Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

R. v. Solaine, 1887


R. v. Solaine

Police Court, Shanghai
Jamieson AAJ, 25 February 1887
Source: North China Herald, 2 March 1887

Shanghai, 25th Feb., 1887
Before Geo. Jamieson, Esq., Acting Assistant Judge.
  CHARLES SOLAINE, second mate of the ship Colchester was put forward charged with cutting and wounding Daniel Ostell, carpenter on the s.s. Nestor, and Humphrey White, a fireman on the same ship.
  The first complainant stated that on Wednesday night he went into the Victoria Hotel to get a glass of beer.  There were two men in the place going to fight, one of them being the prisoner, and the other a man named Clinch, also belonging to the Nestor.  Some one shouted out "knife," before they had struck a blow, Clinch only having proceeded so far in the encounter as to have got his coat off.  Complainant turned round and saw the prisoner with a knife in his hand and tried to take it from him.  He did not see the knife as the prisoner was moving at the time.  Complainant thought the best way to get the weapon from him was to knock him down, which he did by putting his arms around him, taking his legs from under him at the same time.  Two or three other men next caught the prisoner to take the knife from him and it was then that complainant found that he was very badly cut.  From the nature of the wound he would say that he caught hold of the blade of the weapon, his hand being cut across.  He did not know at the time that the weapon was a razor; witness was quite sober.
  The prisoner in reply to the bench said that he met the complainant and Clinch first in the Globe Hotel.  He had the razor in his pocket by a mistake, having forgot to put it back in his room on the ship.  He was intoxicated at the time of the row, and did not remember using the weapon.
 Humphrey White fireman on the Nestor who also appeared with his arm in bandages said that he went into the Victoria for a glass of beer on Wednesday night and heard the people there shouting that the prisoner, who was on his back, had a razor, and while in trying to get it from him witness got his arm cut open.  Witness did not see the beginning of the row.  The prisoner did not say anything; witness merely went to assist his own ship-mate, Clinch, who was wrestling with the prisoner for the possession of the razor, with which he was trying to cut everyone he came across.  Witness succeeded in taking the razor from him, and walked out.
  Witness's coat (produced) was cut right across the arm.
 The prisoner in reply to his Worship said he did not cut the witness whom he thought cut himself in the struggle.
  Dr. Wm. Cunliffe of the Nestor deposed that he examined the injuries of the men and found that White had received a deep wound 2 ½ inches long on the left arm.  The wound was not exactly serious now, but might be so afterwards.  None of the blood vessels were injured.  Ostell's was a more serious cut, it being 4 inches long.  Some important portions of the structure of the hand were severed.  Witness would not be able to tell for a fortnight whether Ostell's wound would turn out more serious.  The Nestor was going away on Saturday.
  Inspector Fowler said that he did not hear until then that Clinch had been in the row.
  James Clinch was then sworn and said that he was a fireman on the Nestor.  He corroborated the evidence of his shipmates, and, added that the prisoner came into the Victoria "looking for fight." He asked witness to fight him, and took out the razor and flourished it about.  Witness who was sober, never saw him before. The prisoner seemed to be the worse for liquor.
  His Worship said he could not understand why the prisoner took out the razor.  He would not deal finally with till Saturday in order to see how the injured men progressed.
  The prisoner who had nothing to say was then put back till the next day, when he was sentenced to six months' imprisonment.

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