Saturday, 17 March 2012

17th March 1812: The trials of Robert Poley & Joseph Peck at Nottingham Lent Assizes

The Nottingham Review's coverage of the Nottingham Lent Assizes continued with this account of the trial of Robert Poley & Joseph Peck, which was published in the 20th March 1812 edition:
Robert Poley, aged 16, charged with frame-breaking at Sutton-in-Ashfield, on the 13th of November last, was next brought to the bar, and pleaded guilty: in consequence of marks of contrition, the Judge sentenced him to seven years transportation. After which, Joseph Peck, aged 17, was brought up, and pleaded not guilty.

The first witness called was Francis Betts, Hosier and Chapman, at Sutton-in-Ashfield, who stated, that on the 13th of November, 1811, in the afternoon, four or five men approached his house, and asked his permission to break his frames, to which solicitation, as might naturally be expected, he refused his consent. He then saw a multitude approach, armed with sticks; and on a gun being fired, he heard a great shout for the hammer men to come up, who entered his house, and from the noise he heard, he supposed they were breaking his frames. He then fled for his own personal safety; and on his return, he found more than twenty frames broken, and some of his household furniture.

Dennis Horsecroft stated that he resided at [obscured] remembered on the day stated in the indictment to be [obscured] five to six hundred men, armed with guns, axes, hatchets [obscured] &c. proceed towards Sutton-in-Ashfield and have [obscured] [partially obscured] them thither, he saw a number of frames cast [obscured] Bett’s window into the Street, where the prisoner, [obscured] was using his almost endeavour to demolish them [obscured] [partially obscured], and heard him call out his comrades “damn your eyes, smash away.” He knew the prisoner from a child: he had no doubt as to the identity of his person.

Thomas Chadwick was next sworn; and he stated, that [obscured] 13th of November, he saw a great number of persons assembled at Kirkby, and followed them from mere curiosity to Sutton-in-Ashfield, when he saw the prisoner, armed with [an axe], or a bludgeon, stand by a man who was breaking of frame with [a] hammer. The prisoner, on being called upon for his defence said, that Horsecroft struck the frames as well as himself. The Judge, in his charge to the Jury, stated, that in a lawless assembly, the act of one person became the act of the whole. The Jury immediately found the prisoner Guilty: and the Judge, in passing sentence of transportation upon him for the term of Fourteen Years, remarked the simplicity of the prisoner’s defence; pitied his youth and gave him hopes of mercy on the ground named to Carnel and Maples.

No comments:

Post a Comment