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Colonial Cases

R v. Jervis [1887]

wounding with intent - shooting with intent

Supreme Court for China

Shanghai, 13 January 1887

Source: Supreme Court of China (Shanghai), Judges' Notebooks, Vol. 3 (1880-1893), The National Archives (U.K.), FO1092: 340, p 112


Regina v Cornelius Jervis

1st. Indictment.

Charge: Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm to Mr. Sanderson.

2nd. Indictment.

Charge: Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm to Mr. Murphy;

Wounding with intent to to grievous bodily harm to some [unknown].

3rd Indictment.

  1. Shooting at Sanderson.
  2. Shooting at Sanderson with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
  3. Shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm to [???] [????] [???]
  4. Shooting at Sullivan with intent to murder
  5. Shooting at Sullivan with intent to do grievous bodily harm
  6. Shooting at etc. to [???] [???]


The prisoner being arraigned pleads not guilty.

Crown Advocate decide to proceed first [???] upon the 1st Indictment (grievous bodily harm to [????????].

Jury sworn.  Alexander Ross, J. W. Crane, [O.] Middleton, C. W. Holliday, G. Bois.

Mr. Williamson, C.A.  for the prosecution.

Mr. [Latham] for the Prisoner.

Crown Advocate opens case for prosecution.  Open to jury to find Prisoner guilty of wounding with intent or unlawful wounding. [113]


Gilbert Ormsby Sanderson sworn.  I am a British Subject and Chief Mate of the B.S. Lewis Burnell.  I know the prisoner.  He was A.B. on board the ship.  I remember the 12th August last.  We were then on the high seas.  At about 8 o'C that morning I had recd a communication from the 2nd Mate in regard to Jervis.  In consequence I went to the forecastle.  I told Jervis to come over on deck to Pump Ship.  He said he would not.  I went in the Forecastle.  As I went in I saw him put his hand behind his back.  I put my [115] hand out then & gave him a shove.  He went down in a [???].  I went to [take] hold of him.  He drawed his knife from its sheath & stabbed me in the arm.  I then left the Forecastle, went aft & told the captain I was stabbed.  The wound was a deep wound about ¾ of an inch long.  It was bleeding badly while I went aft to Captain.  The Captain dressed the wound.  The wound [bothered] me for over two months & is not well yet.

XXd by Mr. Latham.  I did not catch [116] hold of Jervis when I first went into the Forecastle. The shove I gave him was not a blow.  I just gave him a push.  I did not see his face swollen or cut when he came out of the Forecastle.  I don't remember seeing his mouth bleeding etc.  I had no weapon of any sort when I went into the Forecastle, not a belaying pin or anything.  I had not on a knuckle duster.  I never had one during the whole passage from New York.  I do not know that the Second mate had any.  I swear he never lent any to me.  I never saw any knuckle dusters on board at all. [117]  The 2nd Mate Sullivan went into the Forecastle about the same time as myself.  I did not see him with any knuckle dusters or anything at all.  I stepped in first & the 2nd Mate behind me.  When I went in Jervis was standing up in the Forecastle.  I did not see him doing anything special.  It was the custom to Pump Ship [???] at end of my watch, sometimes after 8 Bells.  After that the watch were below.  After the row the Capt. gave orders that the [118] pumping should be carried out [within] the watch end in [????????????????????????????].

   There is a ship's log.  I keep it & have it in my room.  The first entries of any occurrence are made on the ship's log.  I can produce it.  When I first caught hold of Jervis I did not threaten him in any way.  There is no foundation for his saying he stabbed me in self defence.

Re-exd.  There is an official log kept as well as a ship's log.  The official log is kept by the Capt.

To a Juryman.  I had a shirt, under shirt, & Pants on at the time I was stabbed.  I was stabbed in both arms.  [119]  I cannot say how deep the wound was.

James Murphy, sworn.  I am a British Subject and Master of the Lewis Burnell.  I know the Prisoner.  He was A.B. in Lewis Burnell.  I know the last Witness.  He is my Chief Mate.  I remember the 12th August last and the Mate coming to me about 8 o'C or a few moments after.  He showed me his left arm & a bad wound in it a little below the elbow joint. [120]  It appeared to me I could see a third stab in it.  I [dressed/cleaned] the wound to the best of my ability.  I made an entry of the occurrence in my official log and read over the entries to Jervis.  It is from that having read the entries to him and asked him if he had anything to say, he replied, No, Nothing.

XXd by Mr. Latham.  I cannot say exactly when I entered the occurrence in the official log.  I wrote it out on another piece of paper first.  I have [ascertained] that Jervis was relieved from the Wheel at 8 o'C. [121]  The Mate did not say that there had been any struggle between him & the Prisoner.  I have not kept the paper I entered first in the Log [from].

Michael Sullivan, sworn.  I am a British Subject & boatswain (on authy of the Master) on board the "Lewis Burnell."  I know the Prisoner, he was in my watch.  I recollect the 12th August last.  At 8 o'C that morning I gave the Prisoner an order to come [122] & Pump Ship. At the time all the watch except himself was Pumping.  He said he would not.  He gave no reason.

