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Colonial Cases

R. v. George, 1894


R. v. George

Police Court, Shanghai
Jamieson AJ, 6 September 1894
Source: North China Herald, 7 September, 1894

6th September.
Before George Jamieson, Esq., Assistant Judge.
  Nicholas George, lamp-trimmer on the British s.s. Angers, was brought up on remand charged, on the information of Mr. J. Graham, with stealing a bar of silver valued at $1,061, from the s.s. Angers at Nagasaki on or about the 20th inst.
  Inspector Reed informed his Worship that the Police had not yet succeeded in tracing the silver, or the 'ricksha coolie who was supposed to have taken the prisoner away from the wharf on Tuesday night. It was proposed to call a witness who saw the accused get into a 'ricksha and drive away, and then ask for a remand.
  Dong Siao-ching, head coolie at the N.Y.K. wharf, said that on the 21st of last month he saw the accused walking from the wharf towards the shore, carrying something heavy concealed under his coat. Accused whistled for a 'ricksha coolie, who came up.  The seat of the 'ricksha was lifted up and the accused put something in the receptacle underneath. There was only one 'ricksha there. After that the accused got into the 'ricksha and drove towards the Minghong Road. Accused that night was wearing a white jacket and a flat cap. The time was about ten o'clock.  He (witness) remembered the time because he was superintending the coolies. Prisoner returned to the wharf about half an hour later, but was not carrying anything except a piece of water-melon he bought on the wharf. Prisoner went on board the Angers and witness saw nothing more pf him. Witness was quite sure the man he had seen go ashore, as he had previously had attention drawn to him.
  In reply to his Worship witness said, Ah-san on the previous Sunday night told him that a bar of silver which had been missed by a Chinese mandarin was in the possession of the accused, and Ah-san asked him to look at it. He, however, did not do so. Asked how it was he particularly noticed the accused on the Tuesday night, witness replied that Hsu Li-shan, the silversmith, was standing by and pointed out the prisoner as the man who had the silver for sale, for which he wanted $250. When the prisoner returned Hsu Li-shan again saw him and drew witness's attention to him. After what Hsu Li-shan said he thought it rather strange the prisoner should have a bar of silver which belonged to a mandarin, but he did not give any information about it to anyone.
  By Inspector Reed - He did not notice whether the 'ricksha the prisoner got into was a private one or not, nor did he notice the colour of the hood. Before that voyage witness had not seen the accused, but he was quite positive he was the man who went away carrying something on the Tuesday night. He (witness) would not be able to recognize the 'ricksha coolie, because it was dark, and the coolie was some little way off.
  His Worship asked some questions as to the way in which the accused was identified before his arrest. Witness said, at first he could not recognize the prisoner, but upon the tallyman saying it was the man he was sure.
  Hsu Li-shan, a tallyman at the wharf, formerly a silversmith, recalled, said the accused on Sunday night wanted to sell  the silver to him for $250, but he did not buy. On the following Tuesday night, witness was stranding at the wharf when he saw the accused come off the ship, get into a 'ricksha and go away. Prisoner was carrying something in paper, which witness believed to be the silver. Witness thought it was strange that a man like the accused should have a large piece of silver to sell, and that was why he did not buy it. He did not tell anyone about it because he never saw the master and was only a small servant about the place paying the coolies. The last witness employed him. They were standing near one another on the Tuesday night, and the last witness drew his attention to the accused going away with something that looked like silver.
  At this stage the prisoner was remanded.

