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Colonial Cases

Minor cases, 1872

JAPAN WEEKLY MAIL, 23 March 1872 [299]



Monday, March 18th.

Before Mr. Acting-Assistant Judge Hannen.

   FRANCIS GRANTLEY, seaman on board the [Barer....], was charged with interfering with the Police in the execution of their duty.

   Prisoner pleaded not guilty.

   P.C. CLOWS, a constable, said that at about ten o'clock the previous night, he went into the Britannia on matters connected with his duty, and on coming out prisoner asked him where he was going. Some conversation ensued and prisoner caught hold of him and said he would lock him up. Witness then took him to the Police Station. Prisoner had been drinking, but was sober.

   Prisoner asked witness if he had a glass of grog; but the constable denied this, and also in answer to another question asserted that the prisoner had laid hold of him in the street.

   P.C. Kent said he was with the previous witness, and he confirmed what he had said.

   P.C. Brawn also corroborated the previous witnesses.

   His Honour fined prisoner $3 or to be kept in prison until the ship sailed.

.  .  .  

Captain Martin was sued by a Japanese for $5 due on a contract for discharging freight. It appeared that Captain Martin refused to pay a portion of the demand, because the number of tons claimed for had not been landed. Today Tomotgi stated that the lighters held only six tons, whereas the plaintiff averred that they carried ten tons.

   His Honour eventually gave judgment for the plaintiff for 16 tons. The price was said to be $1.80 cents a ton, but it was subsequently explained to us that the rate was cts. 18 a ton. The verdict therefore amounting to $2.88.


JAPAN WEEKLY MAIL, 20 July 1872 [447]



Before Mr. Acting Consul Robertson.

Thursday, July 18th, 1872.

JACOB MORRIS was charged by J. L. LIEBERMANN with assault.

   The particulars of the case were very much mixed with those recently heard in the U.S. Court; but after hearing evidence on both sides His Honour dismissed the charge.


JAPAN WEEKLY MAIL, 20 July 1872 [447]



Before Mr. Acting Consul Robertson.

Thursday, July 18th, 1872.


   This was a claim for $33.50 for work performed.

   The defendant, while admitting a small portion of the claim, made the following statement. He said he engaged a man from the plaintiffs to do certain carpenter's work of a very particular nature, and in account of that he was willing to pay 75 cents a day for wages. When the work was nearly completed this carpenter went away and sent a man who styled himself a friend of the first carpenter. The work in hand was finished, and a contract made for fresh work, which was also completed. The men went away, and as they never came for payment, he had not paid them.

   The Plaintiffs - represented by Mr. Nighton - said that the man with whom defendant alleged he made the contract was in his employ. He had paid the wages himself.

   Sato, a Japanese witness, confirmed the evidence, and

   His Honour gave a verdict for plaintiffs with costs, remarking that the defendant had not paid Mr. Nighton's men and plaintiff had done so, plaintiff ought to be reimbursed.


Japan Weekly Mail, 27 July 1872 [463]



Before Mr. Consul Robertson.

Wednesday, July 24th


   Judgment was rendered in this case as follows:

   The verdict would be for the plaintiff, the goods being sold by auction and the proceeds being taken to satisfy the plaintiffs' claim. The balance, if any, to be handed over to the defendant.


Japan Weekly Mail, 27 July 1872 [463]



Before Mr. Consul Robertson.

Tuesday, the 23rd July,1872

   JAMES WILLIAMSON and J. WALLACE of the Eastern Chief were charged with drunkenness, abusive language, and refusal of duty.

   Wallace pleaded guilty to refusal of duty, not guilty to other charges. Williamson pleaded not guilty to all charges.

   C. W. Carr narrated the circumstances of Williamson using abusive language on various occasions. He also refused duty. Wallace was drunk on Sunday, and on Monday he refused to do duty.

     To Williamson - He was drunk on Sunday.

   Prisoner Williamson made a long statement, throwing the blame on the Captain, denying his being drunk or recusing duty. Wallace denied the charges brought against him.

   Captain Carr gave both the prisoners a good character, and said he did not wish to punish them.

   His Honour dismissed the case, each to pay his own costs.


Japan Weekly Mail, 27 July 1872 [463]


On Monday in the SAIBANSHI NATIVE COURT, the second mate of the Zadkia  was fined twenty-five boos for assaulting a Yokohama revenue officer on board the steamer.


Japan Weekly Mail, 27 July 1872 [463]



Monday, 22nd July.

Before E. S. Benson, Director.

   Ah Chan, a Chinese, was brought up on a charge of assault. It seems that on the 13th some Japanese policemen saw the prisoner and a Manila-man fighting opposite No. 72. The latter got the best of it, on which the Chinaman went into his house, got a Japanese sword, and cut him. The police then arrested both. They were both drunk.

