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THE OUTRAGE ON A BRECON SHIRE…

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The fallowing appeared in our IStcavo I Edition of Saturday last. » THE OUTRAGE ON A BRECON SHIRE FAEMER. «- MAGISTERIAL INVESTIGATION AT CKFN COED. 50N-APPE A [IAN C E OF THE ACCUSED. WARRANTS ISSUED FOR THEIR APPREHENSION. At the monthly sessions for the Vaynor Petty Sessional Division, held at the Station Hotel, Cefn- :oedycwmmer, on Friday, the summonses issued tgainst Mr. John Morgan Jenkin Harris and lis brother, Thomas Harris, of Bodywigaid House, fenderyn, for maliciously injuring Jenkin Morgan, Taicwpla Farm, Penderyn, one of their tenants, came on for hearing. The sum- monses against the Messrs. Harris were in the following terms:—" Whereas you have this day been charged before the undersigned two of her Majesty's justices of the peace in and for the County of Brecon, of Brecon, for that on the 3bt day of December, 1832. you unlawfully, maliciously, and feloniously did wound and inflict upon one .Jenkin Morgan certain grievous bodily harm, thereby endangering the life of the said Jenkin Morg:¡ n." The summonses were signed by Mr. D. E. Williams and Mr. W. Powell, and were made returnable on Friday, January 26. The magistrates on the bench at the opening of the court were Messrs. George Overton (chairman), D. E. Williams, W. Crawshay, E. B. Evans, R. Edwards, and Wm. Powell. Air. Crawshay lelt the court before thf} commencement of this case, being summoned to Brighton by a tf-legr un, which stated that his sister, Mrs. Spiller, was dangerously ill. Mr. Bonnell Bishop, on behalf of the police (Colonel Gwyn, chief constable of the county, and Superintendent Flye being present), prosecuted, whilst, Mr. W- D. Williams, Abu-dare, watched the proceedings on behalf of the injured man. Mr. Gibbon, barrister, South Wales Circuit (instructed by Mr. R. W. Williams, solicitor, Cardiff), appeared to represent the accused. Upon the case beinf,' mentioned, Mr. Gibbon laid I appear for the two defendants, and I have ',0 ask for an adjournment, because r understand jhe complainant will not be here to-day. No doubt "he prosecution is nominally on behalf of the police, still the complainant is perfectly capable jf looking after himself, and of appearing before you. and putting the facts of the case as he thinks fit. You have noticed that paragraphs I nave appeared in the papers, and public attention has been drawn to this case in a manner which it certainly does not deserve, and brought it from the obscurity it otherwise would have been in. This bringing of it into public notoriety is very undesirable in the interests of justice, and I ask m these grounds that the case be adjourned until .oublic excitement has calmed down to a certain ?xtent, and also to give an opportunity to the complainant, to appear. The Chairman Who appears in the case '■ I see „here are two or three solicitors here. Mr. Bishop I appear for Superintendent Flye. Mr. W. D. Wiliiams: I appear for the injured 4Ian. The Chairman You appear for him V Mr. Williams I appear for him personally. The Chairman: Is he the complainant ia this •ase ■ Mr. Williams: In the summons ha is nominally romplainant, but the summons has been issued at •■he instance of the police and not at the instance 31 Jenkin Morgan. Although that may be so, I im now unable to say wI. it course Morgan will .ake. Mr. Gibbon If that is thj ease, perhaps it would 3e better if we had an adjournment. The Chairman suggested that the parties might tgree then. Mr. Bishop: I appear for Superintendent Flye. He being superintendent for the district, it was his Juty, when he found out from information given him concerning this matter, to take the steps he has. On making inquiries he found Jenkin Morgan was too ill to get out of bed, and he applied for a sum- mons in this case to prosecute both these gentle- mpnon the ground that they had inflicted those injuries upon Jenkin Morgan. The Chairman Do you consent to an adjourn- ment ? Mr. Bishop No, air. Just at present I want to consult Mr. Flye, but if you will listen to me for a ew momprits I want to pub the position before 'OU. The Chairman: I understood that they were iisposed to consent to an adjournment. Mr. Bishop: Whereupon summonses have been esued againat those gentlemen. Upon the issue of tummonses of this description the ordinary course a for the defendants to appear before the justices. But in this case, as Mr. Gibbon puts it, he isks to have the case remanded, though the iccused have not. appeared here to-day. The ordinary course is that if a summons is issued thc persons; summoned should appear before the iustices, and if they do not appear the course usually taken is that a warrant is issued for the tpprehension of those persons. And, therefore, sir, JO far as the police are concerned, they have to act within their line of duty; and these two gentle- men having been summoned, and having had the .ssistance no doubt of able legal advice to ten them *hey ought to answer the summons of the justices, < do not see any other course open than to ask for j warrant to issue. The Chairman Have you got