POLICE COURT, LAWRENCE. (Before Messrs J. Thompson and T. Pijling, J's.P.) Saturday, 10th July, 1897. INSUFFICIENT MEANS OF SUPPORT. Police v. Martha Smeaton. Mr Dalziell for accused. Sergeant M'Kay conducted the prosecution. This case had been adjourned from the previous day for production of evidence in support of accused' 3 statements as to hei means of livelihood. S-Tgeant M'Kay re-called Martha Smeaton, who, ia cross-examination, stated that she made thePunderclotbing and socks of her sister's boy. She had made him two pairs of socks and two shirts in the two months he had I been living with her. The boy sometimes went down to Ah Lun's hut. She had received a sentence of two months' hard labor for vagrancy. That waa 14 years ago. i
Mr DdlzieJl, lor ihe defence, called Joe Lam, cl"rk in th« Chinese store, who, through an interpreter, deposed to giving accused washing. Had paid her from 2jto2s Cd & week. Had sometimes paid her 2^ 6d for one week, and then sometimes* a fortnight would elapse before he gave her any more money. He had never stopped in accused's house.
J. Chow Vie deposed that accused sometimes washed his clothes for him. Sometimes gave the accused Is Gd for a week's washing, but sometimes he washedjor himself. Sometimes he gave her '2s for a week's washing. That was when he had not time to do his washing himself. She sometimes did not wash for him for two weeks or more.
Shing Shang Loo, who described himself as a doctor and boarding-housekeeper, residing at the Chinese Camp, deposed giving accused sheets, blankets, and other thiogs for washing. Sometimes gave her ss sometimes Cs every week. Kept a cook-shop and lodginghouse. The man living with him was too old to clean out his house. Had three rooms aud five beds. Gave accused sometimes 6 pieces to wash.
Ah Vow, cookshop keeper, Chinese Camp, having been sworn on a lighted match, said he gave accused washing, sometimes so much one week and sometimes so much another week. He sometimes a&ve her Is and sometimes 2s for a week's washing.
Chum Lum, miner, Chinese Camp, the father of the mphew of accused, paid accused 7s 6d for the keep of his son. Paid her this every Monday. He bought clothes for his son.
Sergeant M*Kay called as rebutting evidence, Clara Ann Thomas, residing at the Chinese Camp, who deposed that accused had been living there for 15 months. Had never seen accused doing any other washing except her own. Accused had asked witness to do washing for 4s a day and her food. Accused had also got Mrs Fordtll to do her washing. Shing Shang Loo had an old man doing his washing. Accused had done somu washing about six months ago for Shing Shang Loo, but had not seen her doing any since. Chow Vie did his washing himself and witness could see him at work, as his yard was quite close to hers. He also borrowed witness's tubs. Witness did Mong Que's washing not accused. Witness also washed for Mrs Ah Ying. Accused did not. Accused's house was frequented by a number of young men, Europeans, late at night. Had slept in accused's house, and had seen a Chinaman coming out of accused's room. Witness was not on friendly terms with accused. Had laid an information against accused some time ago but she had withdrawn the charge, paying all the costs, because of her old acquaintance with accused. The Chinamen gave 3s 6d for the washing of a whole suit. It »vas not every day a Chinaman got his washing done. Flannels, shirts, and pants were charged for at the rate of 4d each, but a white shirt was worth 6d.
This closed the evidence.
The Bench decided that they could not convict accused as it had not been proved that she had insufficient means of support. They had weighed the evidence of the Chinese witnesses very carefully and had been forced to the conclusion that a certain amount of credibility should be attached to it. The police had made oat a very strong case, but the evidence of the father of the boy that he gave accused 7s 6d a week and the other men could not be entirely disbelieved. The witness Thomas, who had given rebutting evidence, had admitted that her feelings towards the accused had been the reverse of friendly. The accused would be discharged.
Tuapeka Times, Volume XXVIV, Issue 4463, 14 July 1897, Page 3