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Colonial Cases

R v. Harrison [1884]


Supreme Court for China

Shanghai, 10 January 1884

Source: Supreme Court of China (Shanghai), Judges' Notebooks, Vol. 3 (1880-1893), The National Archives (U.K.), FO1092: 340, p 26


Regina v. George William Harrison.

Charge: Conspiracy.

Plea - not guilty.

Jurors: C. H. King, T. Harris, V. D. O. Wintle, Frank Stokes, T. Jeffrey.

Mr. Williamson for the prosn, opens the case.

Heinrich Robart, sworn.  German subject.  Know the prisoner.  He had been in the Customs Service in [C???].  Told me he had left the service.  I too left the service.  He arrived in Shanghai about the 12 of Novr.

   (Shown a letter, 480.) That letter was written by the prisoner - the whole of it with the exception of the [????] heading. [27]

   (Shown a letter, 524.)  The whole of that letter too was written by the prisoner.

   I was sitting alongside of him when he wrote them.

   He was in want of a coat & a pair of boots & I gave him the paper upon which he wrote the letters.  It was in [England's] school he wrote them.  I believe it was on the 18th of Octr.  He asked if I wd take the letters to the stores.  I agreed to do so.

   I showed prisoner this paper (A) which contained Luttendorff's genuine signature.

   On the 20th I took the letter [A. B.].  Accd came with me, but stayed outside.  I ordered a quantity of things, which were laid out for me.  I took away a shirt & a hat.  I went back again & asked for the paper but didn't get it.  I was told the paper had been sent to the German Consulate.  I told the prisoner of this that night.

   I took the other letter to [W & M].  I had ordered clothes for myself & prisoner.  They were put out for us.  Mr. [M] sd he wd send the things - not getting them, I went again - was told I cdn't have them, & asked for the letter which I was told had been sent to the German [28] Consulate.

   Prisoner didn't accompany me there.  I asked him but he wn't (he said) stand outside the door.

   I have been tried at the German Consulate & found guilty on a charge of obtaining goods under false pretences.

   No Xn.

Henry [Powell], sworn.  One of the shareholders in the H. K. Coop Co.  On the 19th Robart came to our shop.  481 was brot to me by Mr. Cother.  I made enquires & eventually stopped the supply of more goods.  A hat & shirt [29] [case] had been supplied.

No Xn.

Joseph Peake Coltam, sworn.  Apt in A & A C. C.  Recollect seeing 480.  Robart brt it to me & said he wanted clothes.  I took him to the departmt.  He procured nothing for me.  He did select some goods.  He went away & retd, when I told him that he cd have no goods till the signature had been verified.  He obtained only a hat & [pencil?].

No Xn. 

Daniel O'Rourke, sworn.  Apt., in A & A Co. Co.  Saw Robart about the 18th or 19th of Decr. Coltam brot him to me & said he wants some underclothing.  He chose several articles.  I supplied him with an [alum??] or pencil & hat.  Like those shown me.  It was shirts & other such articles he selected altogether.  He also said he wanted clothes, [30] amt wd have been for about $200.

No Xn.

Wilhelm [M?xxxhausen], sworn. Partner in [Widek & ??].  Robart came to me about the 20 Decr.  This letter (524) is said he had come to get some clothing.  I told my assistant to supply him with what he might want, but not to let it go out of the store, as I had doubts about the letter.

As a result of my enquiries, I declined to let him have the goods that he had in my absence selected.  He had ordered to about $160.  He came again to get them, I wd not give them.

No Xn.

Chas. Robert England, sworn.  Accd was living in my house last month. It was a school.  Knew Robart, who came to my house in company with prisoner several times.  Accd asked me for blotting paper.  I gave him a piece, which he complained of as being too thin.  It is like this.  I now [31] identify it. This was in the school room.  I left him there & went upstairs.  When I went down again after about ½ an hour he handed me a piece of blotting paper & sd this was good.  I remarked it was thick & left it on my desk.

   Detective Mark Cater got that piece of blotting paper, and all the prisoner's clothes & papers.  They were [???] by the prisoner as his.  I saw the prisoner writing about the time that I gave him the bl. Paper.  It was on white foolscap with a printed heading similar to 480.  I didn't read the heading.

Xd.  Robart was there when accd gave me back the blotting paper.  When I went upstairs I left Robart & prisr together.  There was no one else.  When I came down again, accd was alone in the school room.

   I don't know whether Robart went out & got the blotting paper or not. [32]


Victor Birt, sworn.  Asst in W & M.  Saw R hand the letter to [??].  He ordered the goods, didn't get them.  He came back several times for them.

Arthur Mack, sworn.  Inspr of Police.  I arrested the prisoner on the 21st.  I cautioned him.  After I had gone some distance towards the station, he said he had written the letter, but the signature was added by Robart.  On Sunday the 15th I sent to England's house with Kluth.  England gave me a piece of blotting paper which I cannot identify.  I found another piece I which I do identify.

   I found the impression of Von Luttendorff's signature. I compared it with the signature to 524 & found them to correspond.  I found several other papers, one of them was a letter from Von Lutt. to prisoner.  Another was a draft of a letter [33] from accd to Mr. Lovell.

[Waldo] Kluth, sworn.  Inspr of Police.  I accompanied Mack to England's house.  What he said in Ct just now is correct.

   I have had opportunities of seeing V. M.'s signature.  That (524) is not his signature, nor that (480).  I have had considerable expce of handwriting.  To the best of my skill the signature to that is written by the same person as wrote the body of the letter.  So is that.

Case for prosn closed.

Prisoner calls no witnesses.

Adjd till 2 p.m.  R. A. Mowat  [34]

Prisoner says he had no idea of what the letters were reqd for.

I sum up.

Verdict - Guilty.

Sentence - 6 mos h.l.  R. A. Mowat.



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