your man here to trove with evidence ? Mr. Bishop: Xo, sir. The Chairman: How can you proceed, then ? Mr. Bishop The defendants should have obeyed \he summ01Jses and have appeared here personally. Dion, with regard to having Jenkin Morgan here, have tho surgeon here to show that he is not n a fit state to attend here to-day. And I should jo so far to prove my case, and then ask you to Adjourn the caso until such a date as the surgeon .R)7;; he (Morgan) could attend. But what we jubmit is that tho accused should have appeared. The Chairman They may be in the room for all know. It is not my duty to ask. We can pro- reed in their absence. Mr. Bishop No, you cannot take evidence in the .bsence of the accused persons. The Chairman: Under a summons we can. Mr. Bishop Not in their absence. The Chairman You admit the man is not here, ,nd I have seen the papers have given the case a lotoriety, and said he could not attend, and it was rarely pre-judging that it was not to come on to- 111". What, do you say, Mr. WilUams ? Mr. Williams: I do not appear here in the opacity of prosecutor. The matter was taken up :ry the police really before the complainant, if you ;an call him SUdl. could take it up-he was really ;00 unwell to give proper instructions. I do not Dlair.e them. Tho Breconshire police are, perhaps, lotorious for their zeal and energy, and thought ihey ought to take it up. I do not propose to oiler .ny obstacle to the prosecution, except in this sense, to state that my client has not moved in the matter in a criminal way at all. Whether we will do so in future is a matter for him. I have no in- structions as to that. I say this most distinctly, that in the absence of some powers greater than the police have In the matter, I think it was quite uncalled for that they should have issued these summonses. Mr. Gibbon has said that the matter has attained a great deal of notoriety, and I am bound to say that frum the notoriety it has obtained it has been pressed to an extent that, perhaps, circumstances do not altogether call for. For myself, I have expressed no opinion, but leave it rr, Mr. Bishop. I can only say it is at the present moment ti.kcn up by the police, and the police alone. The Chairman: Without his authority ? Mr. Williams: Without the authority of Jenkin Morgan. The Chairman: I was anxious to know that. Mr. Williams Yes. Perhaps you will allow me to sav T do not wish to impeach the action taken bv the police in the smallest degree. I reserve to myself the right tb takp out r. summons or any- thing of the kind if Mr. Morgan thinks it right to do so. The Chairman: It is very awkward to have a combination of Mr. Bishop: I think no one would say that the police were not perfectly justified in the course ihey have taken. The Chairman: Nobody says that.. Mr. Bishop Mr. Williams says so. The Chairman: No, pardon me; he says it is not dune with the authority of Mr. Morgan. l'he police have a right to do many things, but still whether they are perfectly justifiable is another matter. They should have had some authority from Mr. Morgan, c- rtainly. Mr. Bishop: The police went there at the time chat the surgeon stated it was a question whether ie would live or not. Mr. Gibbon Do not let us enter into the facts. Mr. Bishop: It is only in order to explain. It is ,be duty of the police, if they find a man in that condition, to see to it at oncc, because that nan may have died, and if not, they would have been highly censured. It is rheir duty, first, for the protection of the person injured, and, second, it is their duty towards the public, in serious case?, to see that any offender is brought, to justice. So Mr. Flye was bound to exercise his duty, or he would have been called upon by a higher authority to know why he had not done so. It is their bounden duty to do it, without any feeling of the slightest kind. And, therefore, I say the police were obliged to take this up. And now comes the question which I will put to you, and I shall call the evidence of the surgeon to show you the condition of the man, as these gentlemen are not here to prove the service of the summons, and it will be a question for you whether or not you would issue a warrant. The Chairman: We do not want evidence; we will assume iL if you like. Mr. Gibbon: My ground is, that my friend is rather prejudging the case in stating here that the iniunesaresM-ious. I think we can show that there have appeared very highly exaggerated ac- counts. And see how the matter stands. The police have acted in the matter without the autho- rity of the man, and I think you would exercise a wise discretion in adjourning the case. Mr. Bishop: I would readily fall in with any suggestion falling from your worships, but 1 do not think I am justified. (Applause.) The Chairman: It is not suggested that we should go on. We will take any evidence you like, but we are satisfied that the man cannot come to &ive evidence. Mr. Gibbon-. I am quite willing to admit that he V< unable to appear, but whether the illness is from injuries or something subsequent is what I Williams reneated that he knew nothing; of he summons, and said he only heard of it through I lie public