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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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121 Q. Is that a gambling house too? A. Yes.

2 Q. You worked there sometime? A. No.

3 Q. You swear that you have never worked in a gambling joint in 540? A. Yes I can swear to that.

MR. COWAN: I want the witness to realize that I intent to come back on this. I want him to realize that our information is that he works in this gambling joint, 540 Shanghai Alley at ten dollars a week, and that he doesn’t work in a shingle mill.

COURT: Just tell him that all the answers he gives are bound by the oath that he took to tell the truth, and if a man does not tell the truth, whether he is a whiteman, a Hindoo or whatever he is, he is liable to be prosecuted for not telling the truth.

MR. RUSSELL: Now after all that has been, My Friend of course is not permitted in cross-examination – that man is not being tried for his method of life, and it is not for my friend to throw out a bluff or try to frighten him.

COURT: I suppose it is only just a warning, because the whole point that you have brought this man to identify a certain man. The question as I understand Mr. Cowan’s cross-examination is as to whether this man’s word is reliable at all. If it is unreliable then it would be a question for me to consider whether he is reliable is the other.

MR. RUSSELL: Your Worship will not enquire into that matter on a preliminary hearing.

124. Q. Now will you now swear that you don’t work and never did work in a gambling house on Shanghis Alley, 540?

MR. RUSSELL: You have got to limit the time somewhat, within a month previous to the 13th?

MR. COWAN: My Friend as Crown Prosecutor is remarkable. COURT: Just ask did he ever work there then or sometime?

5 Q. Did you ever work in Shanghai Alley? A. No.

COURT: In, what is the number of the place. Did you ever work at 540 Shanghai Alley? A. No.

MR. RUSSELL: Now would Your Worship ask him is 540 a gambling

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

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