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Colonial Cases

United States v. Callap and others, 1886


United States v. Callap and others

United States Consular Court, Shanghai
Kennedy, 6 October 1886
Source: North China Herald, 13 October 1886

Shanghai, 6th October 1886
Before General Kennedy, U.S. Consul-General, Acting Judicially.
  W. C. Callap was charged with discharging a revolver on the public street.
  Prisoner pleaded not guilty, and said he fired a blank cartridge in his garden.
  Detective Jones - I made the arrest on the evidence of another man.
   W. Sawdy, a British man-of-war sailor, sworn stated - At 2.30 p.m. yesterday I came back from a drive with some of my shipmates.  Nesbitt got out and was a long time away.   Got out of the carriage to see what had become of him, when I saw Callap with a revolver in his hand; he fired it and the bullet passed close to me.  The shot was pretty close to my head.  Nesbitt fired back two shots.   I asked Callap what [line creased] words passed between Callap and Nesbitt, but I do not know what was said.  If it had not jumped back, I should have had the bullet in me, and I should not have been able to be here.  Nesbitt   got out of the trap in the public street.  Callap fired from the verandah and Nesbitt from the street.
  By the Prisoner - I do not know what Nesbitt said to you when he came out of the trap.  I looked for you to find the revolver and took you by the collar.  I heard the bullets pass my head.  I was close to Nesbitt at the time.
  By the Court - The street was not as wide as this room is long.  Callap was standing in the verandah and Nesbitt was standing by me and I was putting on his waistcoat at the time of the firing.  Some people were passing in the street further on.
  J. McGinlay - A shot was fired from a verandah, and two from the street or alley which was as wide as this room.  The verandah is inside, back from the street, and there is a fence in front of it.  I was passing at the time, but did not see who fired the shot.
  By the Court - I do not carry a revolver, but I carry a good stick and it never misses fire.  The shot came from Calla's verandah, the first from the verandah and the second from the street.
  By the Prisoner - I was passing in front of your house at the time of the firing.
  Detective Jones, in answer to the Court, said the pistol had not been found.
  W. C. Callap, sworn stated - On the night of the 3th, Nesbitt came to my house drunk,  he was always coming to my house - I told him not to come in.  He wanted porter, I had none to give him.  He then said I had stolen a dog and a monkey, abused me shamefully and said he would shoot somebody and might as well shoot me as anybody else.  Yesterday afternoon he came again and wanted me to have a drink, and when I refused, he asked me to go with him for a drive.  I refused this also, when he abused me,
so I told the man who was with me at the time that I would scare Nesbitt, and I loaded my revolver with blank cartridge and fired it into the yard.
He had previously tried to come into the yard and took off his coat and waistcoat and said he would fight me as well as any other person.
  A. F. Last, sworn stated - I was at Callap's at 2 p.m. yesterday, while he was having his dinner, and while we were talking, Nesbitt came and asked Callap to have a drink.  Callap refused, so Nesbitt abused him, pulled off his coat and came into the house.  I saw the cartridge; there was no ball in it.  The first shot was fired from the verandah, two shots were fired by Nesbitt from the street.
His Honour in passing sentence said - I find you guilty of firing a pistol on the public street of Shanghai.  It is true you fired from your verandah, but you had no right to do so to the terror of people passing along the street as the public would have no idea the cartridge was not loaded.  Nesbitt had no right to come to your house as he did, and under the circumstances I will be lenient in the judgment.  I am not clear the man made an effort to get into your house.  If he had attempted to do you violence, it would have been different, but in the present case, there was insufficient cause for you to fire blank cartridge.  I shall fine you $15 and the costs, or you will go to prison for 15 days in default of payment.  I hope this will be a lesson to you, you look like a law abiding citizen.

