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Colonial Cases

R. v. Ryan, 1897



R. v. Ryan

Supreme Court for China and Japan
Hannen CJ, 5 August 1897
Source: North China Herald, 6 August,1897




Shanghai, 5th August.

Before Sir Nicholas Hannen, Chief Justice, and Messrs. A. McKelvie, W. T. Phipps, G. V. T. Marshall, J. Moosa, and J. C. Grant, Jury.

R. v. RYAN.

   Richard Henry Ryan was indicted for the manslaughter of Ko Chuang-ping by pushing him into the river on the 16th ult. Mr. H. P. Wilkinson (Acting Crown Advocate) prosecuted, the prisoner being defended by Mr. E. Nelson (Messrs. Johnson, Stokes and Master).

   Upon the names of those who had been summoned on the jury being called, Mr. Drummond Hay was challenged by Mr. Wilkinson, and his attendance dispensed with, and Mr. E. A. Probst, who stated that he was a Director of the Company in whose service the man was, was challenged by Mr. Nelson, and also excused.  The City Magistrate occupied a seat on the bench and several Chinese were also in Court.

[Not transcribed.]

   W. H. S. Hall. Chief officer of the Thanes, said he was in his cabin on the evening when the man was alleged to have been drowned. As witness was going down to dinner the accused reported that a Chinese had fallen into the water from the pontoon. He did not seem flurried at all. He was a quiet man and bore a most excellent character.

   Mr. Nelson briefly summed up pointing out that the evidence he had called had been given by most respectable witnesses, whilst the witnesses for the prosecution had told a disconnected and contradictory story.

   Mr. Wilkinson, in reply, argued that considering the difficulties of interpretation, the evidence for the prosecution was a straightforward and plain story.

   His Lordship briefly summed up to the jury, remarking that no doubt they were in a difficult position because there was no doubt that there was nothing improbable or extraordinary about the Chinese evidence until they came to the rebutting evidence. For the defence one witness said distinctly he saw the man running, that the quartermaster did not push him, and that the man slipped on the beam and fell in. Then there were three or four other witnesses, and if they were believed the story of the Chinese witnesses could not be true.

   The jury retired to consider their verdict at 3.45, and returned into Court in five minutes with a verdict of "Not Guilty." The accused was then discharged.

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