Source: North China Herald, 14 September, 1894

Shanghai, 7th September
Before George Jamieson, Esq., Assistant Judge.
  Nicholas George, lamp-trimmer on the British s.s. Angers, was again brought up on remand charged, on the information of Mr. J. Graham, with stealing a bar of silver valued at $1,061, from the s.s. Angers at Nagasaki harbour on or about the 20th ult.
  Inspector Reed informed his Worship that the police had not been able to trace the 'ricksha coolie - if 'ricksha coolie he was, which he (Inspector Reed) was beginning to doubt - who had taken the prisoner from the wharf. There was some more evidence on the part of the prosecution, including a hawker from whom the prisoner was alleged to have bought some water-melon near the wharf.  He (Inspector Reed) could not say whether the hawker would be able to positively identify the accused, but his evidence might be of some service. The silver had not been traced, but the police were trying to trace it and perhaps a further remand would be of service.
  His Worship remarked that a remand might be advisable, for at present the case rested mainly on the Chinese witnesses, and was not very strong.
  Inspector Reed said the evidence went to show that the prisoner had been dealing in silver, but it was not proved that that silver was the same as had been stolen. After the silver had been stolen the prisoner returned to Nagasaki in the Angers, and it was upon the ship's return to Shanghai that the theft was detected and the prisoner arrested.
  The evidence of the witnesses was then read over and interpreted to the prisoner (a Greek) by M. Martin, of the French Police.
  Prisoner said he left the ship on the night in question in order to put two small boxes, which the chief officer gave him, into a 'ricksha. He put them in a 'ricksha and on his return to the Angers bought some water-melon and went on board.
  John William Morton, chief officer of the Angers, who was then called, said it was on the previous trip that he gave two boxes of curios to the accused to put into a 'ricksha. Witness and his brother followed in other 'rickshas and went on board the Telamon. Witness was sure that took place on the trip preceding the one when the silver was stolen. The prisoner had been employed on the ship for about 8 or 19 months in all.
  His Worship asked the witness where the silver was put when it was brought on board at Nagasaki, prior to being again taken off there.
  Witness - It was lying around on deck. It was just stacked up, and nobody seemed to be looking after it. It was lying there for about eight hours. We did not believe it was silver and the Engineer and myself had an argument as to whether it was tin or not.
  His Worship - Then there were plenty of opportunities of stealing?
  Witness: - Yes, plenty; they could have taken almost the whole lot. Not only that but there were several boxes of gold.  The silver was not removed until about eight o'clock. I had nothing to do with looking after the cargo. The purser had sole charge of it.
  Carl Nicholsen, boatswain on the Angers, sad that three trips ago the accused came to him one evening at about eight o'clock and asked witness to keep his watch for a while as he wished to go ashore. Witness consented to do so and the accused left. In about half an hour he returned, carrying a piece of water-melon. When he returned he came to witness on the fore deck.
  By His Worship - When he left me he had just come out of the forecastle. He was buttoning his coat, but was not carrying anything.
  Prisoner said that upon the occasion spoken to by witness, he (prisoner) went ashore to find some of his messmates. He had a bottle of beer and returned to the ship.
  Christos Denegro, a seaman on the Angers, being called at the instance of the accused, said that he remembered going ashore on one occasion with another man and the accused. They had a glass of beer and returned to the ship. It was about 7.30 p.m. but he could not remember upon which trip that was, in fact he could not say how many trips he had made to Shanghai.
  Emamuel Germanos, another sailor on the Angers, also spoke to going ashore with the accused and some others, and having a glass of beer one evening between seven and eight o'clock about two trips Ago.
  His Worship remarked that as the case stood at present it did not seem strong enough to send to a jury, but if Inspector Reed wished for a remand he would grant it. The case rested upon the unsupported evidence of two Chinese witnesses, who might possibly have been concerned in the case themselves. However, the case would be adjourned till next Wednesday.

