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1912/24 Rex vs. Ah Tom – keeping a disorderly house

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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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JOHN LEONARD NOTLEY, sworn saith :-

On the 8th instant I accompanied the Chief to 262 Main Street. Accused Ah Tom was lying on a bench smoking opium. I saw the Chief take a pipe off him and the remainder of the things produced were alongside him. There was a white man there, he appeared in a dazed condition. I arrested the white man by the chief’s instructions. I saw the tins produced at 262 Main Street, they contained opium, I know opium. The white man did not give any satisfactory answer at all to my questions.

I have seen Ah Tom at that house. I saw him there in the fall when I was collecting Road Tax. His store is shut up, he does not do any business there that I know of. There were some other chinamen in another part of the building.

I have seen white men go there, as I have been watching the place for some time.

BC Archives GR-0419 Box 155 File 1912/24 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Attorney General documents.

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