Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Not Guilty
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103. CHARLES FEARY was indicted for feloniously assaulting James Sturgeon , in the King's highway, on the 26th of December , putting him in fear, and feloniously taking from his person and against his will, two watch keys, value 10 s. 6 d. a seal, value 1 s. and a watch ribbon, value 1 d. his property .
JAMES STURGEON . I am a shipwright , I live in Union-street, Poplar. On the 26th of December, between four and five o'clock in the evening, I was crossing the street from the iron gates, Finsbury-square in company with Mr. Brown, I was met and knocked down in Wilson-street , and at the time I was falling I felt a grappling at my watch, my watch was in my fob; I had a ribbon, two seals, and a key to it hanging outside.
Q. What do you mean by grappling - A He made a snatch at it, he did not get my watch, but the two keys, the seal, and the ribbon. When I was down I holloaed to my friend that I had lost my watch, and before I got up to my friend he had been knocked down, and as I was getting up I saw the persons go away.
Q. In what manner did they go away - A. I cannot say; they did not run away. I believe the prisoner to be the person that knocked me down.
Q. You have not got any of your things back again - A. No.
Q. What were the keys made of - A. One gold key.
Q. When did you see the prisoner again - A. In about ten minutes afterwards; my friend was along with me. I said nothing to the prisoner because my friend to come along, he knew him.
Q. When was he apprehended upon this charge - A. The same evening, at the White Hart, Christopher-street, Mr. Brown took me there.
Mr. Walford. Was it light or dark when this took place - A. It was dusk, just getting dark, I cannot say that I was perfectly sober, I might have had two or three glasses of rum, I cannot saw how much I drank. I fetched Mr. Armstrong the officer, and Mr. Brown gave charge of the prisoner at the White Hart.
Q. Did not the prisoner wait with Brown while you went for the officer - A. Yes.
COURT. Could the prisoner have got away from the White Hart - A. He might if he chose, there was nobody there to hinder him.
ROBERT BROWN. I am a publican; I keep the Horse and Leaping Bar, Whitechapel.
Q. Do you know the first witness Sturgeon - A. Yes. He was with me on the day this happened from nine o'clock in the morning until eight in the evening, and as were going home, crossing Finsbury-square into Wilson-street, Mr. Sturgeon, my friend, and I crossed the road into the foot path, Mr. Sturgeon was knocked down.
Q. Did you see him knocked down - A. I did not. I saw him when he was knocked down.
Q. Did you see who was with him - A. I saw no more with him but the prisoner and myself, and one or two with the prisoner.
Q. What was the prisoner doing - A. The prisoner was coming across the street.
Q. You saw the prisoner before the blow was struck - A. Yes, I saw him come up the street.
Q. Where did you see the prisoner after you saw Sturgeon on the ground - A. I saw the prisoner after that, he went to make away from us and lounged me in the mud. I heard Sturgeon say he had lost his watch, when I saw him upon the ground.
Q. Did you observe the persons of the other men - A. No, otherwise than he was a tallish man, with a whitish coat, and a bundle under his arm.
Q. Was the prisoner doing any thing about the person of the prosecutor at the time when you saw the prosecutor down - A. No, he was making away from him and lounged me in the mud.
Q. Then you did not see the prisoner or any other person take from the prosecutor his watch - A. No, I did not see it done.
Q. You say he pushed you down - A. Yes, he was running across the road, he ran against me and pushed me down, he was running to make off.
Q. What passed between you and him - A. Not a word; I held by him and got the watch ribbon out of his hand; I thought at that time he had got the watch and all.
Q. What, had he the ribbon in his hand, did you take it from him - A. Yes, I did not get the seal and the keys; he held the ribbon as fast as he could, but I got it out of his hand.
Q. Did you say any thing to him - A. No, I had no discourse at all with him; when I was pushed down and had got hold of the ribbon, I got up again and went to cross the kenel, he fetched me a blow and knocked me against the fence. I saw the prisoner in about an hour and a half afterwards in the White Hart public-house, the corner of Christopher-street, Sturgeon was with me, I said, when I went in, that is the man, I pointed him out, and had him apprehended there.
