Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

27 erthygl ar y dudalen hon




iHE FARMERS REVOLT.* THE REBECCA RIOTS. Uy the llcc. J. Lloyd June* (Chvydivaifro). Having made those excellent introductory obser- vations, lie now came more particularly to the case under consideration. His learned fiieiid had stated the accusation; but if its natuie was gathered from the evidence brought iorwaid. one might think that shooting at the officers was the accusation. If some man had hap- pened to come to the Court, when the witness was under examination, and had re- mained there until the last witness was ex- amined, without hearing the accusation stated previously, he would have certainly come to that opinion; because nine tenths of the evidence on their Lordship's notes had ref- erence to the shooting. He knew that when any particular accusation arose from any action, that lie history of that action must be given: but on this occasion, he contended that much irrelevant matter had been dragged in to the injury of tile prisoner, and for the purpose of finding a verdict in favour of the Crown. Many things had been dragged in, although they were accepted in a legal sense, yet they weie irrelevant. For all that', he had confidence in the fairness of the Common Commissionec through whose effort chiefly he had the ilonUl of addressing them, because until a few yeais ago, the law of England lay under the disgrace of permitting a Counsellor to appear against a prisoner, while no one was allowed to open his mouth in his favour; he would feel sorry to use the privilege lie had had in a great measuie through the effort of the Common Com- | mi.-sioner, as a means of using haul words; i c!) but he must confess, that he did not know the purpose in view of bringing the guns, powder and bullets, etc., into Court,—what was. the object in submitting in evidence the coats turned inside out Was that dune to prole that it was possible for a man to be a turncoat in these days' He was glad to see the guns brought there, for he believed if lie was chosen to hre them, or to let someone else lire them at him, he would have preferred the latler; but he might be mistaken in this. He wondered that the Counsel lor the Crown had not seen i: necessary to produce the stones taken from the wall. As to the matter of shooting, he said that there was a bill before the Jury, against the prisoner, acusing him of shooting with intent to murder, etc., and lie was prepared to meet the accusation when it was brought forward; but he wondered that the greater accusation was not brought forward first; was not the smaller accusation brought forward first, so as to keep the other in reserve, that it might not be altogether unsuccessful. The accusation of shooting, that was before the Orand Jury, and which affected the prisoner's life, ought not to have been referred to in any way 111 the evidence, until the prisoner had a right to meet it. If the purpose in view in bringing it forward was to show how violent the prisoner- had acted in the riots, and to show the great patience of the police officers, it would fail. There were many instances in the memory of all, in which the soldiers and policemen had gone, in similar cases, beyond their duty. It was not a new thing to find that their conduct was not always what arose from courage and patience joined together, and what truly would deserve praise; because there is nothing more noble than the conduct of men having been armed with great authority, and also with a command to use it, but yet submitting to in- sult and injury rather than use it against mistaken fellow-creatures. Then the learned Counsel proceeded to make general comment on tiie conduct of the people assembled together. They had made known their purpose that night by shooting with their guns, while the police constables had hidden themselves in their shelter, and their loaded with bullets; but the rioters foolishly and thoughtlessly, fired without such means, as if ouly to encourage and excite their friends, because there was no evidenc saying that they had hurt any person. There was not so much as the hair of any policeman's head touched, and yet it appeared, although it was strange it should have been so presented that the rioters had shown the greatest cruelty, and that justice demanded they should be put on their trial before the judgment seat of their country. What did the evidence prove? Nothing further than that they had fired their guns in a vain frolicsome manner, without having loaded them with any sort of bullets. Undoubtedly there were a few grape-shot brought forward, and the Common Commissioner had asked if they were of a large size and if there were many of them. They had no need but to look at them to tnable any person to see that they were only such as are used to kill birds, and that they had been shot merely in a spree; because to think that they, with such things, proposed to oppose constables, who had been fully armed with guns loaded with burets, be- sides having other weapons, was preposterous to a degree. Captain Napier had said that there were marks of grape-shot, on the windows, and near the lamp over the toll-house door, which clearly proved that the use intended was to break the glass. He did not for a minute contend that they were justified in doing so; but the matter was, whether they were guilty of the particular deed set forth in the accusa- tion. The point was not whether they were guilty of breaking the law, but whether they were guilty of the deed they were accused uf. He was glad that the grape-shot had been shown to the Court, because that afforded further proof that they did not intend to harlll anyone. By shooting with grape-shot, although the harm would be less than with bullets, yet it wouid be more general; it would be fifty- times easier to wound with grape-shot than with one bullet, How would the Jury believe that grape-shot had been used, while they had not touched one constable or the justices. On the other hand, if a glanec is thrown on the policemen, it is found that they received news of the intention of attacking the gate as early as four o'clock that afternoon; and after the delay, of which no explanation is given, they went to the place armed, not with grape- shot to shoot sparrows, but with guns loaded with big bullets, each of which would have taken away human life. It would be found that they came to a field, and although they knew by the blue light, the shooting, etc., that a breaking of the law Was intended, instead of making any attempt to prevent the rioting, they hid themselves in the field until! after the gate was demolished. He thought it was a strange part of the duty, of policemen to watch until the mischief was done, before attempting to prevent it. On this occasion the justices and police- men had an opportunity to prevent a breach of the law, but instead of that they con- cealed themselves until they saw it was broken. Then Mr. Hill, after making several obser- vations on the conduct of the policemen, said that they, by bringing the case against the prisoner" had forgotten the first point of law, i.e., not to punish the guilty, but defend the innocent. He hoped that he did not go beyond his duty by expressing his confidence that the spirit which seemed to govern some of the authorities of the County of Glamorgan, would not become general throughout the country. He had never before heard of a'prosecution for fleeing on the one hand, while' the attack was on the other side. It was a new thing to him, to see persons coming into that couit, under the protection of the Common Com- missioner and Pleader, to defend their con- duct in shooting at British citizens with guns loaded with bullets. Such actions, in' his opinion, outdid the French revolution. In stead of appearing as prosecutors and wit- nesses, the WQMjtfed and injured men ap- peared at the ,?It. as prisoners. He could uot feel anything but wonder at. this, circum- stance. Then the learned. Counsel took con- siderable notice of the inconsistency in, the evidence as to the recognition of the prisoner. Some of the witnesses said. that there .were several persons dressed alike; but they soon diminished in number until they ended in one, and that one was John Hughes. He begged the jury to regard the. evidence with the greatest suspicion,, because the ad- vantage of the policemen and those with the policemen, depended on the prosecution— not their monetary advantage; but what was of mech more value—their character in the JI-




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