papers. | Mr. Bishop Hut here the parties are summoned to attend to-day. They do not attend. Therefore we have nothing to show that they will be here OM a future occasion. The Chairman If you have a warrant you have no security that they will appear either. They appear by counsel, and what can they do more ? I do not think you can insist upon a warrant being issued. (Disturbance in court.) Mr. Bishop: I do not like going against your worship in any way. but in a case of this descrip- tion there is nothing to show that hereafter these parties may be present, and probably if you hear some portion of the evidence you would be in a better position to judge. I don't want to say any- thing beyond what I consider my solemn duty. Mr. Gibbon I think there is no power to hear a case of this kind when the defendants are absent, but you may adjourn the case. You have a dis- cretionary power then as to whether you issue a warrant. It is in Javvis's Act, the 9th section, which says:— Ii the party 30 summoned 00 not appear according to the summons a warrant may be issued to apprehend and bring him before any justice to answer the charge. The Chairman What do you say ? Mr. Bishop: I suggest that, as these two gentle- men are not present, the police should be examined to prove the services of these summonses. Then it naturally follows that if they do not appear, some steps should bo taken to insure their being brought before you. The Chairman: It is no fault of theirs. We are asked to adjourn the ease 011 account of the sick- ness of this old man. From the evidence there has been no default so far on the part of the defen- dant?. They may be here now. There is no de- fault; you cannot blame them. Mr. Bishop You have not come to that yet. The Chairman They may make the application themselves. Supposing you do not, then the de- fendants make the application to adjourn the case on that ground—the illness of Morgan. That is an admitted fact, and what on earth is the good of taking the trouble and expense of going into the evidenced Mr. Bishop No doubt these gentlemen (repre- sentatives of the accused) admit, they arc not here, but the regular way is to call them, and in the event of their not appearing it is for you to decide whether you will issue a warrant. The Chairman Do you apply for a warrant ? Mr. Bishop I am pressed to do so. (Hear, hear.) The Chainrsan Then say so. I did not know you were driving at that, Íf you wish to have a warrant, say so. Then you want a warrant to apprehend them ? Mr. Bishop: They have not come in obedience to the summons. The Chairman: Let us know exactly what you want, Mr. Bishop: That is what I put to the Rench. Tito Chairman Now I understand you. I did not know what you weiv driving at before. I see now you want a warrant to be issued. Mr. Gibbon: I think I have given you reasons why the defendants have not appeared to-day. As to the issuing of a warrant, that is a matter that is quite discretionary with the bench. The Chairman Is it discretionary;* Mr. Gibbon alluded to the 8th section, pointing out that, the word "may" in it gave perfect dis- cretion to tne magistrates. The Chairman was understood to disagree, and said' there was the foot-note in the book (" Stone's Justices' Manual"). Mr. Gibbon: There is no authority for that note. It is a note by the editor and not a part of the section. I am bound to say this, that the de- fendants have no wish to avoid these proceedings by keeping out of the way, and if any definite period is named at which the complainant will be able to appear the case may be gone into. Of course I cannot promise that they will attend I have no authority from thrm to do so. I think it is fair to say they would appear. Mr. D. E. Williams: The medical gentleman has given us no information at all yet. Mr. Gibbon They may tell us how long it will be before he is able to attend. The Chairman: I have not yet seen the summons in this case. I think the magistrates exercised a very proper discretion in issuing a summons. It is what I should have done myself. I did not see any necessity for a warrant then, and I do not see any necessity for a warrant now. My opinion was for signing a summons, and that opinion has been rather confirmed than otherwise since the first occasion. A consultation took place between the beuch for several moments, which terminated by the Chairman saying, Well, Mr. Bisliop?" Mr. Bishop: I propose to prove the summons first. I think we are bound first to prove the ser- vice. and then the point will arise—what is to be done ? The Chairman: You can do that, and then bring evidence for a remand—the medical evidence. Mr. Bishop: I feel I am bound to do it by calling tho man who served the summons. Mr. Gibbon We admit the service of the sum- mons. The Chairman Then I cannot see that it is necessary to prove it. They admit it, and there- fore it is useless trouble and expense. Mr. Bishop: I do not think the admission of a solicitor is sufficient in a criminal case. We must proceed according to the strictness of the law. I submit we ought to call the police to prove the service, and then the usual course should follow. Where. a man is accused of a