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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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be called or, undue advantage. Of course it is not their duty to do so, and they would not even lay the ground where an undue advantage might be taken. This is a very serious Charge, and we are entitled to every protection, and it is not a case where there can be any sparring between Counsel, but the point is that every fact as it exists shall be brought out without any color or any subtractions either in one form or another.

Court: I may tell you Mr. Taylor that I do not know where those witnesses are, but it seams to me that you are quite right in wanting to prevent any communication between parties here who may hear this witness give this evidence and other witnesses who are to be called. While I have no power I believe to order the arrest the witnesses in a case of this kind, but at the same time I have the power to exclude all Chinese from the room except those who are giving the evidence, and the interpreters I can, Mr. Taylor, protect you to that extent, I can clear the room of all Chinese present.

Mr. Taylor: How about the witnesses then?

Court: There would be no Chinese then to hear them. There would be no Chinese present except the witness of the prosecution and the interpreters. I can do that much for you.

Mr. Powell: Then after the witness is examined, your Honor has the right to hold him.

Mr. Powell: What right ?

Mr. Powell: He can bind the witnesses over to appear -

Court: I think it is only fair that there

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

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