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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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

A.D. MacIntyre appeared for the Defendant.

Ah Tom (Chinaman)

Charged with :- For that he at the City of Kamloops in the County of Yale, on the 8th day of February inst[?] did unlawfully keep a disorderly house, TO WIT, an Opium Joint, at 262, Main Street in the City of Kamloops aforesaid, contrary to the form of the Statute in such case made and provided.

GEORGE ROTHNIE, sworn saith :-

On the 8th of the present month I obtained an order from His Worship Mayor J.T. Robinson to search the house occupied by Ah Tom, in Main Street Kamloops for the purpose of searching for devices or apparatus for preparing for the smoking Opium, or for the talking of opium.

I visited this house in the company with Sergeant Notley and Constable McDonald and found the Defendant Ah Tom lying on a bench there and smoking the pipe produced, which is a pipe for smoking opium. He was in the act of smoking it.

I further searched and found the receptacles produced all of which contained opium, some has been prepared and some has not. (Receptacles container opium marked Exhibit “A”) (The pipe and smoking paraphernalia is marked Exhibit B)

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

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