   The Manila-man has been dealt with by the Spanish Consul. The Chinaman was again remanded.


Japan Weekly Mail, 27 July 1872 [463]



Before Mr. Acting-Assistant Judge Hansen.

Wednesday, 24th July,1872


   This was a summons for $12 being the value of a family ticket to the Bluff Gardens.

W. H. Smith stated that at the end of April he issued a family ticket to the Bluff Gardens to Mr. Escombe for one year, amounting to $12. After using the ticket for two months he returned it declining to pay. He now claimed the amount.

   To Mr. Escombe - The reason for returning the ticket was because it did not admit in the evening. When he granted the ticket he did not make any restrictions, but Mr. Escombe being a shareholder he knew the hours when the Gardens were open. He always advertised the conditions as to the entry into the Gardens.

   To His Honour -  The tickets were issued by the directors. Mr. Escombe was a shareholder and was furnished with a copy pf the rules. (The rules and tickets were handed into Court.).

   Hs Honour said that on the face of the ticket and on the face of the rules there was no restriction as to the right of entry by family tickets.

   Mr. Escombe said that the charge was only disputed in order to try the question whether or not Mr. Smith had a right to charge extra admission to the holders of tickets. It had caused a great deal of interest in the community.

   His Honour said that was no defence to the summons. The $12 must be paid and Mr. Escombe must summon Mr. Smith. There would be a verdict for $12 but without costs. Mr. Escombe must now go to the Gardens  and if refused entry on his ticket pay for entrance and then summon Mr. Smith.

   Mr. Escombe said he had already paid for entrance during the evening.

   His Honour said that Mr. Escombe was then entitled to a summons unless Mr. Smith would allow him to make a set off.

   Mr. Smith urged that the rules admitted ticket holders only during the day, but

   His Honour ruled that the ticket admitted the holder at any time when the public were admitted, evenings or not.

   It was then agreed between the parties that the extra admission should be deducted from the $12.

[Note: See Editorial on Mr. Escombe's ticket on preceding pages.]


The Japan Weekly Mail, 17 August,1872; p. 515.



Before Mr. Consul Robertson.

Monday, August 12th.

THOMAS RYDER, of the Leander, was charged with assaulting the mate of the ship. He "did not think he was quite guilty." The prosecutor said that on Saturday morning he was in charge of the ship. Ryder came aft and demanded half an hour's liberty to go on board the Salamis which prosecutor refused. Prisoner asked three times, and then told him that he could hoist the police flag as he didn't intend to do any more work. Witness ordered him to go forward and gave him a slight push, on which prisoner turned round and struck him with his fist. While securing him, prisoner bit his shoulder very severely, and when in irons, contrived to break his handcuffs.

On behalf of the prisoner, a man named Cornish swore that the mate gave the prisoner a blow over the eye first, and then, as he was descending the steps from the poop, kicked him on the back. - Prisoner bared his shoulder, whence a good-sized strip of skin was missing. - The mate said this had resulted from the man's back grazing the ladder and not from a blow. There was no blackness, or appearance of bruises about the wound. The captain gave the man a very good character, and he got off with a fine of a dollar.

DAVID WILKES AND WILLIAM CORNISH left the ship without leave on Saturday - the latter having been taken back by the Police boat just before. The latter went to gaol for a fortnight, and the former for a week.

THOMAS STANLEY was charged with being absent without leave, assaulting the master of the Leander, and refusing duty. The man had been brought off shore by the police, and when still under the influence of liquor kicked the skipper's hat off. Next morning he refused to turn to. He went to gaol for a month.

Tuesday, August 13th.

Three men of the Seaforth were charged with repeated refusal of duty. His Honour sentenced them to three weeks' imprisonment.


The Japan Weekly Mail, 17 August,1872; p. 516.


Before Mr. Consul Shepard.

Tuesday, August 13th.

J. CONOLLY was charged with fraudulently obtaining goods from a Japanese and assaulting him. From the evidence it appeared that last night he went to a restaurant-keeper and refreshed exhausted nature with a dozen eggs, seven cups of coffee, and other inconsiderable trifles. The proprietor began to entertain doubts as to his customer's solvency towards the end of the repast - when he asked for sherry, but did not get it - which was confirmed when he asked for payment. Trembling on the brink of financial ruin, he threatened to procure the intervention of the police to prop his failing fortune. Prisoner "propped" him - in the eye, and knocked him down.

The Consul recommended the man to get paid in advance in future, before he served such customers.

The prisoner said that a man named Fitzgerald ordered the provisions. He was willing to pay what he ate - two boos and two tempae. He didn't pay it last night because he didn't have any money with him. He didn't kick plaintiff in the foot; he might have stood on his foot when the Japanese had seized him by the coat, and was asking him for money. He had been discharged from the Audax, and had since earned $6 for rigging the Marie Luz. He had drunk part of the money, and paid part for a pair of boots.