Source: North China Herald, 21 September, 1894

Shanghai, 18th September.
Before George Jamieson, Esq., Assistant Judge.
  Nicholas George, lamp-trimmer on the British s.s. Angers, was brought up on remand charged, on the information of Mr. J. Graham, with stealing a bar of silver valued at $1,061, from the s.s. Angers at Nagasaki on or about the 20th ultimo.
  Inspector Reed conducted the case for the prosecution, and Mr. H. R. Parks appeared to watch the case on behalf of the partners in the Wo Shing firm.
  Che Sao-san, cautioned, stated - I am a watch and clock maker. I am a Cantonese. I am the manager of Wo Shing shop. I remember buying a bar of silver on a Sunday (26th day of 7th moon). I bought it from French Policeman No. 29.  I do not know his name, only his number. He has dealt with me for two years. I never saw such a big piece of silver before. I do not know if it was foreign or native silver. There was a mark in the centre of it, a foreign mark - letters. The mark at the end had been filed away. I do not know the fineness of the bar. I do not know the weight of it.
  Mr. Parkes failed to see the object of the present enquiry.
  Inspector Reed said it was to identify the silver.
  Witness - I took the silver to Tai Hung Yuen, a smelting shop, as I was only the middle man. The manager of that firm came to me place and we took it to his. They bought it for $1,529.67.  On the 26th, I advanced the Frenchman $700, and on the following day I paid $750. I paid the money at 5 p.m. I paid $25 in notes and the balance in dollars. I did not notice what bank the notes were on. On Monday about 5.30 p.m. I paid $750 all in good shroffed dollars. The policeman came alone on both occasions. The mark in the centre of the bar was like this. (Made mark 10.)
  This was explained as the fineness of the silver.
  This evidence was then translated to the prisoner, who denied all knowledge of the silver and asked for the production of the policeman from whom witness had stated he bought the silver.
  A coolie employed at Store No. 1,612, Seward Road, said he took wine on board a steamer at the N.Y.K. Wharf and thought he recognised the defendant, but at the time he first saw him, he had no whiskers or moustache. It was at the beginning of August that he saw the defendant in the shop. Witness had not drawn his master's jinricksha for some months past. He saw the defendant in the shop twice, and after the first visit he took the wine on board and he gave it to the defendant, and was not mistaken in his identification. He knew French Policeman No. 29, who frequently visited the shop. He did not see the policeman at any time while the defendant was there. He heard that his master was detained at the station and witness was also detrained there but he did not know why.
  Inspector Reed said the master of the witness was a Greek named Hajinis.
  Detective-Sergeant Prest, sworn, stated - I arrested the prisoner on board the Angers on the 29th of August.  I charged him with stealing a bar of silver and stowing it away in the lamp-room. Defendant said it was a lie. He was identified by four Chinese employed at the wharf. Witness detailed the circumstances of the arrest of Hajinis and the search of his house, the condition it was in and the number of dollars found on the premises, the object being to show that the evidence of the last witness was inaccurate as far as his master's jinricksha was concerned.
  After the depositions of some of the witnesses at a previous hearing had been signed,
  His Worship remanded the prisoner till Friday.


Source: North China Herald, 19 October, 1894

Shanghai, 17th October.
Before N. J. Hannen, Esq., Chief Justice.
  Nicholas George, lamp-trimmer on the British s.s. Angers, was brought up for trial charged, on the information of Mr. J. Graham, with stealing a bar of silver valued at $1,061, from the s.s. Angers in Nagasaki Harbour on or about the 20th of August. Mr. W. V. Drummond, Acting Crown Advocate, appeared to prosecute on behalf of the Crown. Prisoner was undefended. Mr. Martin, of the French Municipal Police, acted as Greek interpreter.
  The jurors summoned having answered to their names, the indictment was read over by the Clerk of the Court (Mr. T. G. Smith) and interpreted to the prisoner, who pleaded "Guilty."
  The Jurors who had been summoned were then discharged from attendance.
  Mr. Drunmond, in reply to his Lordship, said he had nothing to add to the prisoner's plea.
  The accused, through the interpreter, then made the following statement - I took the silver. I did not steal it, but I found it on the deck near the ship's side. The silver was shipped at 11 o'clock at night and I don't know what time it was taken ashore again, but at 4 o'clock I found the bar lying on the deck, so I picked it up and put it in my room. I did not know whether it was tin or silver. When we arrived in Shanghai, I showed it to the stevedores and asked them what it was. They did not know, but they brought a Chinaman from the shore, who looked at it and said it was a bar of silver.


Source: North China Herald, 26 October, 1894

Shanghai, 24th October.
Before N. J. Hannen, Esq., Chief Justice.
 Nicholas George, lamp-trimmer on the British s.s. Angers, who on the 17th inst. pleaded guilty to a charge of stealing a bar of silver valued at $1,061, from the s.s. Angers in Nagsaki harbour on or about the 20th of August, was bought up for sentence. Mr. Martin, of the French Municipal Police, acted as Greek interpreter.
  His Lordship, addressing the prisoner, said - Nicholas George, as you have made no revelation  as to what has become of the money that you received, and as I cannot believe that you have not received anything, and you continue to state that you have not, and you give no information which will help the owners of the bar of silver to recover the money, I must sentence you to twelve months' imprisonment, with hard labour.



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