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Colonial Cases

R. v. Davis, 1892


R. v. Davis

Police Court, Shanghai
Jamieson AJ, 23 January 1892
Source: North China Herald, 29 January, 1892

Shanghai, 23rd January.
Before G. Jamieson, Esq., Assistant Judge.
R. v. DAVIS [alias Narana]
  Samuel Davis, alias Narana, aged 27, was charged under a warrant with fraudulently misappropriating goods to the value of £150 at Sydney, New South Wales, during the past twelve months.
  Frederick George Keeling, detective inspector, deposed that he arrested accused at 4.43 yesterday. On the warrant being read to him, accused said it was a mistake.
  His Lordship read the warrant, which authorised the police to arrest Samuel Davis, alias Narana.
  Accused - My name is Marana.
  His Lordship - You are charged with fraudulently misappropriating goods to the value of £150 as Sydney during the past twelve months.
  Accused - I have been away from Sydney for 15 months.
  His Worship - And your name is not Davis?
  Accused - No, sir, my name is Oscar Joseph Marana.
  Captain Superintendent McEuen deposed - I produce a letter from the Acting Superintendent of Hongkong Police, Mr. Hirapool, covering a letter from the Inspector General of Police, New South Wales, as follows:

To the Chief of Police in Hongkong,
New South Wales, Sydney, 25th November, 1891.
SIR, - Referring to my cable of the 1st August last and criminal offence form dated 16th ultimo relative to the offender named in the margin (David Charles Bell and Samuel Davis), and whose photos and description are enclosed herewith, I have the honour to inform you that the offenders purchased the schooner Beagle, 81 tons, commanded by Captain Gill, and sailed from Melbourne under the names of Bloom and Douglass on 16th July last.
  They reached Honolulu about the 4th ultimo and after effecting repairs to the vessel cleared early this month for parts unknown. It is surmised they may make for some place on the Chinese coast, and should they arrive at any port under your cognisance I shall be glad if you will cause them to be kept under surveillance if their destination is not practicable, and inform me by the quickest means of communication with a view that the necessary action may be taken to obtain their arrest and extradition to this colony.
  It is believed they have a large amount in gold (proceeds of their defalcations) on board the vessel. The wives of these offenders sailed from this port on the 2nd instant for San Francisco, no doubt with the intention of joining their husbands at some place previously arranged upon.
  Perhaps you will kindly cause this information to be circulated at other ports in China where the offenders may possibly call.  Their arrest is most desirable and all expenses incurred in effecting same will be defrayed.
I have, etc., Edmund Fisbery, Inspector General of Police.
New South Wales - Criminal Offence, Police Department, Sydney.
Offence - Misappropriating goods value £1500.
Committed at - Sydney, New South Wales.
On whom; address - Australian Loan and Guarantee Co. Ltd.
Date reported to Police - 30th July, 1891
Names of persons offending - Samuel Davis and David Charles Bell.
Descriptions -
Davis is about 28 years of age; five feet 7 or 8 inches high, dark hair, moustaches and side "levers;" large nose, peculiar gait, a Jew.
Bell is 30 or 35 years of age; five feet 8 inches high. Inclined to be stout; fresh complexion, brown moustache and small side "levers;" smooth manner of talking, an Englishman.
Warrants issued by Water Police Branch, Sydney, N.S.W. These offenders were recently in partnership as wholesale clothiers in Wynyard Street, Sydney. Their defalcations are said to be over £15,000. Davis is accompanied by Christian wife, infant and wet nurse.
Edmund Fosbery, Inspector General of Police.
  Witness continued - On that letter and a telegram, received upon the 20th, I applied for a warrant. The telegram was from the Inspector-General at Sydney, and was as follows:
  Bell and Davis charged on warrant with large misappropriation, Consul Tokio wires Davis alias Narana, wife and baby left for Shanghai steamer Bankchef Henriksen 24th inst. Full particulars at Hongkong.
  Prisoner arrived from Japan by the steamer Bankchef Henriksen on the 17th inst., accompanied by a Christian wife, child and nurse.
  His Worship (to accused) - Well, that is the charge against you.
  Accused - The child was born at Singapore on the 29th April.
  His Worship - I cannot take your word for that.
  Accused - A wire can be sent to Singapore. Besides, Mr. Fosbery was not Superintendent of Police when I was at Sydney.
  Capt. McEuen - He has been Inspector-General of New South Wales Police for many years.
  Accused - We left Cooktown, Queensland, on the 28th March last in the British India steamer Deronda.
  His Worship - I must tell you that I am taking down what you say, and it may be used against you. You are not obliged to make a statement, but if you wish to make one you can do so.
  Accused - Yes, sir, I wish to make a statement.  The Deronda went from Australia to Java, and we went from there to Singapore. We lived at No. 73, Brass Bassa Road. The doctor advised me to leave Singapore on account of my wife's health, and a French clergyman belonging to the Catholic Church bought my furniture. That was in the month of May.
