1st prox., he will report when he will be ready to undergo the six days' imprisonment and that he will then surrender himself."]

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