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Colonial Cases

R. v. Cance, 1897

[obtaining by false pretences]


R. v. Cance

Supreme Court for China and Japan
Hannen CJ, 21 December 1897
Source: North China Herald, 24 December, 1897




Shanghai, 21st December.

Before Sir Nicholas J. Hannen, Chief Justice and Messrs. A. R. Burkill, J. W. Harding, A. M. Reith, H. S. Fearon, and R. W. Shaw. Jury.

R. v. CANCE.

  William Arthur Cance was arraigned on an indictment charging him with obtaining by false pretences on the 3rd of November from the Club Concordia champagne to the value of $24.80.  Mr. H. P. Wilkinson Crown Advocate, prosecuted, the prisoner who pleaded "Not Guilty," being undefended.

   When the Jury Panel was read over, Messrs. J. A. Stewart and Gye were not present to answer their names, and they were each fined $50. Mr. J. Palliser's name was drawn, but he was challenged by Mr. Wilkinson and excused from attendance.

   Mr. Wilkinson in opening the case said the offence with which the accused was charged was obtaining from the Club Concordia, on the third day of the Autumn Races, three quarts and one magnum of champagne by the false representation that he was employed by the firm of Arnhold, Karberg & Co.

   Mr. O. Kluth, the Secretary of the Club, said the accused was not a member of the Club, and it was against the rules to supply even members with wines or liquors to be taken off the premises, although occasionally the point was stretched.

   Questioned by the prisoner, witness admitted that the accused had signed chits in the Club tent at the Race Course without objection, but witness was unaware of that fact until after the Races. The chits had not been presented for payment.

   Say Tsu-dong, bar boy at the German Club, said the accused, who was unknown to him, went to the Club at about eight o'clock on the evening of the 3rd of November and asked for two magnums of champagne.  Witness said he had only one magnum, so accused took that with two quarts. One bottle was broken by the prisoner and he took away another. In reply to witness accused said he was employed by Soy Chee (Messrs Arnhold, Karberg & C0o.).

   A Juror enquired whether any attempt had been made to collect the chits.

   His Lordship remarked probably not. If they had been presented, that would be, as it were, treating the affair on the part of the Club as a commercial transaction.

   Mr. W. Gerage, of the firm of Arnhold, Karberg & Co. gave evidence that the prisoner was not connected with the firm/ 

   This closed the case for the prosecution, and the prisoner called no evidence.

   Mr. Wilkinson having addressed the Jury,

   The prisoner said he had been signing chits in the Concordia Tent at the Races on the three days, and he thought the subject of the charge was on the same footing. He denied representing he was employed at Soy Chee, and suggested that the boy thinking he would be held responsible for having sold the wine to a non-member, invented the story.

   His Lordship briefly summing up, said it was as men of the world and members of the Shanghai community the jury had to consider the case. It was not necessary for a person to make false pretences by word of mouth, and if they thought that the accused obtained the wine by generally false representations then they would find him guilty.

   A juror said that another juror suggested that the prisoner should be asked whether he said he was employed at Soy Chee.

   His Lordship said the accused could not give evidence, but he had addressed the Jury.

   After consulting in private for a few minutes, the Jury returned a verdict of "Guilty," and the accused was sentenced to two months' imprisonment with hard labour.

[See 3 December, Police Court, for first hearing.]

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