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Judicial CP - May 1909

Corpun file 23455

Evening Post, Wellington, 25 May 1909, p.7

Unusual Cases.

Prisoners for Sentence.

Criminal Assault and Bigamy.

Click to enlarge

In the case of each of the two prisoners who came before Mr. Justice Cooper for sentence this morning, there were exceedingly peculiar circumstances, which drew from his Honour some interesting comment.

Criminal Assault by a Boy.

The first prisoner was a mere boy, pale-faced and slim. His name was Dennis Richard Dane, and his age was given as 14 years. The offence, to which he had pleaded guilty, was that of rape on a little girl of six. He had nothing to say on his own behalf, and there was no counsel to represent him.

His Honour said the prisoner had committed the full offence under such circumstances that, if he had been of mature years, the only appropriate punishment would have been flogging and a long term of imprisonment. It was a case attended by severe injuries to the child.

A Criminal Taint.

"The police report," continued the Judge, "shows that the prisoner belongs to a family in which a criminal taint exists. Perhaps the boy cannot help himself. I find that of the family one has already been sentenced to two years' imprisonment for attempted carnal knowledge, another is of an exceedingly bad character, and another has been convicted of theft. The whole family seem to have no sense of right or wrong, mentally or morally. This boy cannot either read or write. One cannot help feeling a certain amount of pity for him. Yet it is essential in the public interest that he should be confined for a long period somewhere.

What Punishment?

"But where? There is no place in gaol for a lad of this description. To send him to an industrial school might result in the contamination of other boys, though apparently in these industrial schools the boys are really all of a criminal tendency. Is that so, Mr. Bell?"

Mr. W.H.D. Bell: I don't know, your Honour.

The Probation Officer: Parts of the industrial schools are kept apart for those boys, your Honour.

His Honour resumed: "He must either go to gaol or to an industrial school. I shall have to take time to consider the case. I want to be quite sure. I think the boy should be whipped, soundly whipped, and then sent to an industrial school for a long period. Let him be brought before me to-morrow morning. In the meantime let enquiries be made as to what means the industrial schools have of dealing with such boys. A bad, criminal boy, guilty of such an abominable crime must not be allowed to contaminate other boys in an industrial school who are not so bad as he is."

The boy Dane was accordingly remanded until to-morrow morning.


Corpun file 23456

Evening Post, Wellington, 28 May 1909, p.8

A Young Criminal.

Ordered to be Whipped.

His Honour's Remarks.

Click to enlarge

Dennis Richard Dane, the fourteen-year-old boy, who came up before Mr. Justice Cooper on Tuesday last for sentence on a crime of rape, and was remanded for further enquiries, appeared before his Honour this morning, and received sentence.

His Honour observed that he had been informed by the Education Department, and also by Mr. Millington, gaoler, that the Burnham Industrial School was an institution to which he could commit a youth such as the prisoner, as there was proper provision for the classification of inmates.

"I propose to sentence the prisoner to one month's imprisonment in the Wellington Gaol," continued the judge, "and to order him to be whipped. At the expiration of his sentence I shall order him to be sent to the Burnham Industrial School." Having attended to the formalities in connection with the age and religion of the prisoner, his Honour continued: - "Your case is very bad," he said, "an exceedingly proper case in which you should be whipped. If may arouse in you some sense of the flagrancy of the crime you have committed. It is quite clear you cannot be allowed at large. It is a terrible thing to see a boy in your position. It may not be entirely your own fault, as I have said before, for you can neither read nor write, and other members of your family have been guilty of criminal acts. Under those circumstances you find yourself in the position in which you are now placed.

"Still," continued his Honour, "the interests of the State require that you should be punished for this offence. I think the corporal punishment of whipping is certainly appropriate to the act you have committed. The interests of the community require that you should be kept under strict supervision for a long period."

His Honour then passed sentence on the prisoner of one month's imprisonment in the Wellington Gaol, with a direction that he should be kept apart from the other prisoners, and that he should be whipped with 10 strokes. At the termination of his sentence the prisoner would be committed to the Burnham Industrial School.

"You will remain there until you are at least 21 years of age," were the judge's last words to the prisoner.

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