The Vice-Consul said he had been confined to gaol once, but had caused a great deal of trouble about the town.

Prisoner said he didn't know what he had been sent to gaol for, unless it was contempt of Court. He spoke rather hastily, as he had a little whisky in him. It could be nothing else.

The Consul enquired if prisoner considered whisky to be a good thing to drink as a morning beverage.

Prisoner evaded the question, saying that he hadn't drunk any since 1860 until he came to Yokohama. He boarded round at White's' and guessed his advance would pay what he owed the Japanese. He was going away in the Marie Luz.

The Consul was not so sure about that as prisoner had not at that moment the option of controlling his own movements.

The case was adjourned, and after a while, a man named Fitzgerald said he ordered the food consumed by prisoner, and would pay for it.

Conolly was sent to gaol for 20 days, - but to leave the place if he could be shipped in an American craft before the sentence expired.

Friday, August 16th.

GEORGE MILLER pleaded guilty to a charge of assault and battery upon James E. Keely. He was fined $25.

. . .

THOMAS HOCKEN was charged with assaulting Japanese police officers and a jinricsha coolie, and breaking the vehicle.

Kambetta, a policeman, cautioned, said - Yesterday I was in duty at the Hatobe and saw the prisoner strike complainant two or three times on the breast. I went up to them and asked what was the matter, on which the jinricsha man said he had been dragging the prisoner about the town and had not been paid. Prisoner tried to assault me, and in the scuffle the middle cross piece of the jinricsha got broken in the end. Hocken had got angry, because the man would not take him to No. 73.

Complainant said that when he refused to pull prisoner further, because he had not been paid, the other struck him several times; but did not hurt him much. He had ridden for four hours. The charge for that was two boos and a half.

Hocken admitted being intoxicated, but denied any intention of doing damage. He was fined $1 and costs beside payment of $1 to the jinricsha man.

. . .

BADCOCK, an officer of the Ariel, was charged with assaulting Japanese customs officers.

Michi-toshi, deposed that he was a tide -waiter and it was his duty to see that all goods or articles brought off from the shore to ships on which he was stationed bore the Government stamps. On the 11th day of the 6th month he was on board the Ariel, when Badcock wanted some sheep take in. He told him to wait a moment. Defendant first put his hand upon witness' shoulders and afterwards struck him in the eye. He did not know if the sheep were for the ship's use. He was instructed that all goods for the provision of the ship were allowed to be passed on board without a permit. He did not enquire if they were for the ship, nor did he provoke Badcock. He did not know if there was any duty on sheep, but he was placed on ship board under strict orders from his officers to require a permit for everything taken on board. He thought if the sheep had not a permit, it was not proper.

The Consul asked if he thought it was proper for a passenger to come on board without a permit?

Witness said he had nothing to do with that.

S'zuki Tadatchha, another officer, deposed that he saw these sheep which had come off to the ship and asked if they had a permit? Last witness enquired whence they had been bought, and was told from the foot of the hill (P.M.S.S. Co.'s shed). He saw last witness go towards Badcock, and the latter strike him on the eye. He went between them and stopped the fight.

For the defence, John Farrier, the P.M.S.S. Co.s butcher, Kerry, the steward of the Ariel, and the defendant, deposed that the ship was kept over half an hour alongside, the tide-waiters refusing to allow them to be hoisted in, though they were repeatedly told, and must have understood, the sheep were for the ships. The defendant was called in to intervene and ordered the sendoes to bring them up. The complainant tried to rush past defendant as he wasdescending the gangway, pushed him back and tore his shirt, on which the other lifted him on the guard and struck him.

His Honour said the only question involved was as to who struck the first blow? He must, however, say the Japanese Custom House officer was greatly in the wrong for not allowing the sheep to be taken on board. He could not help expressing surprise that the Customs authorities should permit men to hold such positions, the details of which they were not conversant with.

He could not blame the officer very much for stopping the sheep, as he was doubtless acting under instructions from his superior officer, but he must really deprecate such proceedings on the part of the Customs House officials, which in themselves amounted to little, but caused great annoyance and delay to ships.

He was, however, surprised to find that the authorities should think a company like the P.M.S.S. Company would condescend to such a mean action. If the Custom House officials did not know that, according to treaty, ships' stores were allowed to be taken on board without paying Customs' duties, it was quite time they learned; while he was always ready to punish any offender against the Custom House rules, the authorities must be made aware that on the other hand, he could not permit ships to be stopped in the manner they are, and he wished the Custom House interpreter who was present in Court to convey these sentiments to the authorities.

As regards the assault, the balance of evidence was in Mr. Badcock's favour, and he should therefore dismiss the case.

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