Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A stabbing case: 1863


(From NZ Herald, 3 December 1863.)

John Hayes was then placed at the bar charged with stabbing Nathaniel Sadlier in the right hip, on the 12th October last, at the Whau Blockhouse.

Prisoner pleaded not guilty. Mr. Merriman withdrew the charge of intent to murder.

Nathaniel Sadlier, deposed:- On the 12th October last, I was sergeant in charge at the Whau Blockhouse. Prisoner belongs to the same regiment, and was also there. At noon that day I left the blockhouse in company with the prisoner and went to the public house, about a mile and three quarters distant. We [remained?] there about a quarter off six hour, and then went to the Whau Store, where prisoner bought goods to the amount of 15s 6d. The store is on the town side of the public house. We then went back to the public house, and remained there about 2 hours and a half. I was out on leave. Prisoner then asked me to go back to the blockhouse, when I replied that I had leave, but he might go, and take the things himself. About 8 o’clock that night he started for the blockhouse, and took the things in a bag on his shoulder. I accompanied him about 30 or 40 yards towards the blockhouse, when he flung the bag off his shoulder. I ordered him to take the bag up again and he refused, stating that he wanted to go back to the public house. I told him he should not go, but he insisted on it, and I used sufficient force to prevent him, but no more. Prisoner in the tussle drew his bayonet and stabbed me. Henry Denyer came up immediately afterwards, when I returned to the hotel, and was examined by Dr. Aitkin. The wound he found was the one inflicted by prisoner. I was 21 days confined to hospital.

Cross-examined by prisoner: You asked me several times to go home with you, and I also kicked you after I thought I had received my death wound. I pulled you about to try to get you home. I was sober that day; I had four or five half glasses and one whole glass in four hours; it was ardent spirits. You were under the influence of liquor. I had verbal leave from the officer that day. We had an argument about drill in the public house; but you did not use insulting language. You asked me first to go back to the public house.

Henry Denyer, deposed:- On the 12th October last I had charge of the Whau Hotel. I saw the last witness and prisoner there that day, and upon their leaving prisoner was carrying a bag. Sadlier called out to me to bring him two bottles of brandy which he had left on the counter. Sadlier then came back and prisoner followed. Prosecutor told prisoner not to come, but he threw down the bag and insisted on coming. Sadlier took hold of him and pushed him on and said he should not return. Sadlier used no unnecessary violence. Prisoner then drew his bayonet and stabbed him in the hip. When I saw the stab I ran out and took both bayonets away from them. I took Sadlier’s out of his scabbard. I then took Sadlier and laid him on the counter, when Dr Aitkin came and examined him. The wound that the doctor examined was the same one the prisoner inflicted. They were neither of them drunk.
Cross-examined by prisoner:- I do not know how many times you asked Sadlier to go home. I think once or twice. I did not see him strike you before he was stabbed. Sadlier had one glass and 3 half glasses that day. I was sober.

Dr. Thomas Aitkin [sic], deposed:- I am a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. On the 12th October last I went to the Whau Hotel about 6pm. I examined Sadlier and found a punctured wound on the right hip, evidently caused by a bayonet. I did not probe it, as it had just recently stopped bleeding. Next morning I advised his removal to the hospital. I do not know whether he had bled much. The instrument had glanced off through coming in contact with the hip bone.

Dr. John Wood, examined:- I am Licentiate of the Royal College of Edinburgh. I was in charge of the Colonial Hospital when prosecutor was brought in. He had received a wound just above the hip joint, which was about 2 inches in depth. He was in hospital more than a week.

The prosecutor Sadlier then stepped forward and spoke to the previous good conduct of the prisoner. Prisoner said that he never knew anything about committing the deed, but if he did it, it was not with intent; he had never had a word with anyone in his life before.

His Honor having summed up, the jury brought up a verdict of “Guilty of unlawful wounding”. Sentence deferred until 3 December, Thursday morning at Supreme Court.

(Hayes was duly sentenced to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a period of 12 calendar months.)

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