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Colonial Cases

Venner, 1891



German Consular Court, Shanghai
9 November 1891
Source: North China Herald, 13 November, 1891

Shanghai, 9th November.
Before Consul-General Stuebel (President) and Messrs. Rinkel and Beck, Assessors.
  Bernard Venner, mate of the Sin Kolga, was charged with stabbing Indian policeman No. 80.
  Keir Singh, the prosecutor, deposed that on Sunday evening, Nov. 1, he was in the Seward Road shortly after six o'clock. It was then dark and the lamps were lit. When near the corner of Yuenfong Road, witness saw accused, whose clothes were soiled, as if he had fallen in the road, rolling about and striking Chinese with his fist. Prisoner was drunk, and shortly after witness caught sight of him, prisoner fell down and could not get up. Witness helped him up, and prisoner said he wanted to go to his ship. Witness told him he was too drunk, and that he had better go to the station. They walked a few paces and then accused fell down. Witness stooped down to raise him, and received a blow on the chest from, accused. Witness at first thought the blow was inflicted with the prisoner's fist, but on looking down he saw that blood was flowing from a wound in his chest. Witness had not previously seen a knife in prisoner's possession. After the stabbing the Chinese who were at hand helped to put accused and witness into jinrickshaS, and they went to the station.
  A jinricksha coolie deposed that he saw accused rolling about the road, drunk. He fell down, and the Indian constable stooped over him to raise him. There was an electric light close by, and witness had no difficulty in seeing. After the stabbing, witness and three others helped to put prisoner in a jinricksha. Prisoner did not appear to know what he was doing. In the afternoon, about four o'clock, witness had taken accused in his jinricksha from Nanking Road to the Globe Hotel, Woosung Rad. Prisoner was not then drunk. From Hongkew witness took accused to the Yang-king-pang, from which he came drunk.
  Corroborative evidence as to the stabbing was given by a beancurd hawker.
  The Consul-General read Dr. Macleod's certificate, which was as follows:-
  "At 6.40 p.m. on the 1st November Indian police constable No. 80 was brought to my house suffering from a freshly inflicted wound about ¾ inch long and 2 inches deep, passing upwards in front of the middle of the left clavicle, and wounding some large veins from which he bled so profusely that he fainted when I was attending to him. Apart from the danger from loss of blood and some slight inflammation resulting probably from the puncture being inflicted with a dirty knife, he is suffering from no other injury."
  Prisoner, questioned by the Consul-General, said the knife was an ordinary pocket knife. To use it he must have taken it out of his pocket and opened it. He had no recollection of stabbing prosecutor, but he argued that he (prisoner) must have been struck first, as it was not his custom to use a knife.  He had marks of blows on his head.
  The President in passing sentence, said the act was evidently committed while accused was so drunk as not to know what he was doing; and it was therefore unpremeditated; but of course such an act committed by a drunken man was a serious offence, and doubly serious as it was against a police officer while in the execution of his duty. The sentence of the Court was that accused be imprisoned for three months and that he pay the costs of the prosecution and of his imprisonment.


Source: North China Herald, 6 November, 1891

Shanghai, 2nd November
Before G. Jamieson, Esq., Assistant Judge.
  Bernard Verner, chief officer of the Sin Kolga, was charged with being drunk and stabbing Sikh constable No. 80, at 6 p.m. on Sunday in New Seward Road.
  Inspector Kluth, who conducted the case, said - The Sikh policemen is in the Hospital suffering from a stab just below the left shoulder blade. The wound is about an inch deep and Dr. McLeod says an artery has been cut. The Sikh bled profusely, and will not be able to appear for some days.
  Wong Cha-tse, a jinricksha coolie, said - I took the accused from Hongkew to the Yang-king-pang, and back to Seward Road. He was very drunk, and when he got out of the jinricksha he refused to pay me. I followed him up and a Sikh policeman came and took him into custody. They both fell on the ground.  I saw the prisoner pull out a knife. He as tumbling about the road and could not keep steady, and the policeman attempted to take him to the Station, but he resisted and fought with the policeman, pulled out a knife and stabbed the constable with it. I saw the knife.  This (produced) is it. There was a crowd at the time and I assisted in getting hold of the prisoner and taking him to the station. I saw blood flowing from a wound in the policeman's shoulder. He was not able to walk. I called another jinricksha and put him into it.
  The defendant - I know nothing about it.
  Tao Mao-ing, an assistant in a bean curd shop, New Seward Road, said - I saw the accused fall down and a constable came and lifted him up. The constable attempted to take him to the station, but accused refused to go. He jumped out of the jinricksha and fell on the ground. The policeman began to lift him up and the prisoner struck him. I could not see distinctly because of the crowd, but I afterwards saw that the policeman had been stabbed. The knife was in the constable's hand. I had seen it before in the prisoner's hand. I know the constable was stabbed; I saw him bleeding. The prisoner was very violent in the jinricksha and tried to get out. I helped to keep him in and we took him to the station. I know that accused is the man.
  The defendant had no questions to ask.
  His Worship said he would remand the prisoner at the gaol for a week.
  In answer to his Worship, Inspector Kluth said the prisoner was unknown to the police. He belonged to the British barque Sin Kolga, the captain of which was a Swede, and the defendant was a German, who was mate of the vessel.
  The defendant - I am mate of the Sin Kolga but have no certificate.
  His Worship said as the defendant was a German, he would see whether the German Consul would claim him.

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