Tuesday, 24 July 2012

24th July 1812: The convicted prisoners are sentenced at York Summer Assizes

On Friday 24th July, Judge Bayley sentenced the prisoners convicted at the York Summer Assizes.

Patrick Doring, was found guilty of threatening Mary & Joseph Culpin with death for giving evidence against the Luddite James Haigh. The Leeds Mercury of 1st August 1812 recorded Judge Bayley's verdict:
“You been found guilty, on evidence which satisfies the Jury and the Court, of endeavouring, by threats, to obstruct the regular course of justice; an offence of a very serious nature, and which, in this case, is much increased by the consideration of the aggravated nature of the crime you were endeavouring to screen and protect. The attack on Mr. Cartwright’s mill was of so atrocious and savage a nature, and struck so directly at the root of civil society, that it might have been expected that every man would have been anxious to bring the persons concerned in so daring an outrage to justice; but instead of being disposed to contribute, by the information of which you might be possessed; to this end you did all in your power to prevent those who were disposed to perform their duty, giving their evidence. This attack was of so savage and cowardly a nature, that I should have thought there were few persons in this country of minds of so depraved a character as to be capable of joining a transaction of so dark a complexion. It is evident from your conduct, that you are either in some respects connected with the persons concerned in this transaction, or at least that you are a well wisher to their cause. But it is quite certain that it is a cause which cannot succeed; the persons concerned in it will probably in this world be brought to justice; but there will a time come when this attack, made in the darkness of the night, will be brought to light, and when all those concerned in it will stand unveiled, and when they must answer for their conduct at a tribunal from which nothing can be concealed.”

The prisoner was sentenced to be confined two years in York Castle.
Thomas Wilson was found guilty of rioting in Sheffield on 14th April. The Leeds Mercury of 8th August 1812 carried the Judge's words:
His Lordship, on passing sentence upon the Prisoner, some days after, said, “in addition to the recommendation of the Jury of you to mercy, on account of your general good character, a circumstance has been stated to me, and which, upon enquiry I believe to be correct, but you have, by your industry, been the principal means of maintaining your widowed mother and eight children. This instance of filial piety has made a strong impression upon my mind, and has induced me to go as far as my duty to the public would permit in mitigating your punishment; and I am persuaded that it will form no inconsiderable part of your sufferings, that you have, by your folly, deprived her for so long a period of that support, and I regret to say, that your separation must be continued some time longer. If those who engage in excesses of which you have been convicted, or in other more aggravated species of guilt, would consider the anguish, disgrace and sufferings they occasion to near and dear relations, they would not, I am persuaded, engage in such destructive courses. I trust you will, in your future life, be warned and instructed by the error you have committed, and atone for it by continuing the same course of laudable industry has distinguished your conduct previous to this unguarded moment.” His Lordship then ordered him to be imprisoned three months, and find security for his good conduct for one year.
William Groom, charged with entering a cellar to steal potatoes during the same riot, was sentenced to 12 months in Wakefield House of Correction.

Mary Gibbon & William Rodgers, who had both been found guilty of taking part in the raid on the military depot at Sheffield on 14th April, were respectively sentenced to 1 year and to 6 months imprisonment in York Castle.

Though William Shirtcliffe was also found guilty of rioting at Sheffield, the Mercury does not record his sentence.

Of the two cases of assaulting soldiers that may or may not have been linked with the disturbances, both Ann Gardner & Robert Dick were acquitted

Finally, the Grand Jury had heeded Judge Bayley's comments about James Haigh at the start of the Assizes, when he had warned them that to proceed with the case on the evidence that existed could mean an acquittal and thereby no chance of bringing Haigh before a court again for the same offence. No true Bill (i.e. no indictment) was found against him on this occasion, meaning that he would return to custody to stand trial again at a future Assizes, provided more evidence was found and a proper indictment brought. With the sympathiser and witness intimidator in the shape of Patrick Doring now ensconced in York Castle, the authorities could work on the Culpins and amass other evidence and witnesses to try Haigh again at a future Assizes.

Details about the sentences are from the Leeds Mercury for 25th July and 1st & 8th August 1812.

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