Corpun file 23512
Wanganui Herald, 13 November 1900, p.3
A Warning to Juvenile Offenders.
Click to enlarge
A lad, 15 years of age, was charged at the Police Court this
afternoon, before Mr. C. C. Kettle, S.M., with stealing on the
7th November a silver lever watch, a gold chain, a dog's tooth, a
silver sovereign case, a watch key, two Contingent medals, a
pocket knife, a purse, and one coat and vest, together the value
of £10, the property of Lynn McKelvie.
Mr. Treadwell appeared for the accused, who pleaded not guilty.
Sergeant Dwyer conducted the prosecution, and called McKelvie,
one of the boarders at the Collegiate School, who stated that
just previous to playing cricket he took his coat and vest off,
and laid them on the ground. In his pockets were the articles
mentioned. The watch and chain could not possibly come out of the
waistcoat unless it was removed, as the chain was fastened to a
buttonhole. Witness, after playing cricket, went in to tea,
forgetting about his coat. When he afterwards went to look for
it, it was missing.
Constable Ward stated that the theft of the articles was reported
to him the day after the things were stolen. He saw accused, who
at first denied that he knew anything about the things, but
subsequently showed him the coat and vest under a tree, where he
said he had placed them. The watch was missing, and accused, in
reply to witness, said he would show him where it was; he had
hidden it in his father's stable.
The accused stated that when returning from his father's paddock
he crossed through the College Ground, where he saw a coat near
the edge of the long grass. He looked round, but, seeing no one
about, he put it under a tree for safety. He never touched the
pockets of the clothes, and did not notice there was a chain. A
short distance away he picked up a watch, and thinking it did not
belong to the clothes, he took it home and put it in the stable,
in the hope that a reward would be offered for it. He did not
tell his father and mother about it, because they would have made
him take it to the police. Mr. Treadwell submitted that there was
a doubt about the matter, and if the boy's evidence was true
there was no theft.
The Magistrate said he was always anxious to give a person who
was charged with an offence the benefit of a doubt, but in the
present case he had no doubt whatever that the accused knew he
was acting dishonestly when he took the watch and hid it. It was
always a difficulty to know what to do with juvenile offenders,
and in the past the Court had been very lenient. He, however,
thought that the time had come that some more drastic measures
should be taken to deter young people from committing crime. He
admitted that the lad had been subjected to a great deal of
temptation. The sentence of the Court was that the boy should
receive six strokes of the birch rod.
About this website
Search this site
Country files: Judicial CP in New Zealand
Archive up to 1975: Corporal punishment in New Zealand