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1904-10 Rex vs. Wong On and Wong Gow – murder (at the Chinese theatre)

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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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. 

BC Archives G-0419

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Mr. Powell: We have no authority to put them in a room.

Mr. Taylor: The Court has power to arrest them if it likes.

Mr. Powell: Not this Court.

Court: I do not think I have any power to arrest them unless they refuse to come as witness when they are subpoenaed.

Mr. Powell: A Court can hold a witness any time.

Mr. Moresby: Only in a case where they intend to leave the Province.

Mr. Powell: We propose to proceed with the case. We have no witnesses in court except one, and we are now ready to go on with the case.

Mr. Taylor: I ask that all the witnesses should remain in one room or some place where they cannot communicate one with the other after giving testimony, or so that they cannot hear the testimony of the preceeding witnesses.

Mr. Powell: I have already told you there are no witnesses of mine in the Court room.

Mr. Taylor: He cannot control the witnesses. That this witness says is heard by a number of them, and they may communicate that testimony to other witnesses as they are called of course. This is one of the evils of this kind of testimony, and of a private prosecution in matters of this kind. The Crown - and I do not think my learned friend can occupy any higher position - their duty is to bring out all facts both for and against, with an absolute fairness in every respect. The crown would never seek to gain any advantage of a character which might

BC Archives GR-0419 Box 100 File 1904/10 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Attorney General documents.

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