   I reported his refusal to the Chief Mate.  He and I then went forward and into the Forecastle, asked Prisoner to come out & Pump ship.  He said no.  The Chief Mate went forward to get hold.  He then put his hand behind his back and drew his Knife & stabbed the Mate in the left arm.  The Mate then went out of [123] the Forecastle & told me he was stabbed.  I remained there & Prisoner told me to get out or else he would stab me.  Then I went away.  When the Mate saw the Prisoner drawing his knife he gave him a shove with his hand and asked him what he was going to do.  The Prisoner then stabbed him.  Neither the Mate nor I had any weapons of any sort in our [124] hands at the time.

XXd by Mr. Latham.  Neither of us had any Belaying Pin or Knuckle dusters.  I never saw a Knuckle duster on the ship.  Never heard of a sailor on board the ship being struck with a knuckle duster.  The Mate tried to catch hold of Jervis before he was stabbed.  He tried to catch hold of him with his right hand but did not succeed.  He was stabbed first.  I went into the Fo'castle about the same time as the Mate [125].  I did not see his face cut.  The shove the Mate gave him was not sufficient to produce any cut.

   When Jervis returned to Pumping he had just come off the wheel & it was breakfast time.  From this affair the Capt. has given orders that the ship was to be pumped before the end of the watch.

To a Juryman.  I have heard from another man in my [????] that Jervis had been threatening a [row] about a watch before and that was why I went with the Mate to [?????] [126] him out.  I did not know there was an [??????] of the Pumping being done after the Watch was over.  The Prisoner and I both joined at [St. Thomas.]  [He] joined [only] the day before we left.  We left there about 8 months ago.

Case for the Prosecution.

Mr. Latham addresses the Jury for the Prisoner.  Self defence.


John Wood, sworn.  I am an A.B. on the Lewis Burnell.  I recollect a row on the 12th August.  I saw the Mate & 2nd Mate go up the starboard side & aftwds saw the 2nd Mate with [127] one leg in the Fo'castle & the other one end a belaying pin in his hand.  Then I came back to my work and afterwards saw the Mate going into the Capt.'s Cabin holding his left arm.  I did not see the 1st Mate at the time I saw the 2nd Mate at the Forecastle.  I did not hear anything that was going on in the Forecastle.  I saw Prisoner about a quarter of an hour afterwards [128] on deck.  His Mouth was swollen considerably.  It looked as if it was a fresh wound and I saw a little blood on his scarf.

   All the men was grumbling about the ship being pumped after their watch was over.  They said they had never done it on other ships but they all did it.

XXd by the C.A.  I am quite sure that the 2nd mate had a belaying pin.  It was hanging down by his right side, holding it by the end in his hand.

   I saw the 2nd Mate [pass] at the door of the Fo'castle.  [129]  Something had happened between the time when I saw the Mate with the belaying Pin and the time when I saw his mouth cut.  Jervis then had a revolver?  There had been a row of some sort in the meantime.

Re-Exd.  I am not in Jervis's watch.

To a Juryman.  When I saw Jervis with the Revolver I had no conversation with him.    Pumping ship & [???] duties might have taken about ½ an hour. [130] There are two watches on deck when the ship was being pumped & we might be losing ½ hour of our time below.

George [N.] Lee, sworn.  I shipped as Cook & Steward on the "Lewis Burnell."  I recollect [part] of the row of the 12th August.  I did not see Prisoner at Breakfast that morning.  I saw him shortly after 8 o'C.  I have been myself struck with a knuckle duster on board the ship on the voyage.  I have the mark.  [131]  I was struck with a knuckle duster by the Chief Mate on the 29th May.  I do not know who they belong to and I never was struck but the once.

XXd by Mr. W.  I saw Prisoner's face bleeding about 8.30.  A great deal had happened before that.  The knuckle dusters [in question] knuckle dusters for [three fingers].  They were in the hands of the Chief Officer.  I have never seen them [132]  but on the one occasion.

Adolph Fred [L??????], sworn.  I am A.B. on Lewis Burnell. Known as Fred on board.  Am on same watch as Prisoner, Starboard Watch.  I recollect part of the row of the 12th August, did not see the Mates go to Fo'castle.  I went into the Forecastle & found Prisoner there with his lip bleeding.  He said the Chief Mate had [hit] him with a brass Knuckle duster.  His face was swollen up.  [That was before any [?????] row occurred or any pistol fired.] [133] There were several present when Prisoner told me he had been struck by Mate with a brass knuckleduster.  Breakfast was going on in the Forecastle.

XXd by C.A.  I did say before the Magistrate that Jarvis's face was bleeding.  This was more than ½ hour afterwds.  I cannot say what may have occurred in the meantime.

Re-Exd.  There was a row after I had seen Prisoner's face bleeding.  [134]  We all had our Breakfast before the 2nd row.  The 2nd Row began when the Capt came & there was [shooting/shouting].  Jervis's face was bleeding when he was at breakfast.

John Christian Sparvall, sworn.  Ordinary Seaman on Lewis Burnell.  I recollect the row on 12th August.  I was in Jervis's Watch.  I was at Breakfast in Fo'castle with Jervis.  His mouth was swollen & bleeding but he did not answer when I asked him about it.  We were at Breakfast [135] when the 2nd row began.

XXd.  I am quite sure his face was bleeding before the second row began.

Case for defence.

Mr. Latham sums up.

Mr. Wilkinson replies.

Judge sums up.

Verdict.  Guilty of unlawful Wounding.

Sentence deferred.

R. T. R. , CJ.


January 15th 1887.

Sentence to Imprisonment with hard labour for 18 Calendar Months.

R. T. R., CJ.


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