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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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192 Q Then what did you do? A. Then I saw the whiteman and Chow Wah take the axe away from him.

3 Q And then? A. And then Wing chased Lem How. Then I saw Wing was badly injured, then I went to call a policeman.

4 Q And did you get a policeman? A. Yes.

5 Q And the Policeman took Lem How away? A. Yes.

6 Q. And took Wing away too? A. Yes.

MR. COWAN: That is not leading a bit.

MR. RUSSELL: That is in the City.


7 Q Now Lem How and his brother cam along Shanghai alley, did they? You saw them come along Shanghai Alley? A. Yes.

8 Q From Pender Street from the direction of Pender Street? A. From number 9.

9 Q He came from Pender Street? A. He came back from number nine.

20 Q You say Lem How and his brother coming from Pender Street you say? A. No not Pender, from that direction.

1 Q From the direction of Pender Street? A. Yes.

MR. RUSSELL: That is number 9.

MR. COWAN: Unless these interruptions are stopped I will withdraw from the case.

MR. RUSSELL: Well, I don’t, if your Worship pleases, cease interrupting if the counsel for the defence will not allow the witnesses to give his evidence so that it can be taken on the notes, and no amount of talking on Mr. Cowan’s part or any person else’s part will force this investigation in a wrong direction.

COURT: I am not going to allow anything to go in the wrong direction, but it makes it doubly hard for me where you are interrupting the English that the Chinaman is using. Now I have been used to Chinamen for many years and I get a very good idea of what he means.

2 Q Now then Lem How and his brother were going south on Shanghai alley when you saw them first?

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

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