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THE CHARGE OF MURDER AT WREXHAM.

pisedtaMOU-s. --=-

NORTH WALES SPRING ASSIZES.

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NORTH WALES SPRING ASSIZES. DENBIGHSIRE. The Judge arrived at Ruthin on Friday afternoon, 17th instant, and proceeded to the County Hall, where the commission of assize was formally opened. His Lordship afterwards attended Divine Service at St. Peter's Church, accompanied by the high sheriff (J. Lloyd Wynne, Esq., Coed coch), and J. Parry Jones, Esq., under-sheriff. The assize sermon was preached by the Rev. R. H. Jackson, the sheriffs chaplain. SATURDAY. tl The court was opened this morning at Ili.W, tile Judge being escorted from his lodgings to the hall by a retiuue of javelin men. The following gentlemen were sworn on THE GR\ND JURY. Sir Watkin Williams Wynn. Bart., M.P., foreman Thomas Hughes, Esq Ystrad Hull Townshcml Mainwaring, Esq., 1I.P. Col. Tottenham B. 0. Trevor Griffith, Esq. Simon Yorke, Esq. Col. Maddocks, Glanywera H. Bertie Wynn. Esq. Llewelyn Faulkner Lloyd, Esq. Rowland Jones Venables, Esq. E H. Griffith. Esq., PlasnewycM John Price. Esq.. Uanrhaiaar HaU R. Wynne Price, Esq., ditto James Maurice, Esq., Ruthin Michael Humble, Esq. R. 0. Moutsdale, Esq., Llanrwst Col. R. Brooke H R Sandbach, Esq. Ignatius Williams. Esq. R George Johnson, Esq. Henry Potts, Esq. Whitehall Dod, Esq. S. P. Hope. Esq Captain Rumley Charles Godfrey The Clerk of Arraigns having read her Majesty's Proclamation against vice and immorality, and for the encouragement of virtue, His LORDSHIP delivered his charge to the Grand Inquest. He commenced his observations by expres sing a hope that the few minutes delay' in opening the court had not inconvenienced the gentlemen in atten- dance. It had been done in order to have the assistance of those residing at a distant part of the county, and who had not the advantages of railway communication. He did not think that any body of men were more useful in the administration of public justice than on a grand jury. Without juries (grand and petty) there would be a danger for law, and law only, to be administered, but with the union of judge and juries the administration of justice according to law was secured. His Lordship then alluded to the cases in the calendar. There were two cases of arson—a crime of very serious complexion, and which was prevalent almost in every county in the circuit. He had in every case he had met with, whe- ther the fire was communicated by man or woman, inflicted a Tery long period of penal servitude in order if possible to discourage this class of offenders. In his opinion there ought to be some severer and more effec- tual mode of punishment in the case of arson than is at present inflicted. What that mode should be, it was for them to judge—but he would throw out a suggestion, namely—that the offender should at first be severely punished for a short time, and then sent to some new distant settlement. There was a case of great gravity to come before tticm-zi case of murder. If it was a real case of murder, it ought to be gravely probed, but of course without hesitation. It was a case in which a careful preliminary enquiry was desirable. The judge was always anxious that justice should be done, and so were the petty jury. A man charged with murder stood in a perilous position. Sometimes a guilty man might escape, and an innocent man might be condemned -but it was a great security, nevertheless, for an ac- cused person to Lave his case investigated by a grand jury, previous to another investigation before a judge and petty jury—and those who proposed the abolition of graudjuries were very short-sighted people indeed. A person of the name of Joseph Hughes was by the coroner's inquest indicted for the murder of William Kendrick. By the magistrates he had been committed on a charge of catting and wounding, but William Kendrick afterwards died from the effects of his wounds. The occurrence took place in the town of Wrexham. It seemed that Joseph Hughes went up to two young men (one of whom was the deceased) to ask where he could get lodgings, and it was represented that he be- haved himself in a very odd manner—not being, it was supposed, sober. One of them said—" You have had a civil answer to a civil question, why don't you behave yourself." In consequence of these words a slight scuffle ensued between prisoner and the deceased, in the course of which the prisoner drew out a knife and stabbed at the head of the deceased. He was attended by a medi- cal man, and it transpired that the knife had penetrated a portion of the brain congestion of the brain followed, and in a short time the unfortunate man W. Kendrick died. There would be no doubt that the prisoner had taken away the life of the deceased, and he was so far guilty of homicide. All homicides were ^rima facie murders—prima facie, therefore, Joseph