Tuesday, 21 June 2016

21st June: Day 5 of the Ely Special Commission

The Bury & Norwich Post's coverage of the Ely Special Commission continued (from the 26th June edition of the newspaper):

FRIDAY, June 21.

John Easy, John Walker, George Crowe, Richard Nicholson, William Jefferson, Wyburn Wilson, and Robert Butcher, were placed at the bar, and arraigned for having on the night of 22d of May last in the parish of Littleport, feloniously stolen various articles of grocery and drapery, together with three promissory notes of the value of one pound each, from the dwelling-house Rebecca Waddelow and others.

Mr. Gurney, as leading counsel for the prosecution, addressed the jury for the purpose of reminding them that the prisoners were the same persons who had just been put upon their trial, as charged with having committed the crime of burglary, and in whose favour a verdict of acquittal had been necessarily given, in consequence of an error in the frame of the indictment, which described the house in question to be the property of Rebecca Waddelow, whereas it appeared by Mr. Martin's evidence, that it was the joint property of her and of Mr. Martin.—It was the same case to which he had now to direct their attention, but presented in a new form; and to prevent any possibility of mistake, three different counts were introduced, charging it to be the property of Mr. Martin and of Mrs. Waddelow, and the joint property of both. In the charges, as originally framed, other persons were included; but as they have been convicted of other capital crimes, it has been deemed advisable to dissembarrass the present prosecution as far as they were concerned.

The witnesses were then examined, and the cause occupied a great portion of the day; but as the evidence very little from what was given on the former trial, it is unnecessary to enter into a more minute detail.

The jury, after five minutes’ consideration, found a verdict of guilty against Easy, Walker, Butcher, and Crowe, and acquitted Nicholson, Wilson, & Jefferson.

Henry Benson, a considerable farmer, who was out on bail, was then put to the bar, and indicted for exciting and instigating divers person to commit riot in the town of Ely. The court ordered him to find surety for himself in 400l. and two others in 200l. each, to appear for trial at the assizes.

Richard Cooper, the elder, and Richard Cooper, the younger, were also bound in recognizances to appear at the next assizes, in order to take their trial for riotous conduct in the town of Ely.

William Beamiss, the elder, William Beamiss, the younger, were then put to the bar, and indicted for having, on Wednesday the 22d day of May last, felonious assaulted Robert Cheesewright, the younger of Littleport, in the Isle of Ely, and put him in bodily fear, and with having taken from his person a bankers cash note of the value of 1l. The indictment contained two other counts, charging the prisoners with an assault on Robert Cheesewright, the elder, and with having feloniously taken the said note from him.

Mr. Gurney addressed the jury.—It had been impossible to consider the several cases which had come under their consideration without very melancholy [emotions]; but none could be more afflicting than to see father and son standing indicted together for a robbery. They had both engaged in the riot in the town of Little port, which produced so many excesses. The note in question was demanded by Beamiss the son, and taken by his father.

The prisoner Beamiss, the elder, in his defence said, that he did not recollect taking any money from Mr. Cheesewright.—The other prisoner made no defence.

Several witnesses gave them a good character, and when Mr. Justice Burrough shortly addressed the jury who immediately returned a verdict of guilty against both.

After this, 24 prisoners were several put before the bar, 19 of them charged with capital felonies, and five others with larcenies, when Mr. Gurney interposed on behalf of the Crown, and said he should consent to [the] discharge of all other prisoners upon slight securities, with an understanding that they should not be called upon in future, if their good behaviour entitled them to such indulgence; and he trusted they would be found worthy of the clemency of the Government.—Enough, he hoped, had been done to teach the inhabitants of this isle the necessity of obedience to the laws, and of respect for the peace and property of their neighbours. They will find, that if unlawful assemblies should ever again spring up, it will be so much their interest as it is their duty to associate and put them down, since patience and indulgence only encourage greater crimes.

Several other prisoners entered into recognizances in Court, and they were about to retire, when Mr. Justice Abbott desired to make one other observation to them. He exhorted them, on their return to their houses, to avoid all excess of liquor, and not to drink and tipple at public-houses. Such practices were most pernicious to themselves, and injurious to their families [illegible] appeared that these transactions had arisen from [illegible] issuing out of a public-house: this was the origin of the present mischiefs, and others of the like nature. He cautioned them, therefore, to avoid such meetings [illegible] such conduct for the future.—

No comments:

Post a Comment