Q. What kind of a night was it - A. It was between four and five, rather a darkish evening.
Q. Then you could not distinguish his features very well - A. Yes, I could, and he knew me afterwards.
Q. In what condition was Sturgeon with respect to sobriety - A. He was a little matter in liquor, and I was the same, I might have drank four glasses of spirits in the course of the day.
Mr. Walford. Who was the person that charged the prisoner with having committed the robbery - A. I went to Mr. Armstrong.
Q. Who called the beadle - A. I called no beadle, nor the prosecutor to my knowledge. I went to the public-house, and charged the prisoner with having
Q. Will you swear that you was not very drunk - A. Yes.
Q. Did you ever hear of such a thing as a forty pound reward - A. No, not to my knowledge, I expect no share of any such thing.
Q. Where are the stables that you attend - A. No. 30, in Wilson-street.
Q. Did you hear any thing of the disturbance there was on the evening of the 26th of December - A. Yes, I was in my room, I ran out of the stable door, I saw Mr. Brown was shoved down in the road and when he was getting up he was knocked down again by the pales as he was crossing the kennel; when Mr. Brown got up he gave me a ribbon and told me to keep it untill he saw me again. This is the ribbon, I have had it ever since. I saw the prisoner, he was the person that shoved Mr. Brown down the first time and struck him afterwards; I saw that myself.
Mr. Walford. Was Mr. Brown sober, or how - A. He appeared perfectly sober and Sturgeon the same.
Q. to prosecutor. Look at that piece of ribbon, have you seen it since - A. Never till this time, the colour of the ribbon that I lost was purple, I cannot distinguish the colour by this light, mine was a purple ribbon and this appears to be one.
JOHN ARMSTRONG . Q. You are the officer that was sent upon this occasion - A. I went that night with my son, the prosecutor and Mr. Brown to take charge of the prisoner, he was taken to the office and this charge was exhibited against him before Sir William Parsons and at that time Sir William Parsons did think the prosecutor a little in liquor, and told him so; that was the same night, and I thought myself he had been taking a little more than otherwise he might have done being Christmas time; Mr. Brown appeared to have his recollection about him; the prisoner was sitting in the tap room, he very readily went with me to the office and some of the friends of Mr. Brown did think the seal and keys were in the coachman's hands, and that is the reason I did not search this man.
Prisoner's Defence. I am not guilty of any thing of the kind, I never had it in my heart.
JAMES MESSING . Q. Do you recollect being in Finsbury-square the day after Christmas day - A. About five o'clock in the evening I was coming by Wilson-street, I saw a mob assembled there, I saw the prisoner and Mr. Brown; at the time I came up Mr. Brown made use of some improper language which irratated the prisoner very much; I did not hear it. I saw the prisoner strike Mr. Brown; Mr. Brown stood in a posture that he appeared to be very much intoxicated.
Q. When the prisoner struck Mr. Brown did Mr. Brown do any thing to the prisoner - A. No, Mr. Brown called to the beadle and gave charge for an assault upon him. I saw Sturgeon there, he said not a word, the beadle walked away; I was not there when Sturgeon was knocked down. The whole of the party are entire strangers to me.
Q. Do you recollect being in Wilson-street on the evening after Christmas day - A. Yes, about five o'clock in the afternoon, I saw Mr. Brown's friend strike the prisoner on the face, and then the prisoner knocked Mr. Brown's friend down, he after that knocked Mr. Brown down, Mr. Brown called him a thief and said he was robbing him daily and hourly.
Q. What did Brown do upon being knocked down by the prisoner - A. I did not see him do any thing in striking the prisoner.
Q. Did any body call the beadle - A. Yes, I believe it was Mr. Brown, he asked him to take charge of the prisoner for breeding a mob.
Court. Did you hear him say for what - A. I did not hear him say particular, he seemed very forward in liquor, and Mr. Brown's friend appeared very much in liquor indeed.
Q. Had you known any of these parties before - A. I have seen Mr. Brown before, but never spoke to him. I never saw the prisoner before to my knowledge.
The prisoner called ten witnesses, who gave him a good character.
NOT GUILTY .
First Middlesex jury, before Mr. Justice Chambre.