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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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

County of Yale

Ah Tom stands charged before the undersigned J.T. Robinson Esq., one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the County aforesaid, this twelfth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twelve for that the said Ah Tom on the eighth day of February A.D. 1912 at the city of Kamloops in the County aforeseaid did unlawfully keep a disorderly house to wit an opium joint at 262 Main Street in the City of Kamloops aforesaid.

Usual warning is here read to the accused who states that :-

“I am not guilty, I don’t keep an opium joint, I smoke opium myself. I only keep opium for myself. The white man came to me with a letter from a Chinese friend of mine in Calgary. It has to do with Chinese Freemasonry. No one was smoking opium the day the Chief came in except myself, the white man had not been smoking any.

[Sgd] Ah Tom

TAKEN before me, at the City of Kamloops, the day and year first above mentioned.

(Sgd) J. T. Robinson, J. P

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

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