Hughes mur- dered the deceased. But, then, there was a scuffle, and certain circumstances might reduce the crime of murder to manslaughter. What were those circumstances? Mere words would not reduce murder to manslaughter —however abusive were the words of deceased, it would not affect the case. But serious blows would. Suppos- ing the deceased struck the prisoner a serious blow, and the stab wits given in hot blooci. that would reduce the crime to manslaughter. Therefore he recommended the jury to pay most particular attention to what passed immediately before the fatal stroke was given. The first question was—whether there was a blow at all ? If there was a slight assault, provoked by the prisoner himself, then the homicide was murder; but if there was a serious blow and returned by the prisoner with a knife in hot blood, then it was manslaughter. His Lordship trusted they (grand jury) would be directed to a right conclusion. Owing to the Quarter Sessions hav- ing been held on Thursday, at which a good many pri- soners were disposed of, he was happy to say only six remained for trial at the Assizes, and the grand jury's occupation would be light, with the exception of the murder case. NO TRUE BILL Against Henry Birch, 2.3, for having, at Wrexham, on the 17th of August, 1864, feloniously killed and slayed one John Jones. AMON, William Mason, 21, and William Mawson, 21, were arraigted for having, at Llantvsilio, on the 10th of No- vember, lSCi4, felouiously set fire to a stack of hay, the property of Mr. Godfrey Parry. Both prisoners pleaded guilty. His LORDSHIP, in passing sentence—You have plead- ed guilty upon your own confession to the crime of arson. I have carefully perused the depositions, and it is quite plain that the result of any trial would be a conviction. This is a crime which must be stopped. I am sorry to inflict upon you so severe a sentence, but I have no discretion in your case. I have dealt in the same way in every instance of arson that has come under my notice throughout this circuit.—Sentenced to 7 years' penal servitude. Reuben Bolton, 20, and Thomas DlOtlop, 20, pleaded guilty to having, at Wrexham, on the 10th of January last, set fire to a stack of hay, the property of Mr. Robt. Jarvis. The prisoners handed over to the Judge a statement in writing, which his Lordship ordered to be read by the Clerk of the Court. The statement was to the following effect—It is with deep feelings of regret that we have to address you in any way whatever, but what can we do, having been brought here under such circumstances. On the Kith of December we were turned out of the Wrexham Workhouse with nothing to cover our nakedness. \Ve suffered so much-from hunger, and our bodies were so benumbed with cold that we were driven to commit this crime. Whatever the damages amount to, we are willing to pay by working if we have the opportunity. We are sorry for our conduct; we know we must suffer for our wickedness, but we hope your Lordship will be as lenient with us as you can. His LORDSHIP said it was with very great pam he proceeded to pass sentence upon them but it was abso- lutely necessary that the unprotected farmers should be protected. Sentenced to seven years' penal servitude. t I NISI PItIlTS. ACTION FOR SLANDER. Elizabeth Jones Vaughan, aged 18, (by Jane Vaughan, her next friend), versus John Jones, farmer, Glanclwyd, Bodfari. Mr. Morgan Lloyd and Mr. Swetenham for the plain- tiff, and Mr. Melntyre and Mr. Ignatius Williams for defendant. Mr. Swetenham opened the pleadings and Mr. Lloyd stated the case. The plaintiff, on her oath, said—I am the daughter of Mr., Vaughan, Victoria Inn. Bodfari. Mr. and Mr., Williams, who keep the Blue Hand Inn, on the Mold and Denbigh road, are my grand parents. On the 22nd of J line last, I was living as a servant with them, at a salary of £ 5 a year, with my clothes. I know John Jones, the defendant. Ho is a middle-aged man. On the 22nd of June he came to the bar of the Blue Hand. I served him with a glass of gin, and as I was taking it to him, he took hold of me rather roughly by the arm, and said he had something to tell me, regarding myself. He wanted to tell it loudly, but I asked him to tell it quietjy, whatever it was. He then said to me in my ear, but loud enough for others to hear—"You have lost your character for ever you have miscarried and thrown your shift into the wood." I cried and told my grandmother. My grandmother and six or seven other men were present when defendant uttered these words. In cross-examina'ion she said she had heard of a shift being found in the wood. William Williams, the grandfather, swore having heard the defendant speak the slander to his grand- daughter, that he had dismissed her from his service in consequence of the talk about her character in the neichbourhood since the night in question. Cross-examined-My wife is unable to walk about. She has bad