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Colonial Cases

R. v. Motee, 1861

[stealing in a dwelling house]

R. v. Motee

Supreme Court, India
Arnould J., 6 July 1861
Source: The Times of India, 8 July 1861




Second Day, Saturday, 6th July.


   HIS LORDSHIP having taken his seat on the bench at ten o'clock precisely, the following gentlemen were empannelled to serve upon the


Mr. JOHN THOMAS HOPE, - Foreman.   Mr. J. Heyward, Mr. E. J. Martinnant, Mr. J. Kingsmill, Mr. C. Poole, Mr. E. Baker, Mr. C.F. Hunger.  Mr. J. Thomson, Mr. J. C. de Aginer, Mr. Byramjkee Framjee, Mr. Ballajee Kessowjee and Mr. Murrichund Shamrao.

LARCENY. - Chemajee Motee, No. 5 of the calendar, was placed at the bar on an indictment for stealing five bank notes for a hundred rupees each, in the dwelling of his master, John McEvoy.  The prisoner pleaded not guilty.

   John McEvoy, the prosecutor, a builder, resides at Colaba near the Gun Carriage Manufactory, and had the prisoner in his service as a mussal.  On the 22nd of March last, witness lost a pocket book containing five notes of a hundred rupees each.  He last saw it safe on the night of the 19th March, when he left it by mistake on a table.  He saw it again when it was pointed out by the prisoner in a well at some distance from the house.  On the 25th March, witness brought to his house two Europeans who had seen the pocket book on the table, and who stated so to Mr. Bayley, the constable.  This was in the presence of the prisoner, who proposed to return the money if he would not be brought into trouble.  Prisoner then went out with a havildar, but they returned without the book.  On a subsequent day, it was found in the well and brought out by a diver.  In the pocket book was a piece of paper containing the numbers of the five hundred rupee notes as well as the numbers of other notes which had been paid away.  The notes were missing.

   Cullioanjee Khemjee, a dealer in cloth, kept a shop in the market.  In the month of March last, the prisoner came to his shop to buy a turban.  Witness supplied him the goods he wanted, and he handed him a banknote for one hundred rupees.  Witness returned him eighty rupees, taking twenty for his goods.  This was on the 21st March.

   Rustomjee Cursetjee, a servant in the shop of a Parsee cloth dealer, stated that the prisoner purchased, on the 22nd March last, certain goods at the shop of his master for which he paid a banknote for one hundred rupees.  Some money was returned to the prisoner.  The number of the note had not been taken.

   Ruttonjee Jeevunjee, police havildar No. 96, remembered having apprehended the prisoner on a charge of stealing banknotes to the value of five hundred rupees, the property of the prosecutor.  Prisoner told him that he had thrown into a well the pocket book containing the notes.  Witness went to the well, but the book could not be found.  Two days afterwards, the pocket book was brought out of the well.  The water in the well was still and clear, and witness could see the book, through the water, lying at the bottom.  A paper containing the numbers of the notes was found in the pocket book, as the prosecutor had stated.

   Govind Wittojee, a police constable, remembered having accompanied prisoner to the house of a woman named Coonbee.  Prisoner asked her to bring his box, which she at once fetched.  In it were found four notes for twenty-five rupees each and some clothes.  Prisoner then said to her - "Where are my three notes each for a hundred rupees?"  She said nothing.  Witness searched the house and found two blank English note books and sixteen rupees in cash.  The woman Coonbee was a beggar and a courtezan.

   Rama Kundoo a ghorawalla in the employment of the prosecutor, remembered having dived into a well by desire of his master, and taken out a pocket book which was visible through the water.

   His Lordship summed up briefly, the jury at once returned a verdict of guilty.  The prisoner was sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment in the House of Correction, with hard labour.

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