charge of this kind the admission of the solicitor is not sufficient. Supposing they took a different course if they found we do not take our course. The Chairman Do you see any objection to that (proving the service of the summonses) '( Mr. Gibbon • If they think it is absolutely neces- sary I do not. I The Chairman Then call your witness. Both defendants were formally called inside and outside the court, whereupon a policeman said No answer, your worships. Thomas Thomas, sergeant of the Breconshire Constabulary, stationed at Cefncoedycymmer, was then sworn and said: On Saturday, the 20th of this month, I left a copy of this summons at the residence of Thomas Harris, Treferig, Llantrisant. in the county of Glamorgan. I read the summons to John Morgan Jenkin Harris. When I read the charge to him he said, Why did not the old man send someone over here to settle the case ?" Police-Constable Eli James Smart, member of the Brecon County Constabulary, stationed at Hirwain, said: On Saturday, the 20th inst., I served a copy of this summons on John Jenkin Morgan Harris personally. He said, Why did not he send someone here to settle?" The Chairman You served Thomas Harris ? Witness: No, "ir John Morgan Jenkin Harris. Sergeant Thomas: I left the summons for Thomas Harris with John Harris. He asked the contents, and I read the summons which was for his brother over to him for him to know what the charge was. And when I read it to him he said, Why did not the old man send someone over hero to settle the case ?" Mr. Bishop Where was Thomas Harris? Serjeant Thomas: His brother told me he was upstairs. The Magistrates' Clerk: A summons to appear I here on the Police-Constable Smart: On the 26th, at ten o'clock. The Magistrates' Clerk For wounding Jenkin Morgan ? Witness Yes, for wounding Jenkin Morgan. The Chairman: Now, then, Mr. Bishop, what do you say? Mr. Bishop: The defendants not having ap- peared here in answer to the summonses, I must ask your worships to take steps to compel them. Tho Chairman What is tha meaning of that—a warrant ? Mr. Bishop I ask for a warrant to apprehend them, sir. The Chairman: What have you to say to that, Mr. Gibbon ? Mr. Gibbon As you know, it is a matter in your discretion entirely to say whether you shall issue a warrant. I have no authority, of course, from the defendants to say that they will appear or not; but I think I can safely say they have no wish to avoid the charge, and would have been here to-day to meet it if it had not been for the complainant's anticipated absence, which would have necessi- tated an adjournment in any case. The Chairman Mr. Williams, have you anything to say ? Do you act on behalf of the old man? Mr. Williams: As I said before, I am in this posi- tion. I have really no business here at all. It is true I represent the complainant, who has been summoned to appear here but at the same time the summonses against the defendants have not been taken out at his instance, and it is for the police to take their own course. I wish it to be clearly understood that I desire to carefully avoid pre- judicing my client's case. If the complainant did attend—and I am not sure that ever the magis- trates ca.n compel him to attend without a Crown subpoena—it is for the police to make out their own case. I will not say whether I do or do not wish it to be issued. The summonses have been taken out simply at the instance of the police, and I wish to be careful not to prejudice my client, whether criminally or civilly. The Chairman: If you can show that the man is in any immediate danger—the medical evidence may influence my opinion—but if there is no immediate necessity for it, if he is not in a dangerous state, it seems to me to be unnecessary, and it seems to me to gratify the police. If Mr. Williams, who appears for the complainant, were to request it I should hold a very different view of it. Do you want, Mr. Bishop, to call any evidence or ask for a warrant on the evidence given. Mr. Bishop I put it that it is my only course. The Chairman: And you will not show any urgent necessity for it ? Mr. Bishop: I will examine the surgeon, if you like, sir. The Chairman: I think we ought to have some evidence or leave it, as you like. Mr. Bishop We have summoned everybody con- nected with the case to appear here. 1 have the surgeon here if you want to call him. The Chairman Use your own discretion, you know. If you like to call them—I have only ex- pressed mv individual opinion. Mr. Bishop I had better ask for the evidence of the surgeon, then. Dr. Thomas Evan Jones was then called, and said, in reply to Mr. bishop, that he was a medical practitioner at Hirwuin. He said: I know Jenkin Morgan. I went to his residence, Taicwpla Farm. in the parish of Penderyn, on Thursday, the 11th of January. I was requested to go by his servant on Wednesday evening. Mr. Gibbon objected that that was entering into the facts. The Chairman said that perhaps that was the best way of getting at the man's condition, so that the magistrates might judge for themselves. Mr. Bishop said he was showing the grounds for asking for the warrant. Mr. Gibbon said they did not show that the man was in a dangerous