limbs. She can walk with a stick in the house. Another witness (Thomas Asbury) was called, but he did not hear the slander uttered. He only heard Wm. Williams and his wife quarrelling about it with John Jones. Mr. Melntyre said that in the whole course of his expe- rience he never saw a more trumpery case. Six or seven persons were in the room, but only the girl and her grandfather had heard the words spoken and he maintained that they themselves had made the scandal public and not the defendant. John Jones, defendant, sworn, said-Recollect going to the Blue Hand on the 22nd of June last. I spoke in plaintiff's ear. I asked her to whom the old shift belonged. I never said you have lost your character, &c. Crosi-examined-I called with plaiutiff's mother that night, and told her that I had been charged at the Blue Hand with saying that her daughter had mis- carried. Margaret Jones-I went with my husband and John Jones, defendant, to the Blue Hand, on the 22nd of June. Did not see or hear John Jones say anything to plaintiff. Examined—Saw John Jones go cut of the room to speak to Mrs. Williams. I heard and saw plaintiff crying. Mr. Melntyre addressed the jury, and urged that whatever was said to plaintiff by defendant was said in a whisper. Margaret Jones, an independent witness, had rr -=- .1.- sworn that she heard notning uttereci onensiveiy w plaintiff. If the jury believed that the slander was spoken by defendant, but not loud enough to be heard by the company present, the defendent was entitled to their verdict. Had the grandfather heard the words, was it not natural that he should at once attack the de- fendant for so insnlting hi granddaughter? But he did nothing of the sort. Why, because he only knew of it, most probably, after the girl had cried and told her grandmother. He (the learned counsel) trusted thatjthe jury would clearly see that the action was one merely to obtain costs-that the discharge of the girl was only a sham to plead for special damages. He confidently hoped they would not encourage such trumpery actions, and that they would scout it out of court by their ver- dict. Mr. Morgan Lloyd made a humorous reply, remarking that his learned friend, in want of material for defence, was driven to attack the plaintiff's attorney—he had no defence whatever, -the burden of his song was "it is a trumps r/ action, brought to put money into the attorney's pocket." There could be no truth in saying the action was brought to obtain cost3, inasmuch as plaintiff had said all she required was for the defendant to say- "The words were false; and I am sorry I spoke them." But what were the real merits of the defence? It was maintained that the words were said in an undertone- in a whisper—and they were made public by plaintiff herself. That logic, however, would not bear a common sense view. Had the defendant (being no doubt in some degree under the influence of liquor) said the words loudly, they might have passed off unnoticed, as a jocular remark of a drunken man; but the fact of his having said them in an undertone proved that he spoke earnestly, and meant what he was saying The whisper was more prejudicial to the girl than if the words were hallooed out in the streets of Denbigh. Only one wit- ness had been called for the defence, and she did not even corroborate the evidence of defendant, for she said she neither saw nor heard him speak to plaintiff. There was no pretence to deny defendant had not spoken to plaintiff-therefore her evidence did not help his case. In calling her, he was like the Irishman, who, being charged with beating another, said he could call a hun- dred people to prove they had not seen him do it. (Laughter.) Again defendant confessed having said "who is the owner of the old shift." That was sub- stantially the charge itself-it was very little milder and would the jury for a moment suppose that the words had been invented by the girl and her grand- parents ? It was not at all surprising the grandfather, an old man, did not instantly attack defendant, a strong middle-aged man, being "fresh" with drink, and just in the mood for fighting. He submitted the case for the plaintiff was abundantly proved. The JUDGE summed up, and directed the jury to satisfy themselves upon the following points:—1. Were the words spoken, as alleged, or any part of them, im- puting unchastity to plaintiff. 2. Were they spoken (this was the most material question) in the presence and hearing of any one tiesides the plaintiff (if not the case was not actionable.) 3. Was the plaintiff's dis- charge a real and honest discharge, or a discharge merely to ground this action. The jury retired for a short time and returned with a verdict for plaintiff. Damages, £ 5. The court was adjourned at 5 o'clock, MONDAY. The court was opened at 10 a.m. precisely, at which time a dense crowd of listeners had assembled, including a goodly number of ladies.