1866/16 R. vs. Ah Gah, criminal assault against a 5 year old
As part of the Chinese Historical Wrongs Legacy Initiative, the BC Archives has digitized a selection of documents related to criminal prosecutions against the Chinese community from 1866 to 1914, found in GR-0419. These are mainly records created as part of the preliminary hearing held before a judge in order to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. There are often lengthy witness statements, and cross examinations by both prosecution and defense lawyers. The eventual verdict is sometimes recorded on the outside of the docket. They offer a fascinating glimpse into 19th and early 20th century criminal activity around the province, and ways in which the Chinese community was stereotyped. The records offered for transcription here are a small selection; for additional digitized material from GR-0419 click here.
*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum. Some materials may contain content that is racist, sexist or otherwise offensive. In addition, GR-0419 records deal with subjects such as assault, murder and abuse, which may upset some readers. The Royal BC Museum is only the custodian of archival materials; the content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Royal BC Museum.
*All transcriptions are provided by volunteers, and the accuracy of the transcriptions is not guaranteed. Please be sure to verify the information by viewing the image record, or visiting the BC Archives in person.
Police Court 25th July 1866
Jeremiah McCarthy being duly sworn on oath deposeth and saith:
Yesterday the mother of the child, Mary Gowian, complained that a Chinaman had assaulted her, Mary Gowian. I arrested the prisoner Ah Gah and in his presence the child told me, he Ah Gah had made her [hurt?]. after I arrested the prisoner he said "I want to get my hat" and asked me to let go his tail and he would come quickly or words to that effect.
(signed) J. McCarthy
BC Archives GR-0419 Box 5 File 1866/16 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Attorney General documents.