  His Worship - Well, I shall remand you from time to time until a warrant arrives from Sydney, but it is open to you to produce evidence to show that you are not the man. If you can prove this you will be set at liberty.
  Accused - The offence was committed in June, wasn't it?
  His Worship - I don't know the exact date.
  Capt. McEuen - The letter states that the case was reported to the police on 30th July, 1891.
  Accused - I was in Singapore then. I do not see why I should be arrested in this manner and taken to prison before a crowd of two or three hundred Chinese. I have a wife and child and my wife's sister with me, and they are dependent on me. The only way to clear this up will be to wire to Singapore.
  His Worship - We cannot undertake your defence for you, but you will have any opportunity afforded you of writing or telegraphing to any one.
  Accused - I should like to wire to the priest to say when he took the house from Oscar Joseph Marana.
  His Worship - But are you Oscar Joseph Marana?
  Accused - Yes, I am.
  His Worship - You will have to satisfy me that you are. Some person named Marana may have been there, but it does not follow that you were that person.
  Accused - I have a photograph of myself, wife, and sister-in-law taken in the garden of our house. That can be sent to Singapore.
  His Worship - You can do what you think proper, but I must remand you now.
  Accused - What is to become of my family?
  His Worship - Have you any employment?
  Accused - I was formerly a broker in shares, but now I deal in cigars, and this has spoilt the whole undertaking.
  His Worship then remanded the prisoner for a week.
.  .  .  
25th January.
  Samuel Davis, alias Narana, was charged on remand with fraudulent misappropriation under circumstances already reported.
  Captain Superintendent McEuen said that since Saturday he had been making some inquiries. Accused had stated that he and his family had been staying at the Club Annexe Hotel, Yokohama, for about seven weeks, from 5th November to 25trh December. Telegrams had been sent out to Yokohama and this had been confirmed. A statement had also been written by accused's wife, and signed by accused, showing the movements of the party since leaving Australia.  As it appeared that the man who was wanted left Honolulu early in November, as far as he (Captain McEuen) was able to see accused was not the man, and therefore it was not proposed to proceed further with the case.
  His Worship then read the accused's statement, from which it appeared that the accused and his wife left Sydney on the 20th October, and proceeded to different places in Queensland, at one of which they were joined by accused's sister-in-law.  The party finally left Cooktown on the 28th March, called at Batavia and reached Singapore on 20th April where the child was born on 29th August. The party then went to Hongkong, where accused made inquiries about some valuable parcels which he expected. The party arrived at Hongkong on 22nd October, and reached Yokohama on 6th November, leaving on 25th December for Kobe, Nagasaki and Shanghai.
  His Worship (to Captain McEuen) - You have ascertained from the Consul at Yokohama that it is correct that they stayed at the Club Annexe Hotel from 5th November to 25th December?
  Captain McEuen - Yes, they or people of that name.
  His Worship - And that they left for Nagasaki?
  Captain McEuen - Yes, on 25th December.
  Accused, questioned by his Worship with regard to the parcels he expected to receive in Hongkong, said he had been a share-broker in Australia where he had had very bad luck. The parcels he expected were in connection with a mine in which he was interested, but instead of the parcels he received a letter stating that the mine had given out and that the company had been wound up. He had previously gone to Messrs. Sassoon's office at Hongkong and asked that the parcels should be forwarded to him at Manila.
  His Worship - (to Captain McEuen) - I understood you to say you did not propose to go further with the case?
  Captain McEuen - Not at present, your Worship, and not unless something else turns up.
  His Worship (to accused) - Very well, it appears therefore that, hearing you are not the person who is wanted, there is no need to deprive you of your liberty any longer. I regret that you have been put to some inconvenience, but it could not be helped, considering the amount of evidence there was to go upon. You cannot say the police were wrong in taking the steps they did.
  Accused - I think the case could have been inquired into a little more before.
  His Worship - That cannot be helped now.
  Accused - Yes, but it has ruined my chances in Shanghai and my wife's and her sister's chances too.
  His Worship - I don't think you should expect any harm to come of that.
  Accused - Yes, but I don't think the police should have arrested me simply on the description.
  His Worship - Well, you are at liberty to go.
  Accused then left the court with his wife and her sister.

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