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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*Please note that archival source materials are original historical documents that have not been censored, reviewed or otherwise altered by the Royal BC Museum.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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give evidence of some conversation he had with his own client, a privileged communication and should not be admitted.

COURT: It is privileged, but if Counsel chooses to waive that privilege, I don’t know that I can interfere Mr. Russell.

MR. RUSSELL: His client does not waive it. I am here appearing as representing the Complainant and he does not waive the right which he has. His Counsel retains his confidence.

WITNESS: I appeared for Lem How and both cases were adjourned for a week; that is possibly the way I should put it. I then went down to Canton street with JimLung to go near the scene of the fight, and I made certain measurements and saw where the fight had taken place and as I was getting through, the Informant came; he had a cut across the nose. The Accused was present and two or three other Chinamen gathered round. I don’t know their names, I don’t see them here, and I had a talk with the Informant. I asked him how he got his nose cut.

MR. RUSSELL: Objected to.

WITNESS: He said he didn’t know, he thought it was done either with a finger nail or a stick during a fight. I asked him if he was fighting with the Accused, he said “No” “The accused” pointing to the store where the accused’s brother was wounded “was there and I was up here” a distance of thirty or forty feet further up the street. I asked him if he had any fight with the Accused’s brother. The deceased man. He said “No, he was over there and I was up here and everybody was fighting and I think either the stick hit me on the nose or somebody hit me with a finger nail”.

230 Q Did you ask him whether the Accused had a hatchet, a weapon?

MR. RUSSELL: Objected to. That is certainly a leading question.

COURT: He says the mark on his nose was caused in a certain

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

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