state, and it was in the dis- cretion of the magistrates to say whether they would grant a warrant. The witness, continuing^ said: Without going into details I may say I found certain wounds on Morgan. He was in such a state that you could not be certain whether he would recover or not, and he has continued ill ever since. A second medical man was called in, but by other persons, Dot bv me. Morgan suffered a. good deal. I »aw him last yesterday. He is improving ver \'] much since I saw him last. The chances are ir •"iitour of his recovery. Replying to a question, Is he seriously ill ? Witness replied, He is still ewnnned to his bed." Mr. Bishop Did you at any time think he would not recover ? Mr. Gibbon objected to the question. Mr. Bishop: I submit I have a right to put the question. Mr. Gibbon: You are putting the words in the witness's mouth. Mr. Bishop Very well. (To the witness): When do you think he will be likely to come out again ? Witness: I think in a month's time, if he pro- gresses as favourably as he does now. Mr. Gibbon I ask the witness no question. The Chairman What do you say ? Mr. Bishop I do not see you have any course otherwise than compel the accused to attend. Mr. Gibbon: I would point out to you that the state of the man's health was in the knowledge of the police, and was put before the magistrates at the time they applied for a warrant or summons. Then the magistrates, in their discretion, thought fit to issue a. summons, and we have heard no grounds here to say why that discretion should be over-ruled. In fact, the doctor, so far from the man being any worse, said Morgan was pro- gressing. and was a great deal better, and rapidly recovering. He had fixed a definite time when he might appear. I say it is perfectly within your discretion as to granting a warrant. The Chairman again read the 9th section. Mr. Bishop Mr. Gibbon has just said that the magistrates issued a summons on certain grounds. They took a course which was less severe than granting a warrant. The Chairman: In their discretion. Mr. Bishop Neither cf these gentlemen have ap- peared before you to-day, therefore you have to compel their attendance. If their attendance is necessary at all some authority must be used to bring them here. I put it to you, that you have no other course than to issue a warrant. The magistrates have dealt as leniently as they could in granting a summons in the first instance. That summons is not obeyed; therefore, what are you to do ? If you do not take steps to compel them to attend this day or any other time, we may be ir. the same position. The Chairman: You admit that the Act gives a bench of magistrates discretion. We can then discuss the matter, and I will put the question to the bench to know what their decision is. Mr. IMshop 1 do not. After some other observations, Mr. D. E. Williams here said: With all due deference to Mr. Bishop and Mr. Overton, our chairman. I think I should state that it has been thepractice of this court since I have sat here, and in other court", as weil, that when a person is summoned and he does not appear to that summons a warrant is issued at once—(" Hear, hear," in court,)—and I cannot at all see why there should be a departure from that course in tins case. I should also add that I was asked to sign a warrant at Hirwain, but before I did so I con- sulted Mr. Powell, my colleague, who is here with us on the bench to-day, and before we issued or signed a warrant we thought wo would see the medical gentleman, and we made it our business to see Mr. Jones, the medical atten- dant, who assured us that Mr. Jenkin Morgan was progressing very favourably, and we at once de- cided not to sign a warrant, but we were fully pre- pared to sign summonses. That we did, and as these gentlemen (Messrs. Harris) do not appear to the summons, I think the only course we have to take is to issue a warrant. (Loud applause in court). These are my sentiments. The Chairman: My brother magistrate having expressed himself so strongly we will clear the court, and I will take the opinion of the bench. The court was then cleared, and after from ten to fifteen minutes' deliberation the magistrates re- admitted the public. Thereupon The Chairman said: Gentlemen, the court has considered the question put before them, and they have decided that according to the practice of the court we ought to issue a warrant. (Loud applause). Our meetings are generally here only once a month, but they may be brought up before any magistrate in the meantime. We shall not have a regular petty sessions again until the last Friday in next month. Mr. Gibbon: Of course a single magistrate is competent to remand upon satisfactory bail ? The Chairman A magistrate for Breconshire can, though I believe that now a magistrate in another county can do so. I think there was an alteration of the law last session, whereby a magis- trate elsewhere can do so. Mr. D. E. Williams: There will be no special petty sessions, and, inasmuch as the medical gen- tleman says the injured man is recovering, I think our usual meeting will do. The proceedings then terminated.

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