  Martin Nesbitt was charged with discharging firearms in the streets and with carrying a loaded weapon against Bye Law XXXVII of the Municipal Regulations.
  The prisoner pleaded guilty.
  [line creased] of $25 and the costs, or failing to pay this, to be confined for 60 days in all.
  Martin Nesbitt was charged with violently assaulting and wounding J. Miller in a sampan on the 4th instant.  He pleaded not guilty.
  A sampan man stated - A fight took place in my sampan.  I did not see the thing clearly, I only know two people were fighting, but I did not see who struck the first blow.  The fighting took place while they were going down to Tungkadoo, about half an hour after they had been in the boat Nesbitt fell overboard.  He had a piece of wood in this hand, a block or something of that kind, and he used it to strike Miller with.  I did not see Miller with a knife.  I could not see clearly, they were fighting in the bottom of the boat.  No pistol was used in the boat.  I heard shots fired from the ship which Nesbitt went to.  I do not know in which direction the shots went.
  J. Miller sworn stated - When I got into the sampan from the Soochow Creek, I do not recollect how I got in; I think Nesbitt picked me up and put me in.  When I laid down in the sampan I had $4.50 in my pocket.  They went through me.  I was so drunk I was helpless.  I knew Nesbitt was in the boat with me.  I just mind getting knocked stupid; my head is cut all over, and I cannot raise my arm.  Nesbitt took me to his ship.  When I came ashore again I was taken to the Police Station in a jinricksha.
  Sergeant Kelly, sworn stated - I took Miller to the Station, he was apparently helpless till he got there, and when I washed him he simply said "they have gone through me."
  By Prisoner - I searched Miler at the Station and found nothing on him.  If he had money on him when he left the Station next morning, I do not know how he came by it.
  J. Watson sworn, stated - Miller was drunk and tried to throw Martin (Nesbitt) overboard; three of us went off together. The striking took place after I left the boat.  Martin gave me $2.50.  I cannot remember if I told Inspector Charters I had received money from Nesbitt to say that I had seen nothing.
  M. Nesbitt, s worn, sated - Miller wanted the sampan to turn back, but I would not allow it; he got hold of my legs and tried to throw me overboard three times.  The [creased line] I knocked him down in the sampan.  I did not know anything till he put a knife in my side.  I called out to Jack (Watson) that I was cut, and Miller threw the knife overboard. (Witness exhibited several scratches which he said were made by the knife.) Miller drew the knife through Watson's hand and cut it (curt exhibited).  Miller threw me overboard.  I was in the water ten minutes, and got under the gangway when I was pulled out.  I then went ashore again in another sampan and told Holmes his boarder had cut me and Watson.
  By the Court - I had nothing in my hand when I struck Miller, I did not have a pin in my hand when I struck him.  I was going to make a charge against Miller yesterday morning, but was told he had gone away.
By the Complainant - I did not go through you, I had plenty of money of my own; I did not strike you with a sick while alongside the ship.
  J. Holmes stated Nesbitt had gone to his house on the night of the assault and said Miller had cut him with a knife.
  Inspector Charters - Yesterday afternoon, Watson came to me and told me that Nesbitt had given him $2 to swear that black was white.  He told me Nesbitt had stabbed Miller on the mouth.  I saw a wound on Miller's lip. Watson came voluntarily and told me.
  The sampan man, recalled, said the complainant had pushed the prisoner off the sampan.
  His Honour in passing sentence said - If the evidence of Watson could be relied on in the mater, I would find you not guilty, but a man who will make the statement he did to Inspector Charters cannot be believed in this Court.  I am therefore remanded to arrive at a conclusion from circumstantial evidence as much as anything else.  The plaintiff was unquestionably quite drunk and you admit striking him and knocking him down in the sampan.  If Miller was as drunk as stated, he was not capable of resisting.  The charge against you of taking his money is too vague.  Under all the circumstances, I am compelled to find you guilty of assault on the man; there are some reasonable doubts in your favour, so I sentence you to 30 days imprisonment and to pay the costs.
  The prisoner pleaded hard to be dealt leniently with.  He said if he was imprisoned, he would have nowhere to go [line creased] whereas now he had a ship to go away in.
  His Honour said he would consider the matter, but ultimately if he altered the present decision, the fine would be a heavy one.
 The defendant was charged with being drunk and disorder at the Hongkew Police Station and was sentenced to 10 days imprisonment and $5 fine and the costs.

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