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1914/195 Rex vs. Lem How – attempted murder

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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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

MR. COWAN: I won’t have his…

COURT: Whereabouts is that place?

MR. RUSSELL: Ask him where the mill is? Interpreter; he said it is across the sea. My expressions much be very exact. These people are not very much educated, and I just give the literal translation. He just says “sea” your worship. My interpretation is, I just give the literal translation.

COURT: The sea means the water there? Interpreter: Yes

9 Q. Now what water do you mean? A. I don’t know what the name of the sea, or the name of the water.

10 Q. Did you have to take the ferry boat to get to the Shingle mill? A. Yes I have to take the ferryboat, and then I got to take a car.

1 Q. Then the shingle mill is in North Vancouver? A. I don’t know what the name of the place is?

2 Q What tram did you take when you get over to North Vancouver? A. A blue labelled car. Interpreter: A blue car; that is the literal translation.

3 Q How far did you have to go on the car? A. About ten minutes. Ten minutes, not about.

4 Q In which direction? A. I cannot tell direction.

5 Q Is it up hill or along the water? Does the t ram go up hill or along the water? A. No it just goes along the plain.

6 Q What is your work in the shingle mill? A. I just gather the shingles.

7 Q What do you mean by gathering the shingles? A. To send them for shipment, to ship them out.

8 Q How do you do it? A. After the shingles, there is big logs cut into thin pieces, and we just gather it and tie it up.

9 Q Now you were in 540 Shanghai alley, were you? A. Yes, I was inside 540 store and eating food.

20 Q What were you doing there? A. I bought food to eat.

BC Archives GR-0419 Box 193 File 1914/195 / BRITISH COLUMBIA. ATTORNEY GENERAL. / Attorney General documents.

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