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CHARGED OF STEALING TIN AT HAYLE. The following case was heard at the Cornwall Easter Sessions , last week :-
SECOND COURT, Wednesday, April 10. (Before C. B. G, Sawle, Esq.)
JAMES BRYANT, 45, labourer, was charged with stealing two ingots of tin, the property of Williams, Harvey and Co, of the Mellanear smelting works at Hayle, and RICHARD HENRY DANIEL was charged with receiving the same, knowing it to have been stolen.
Mr. Cornish prosecuted; and Mr. Stokes, instructed by Mr. Trythall, defended Daniel. Mr. Cornish stated the case with great minuteness and clearness , and called the following witnesses :—
Mr. Peter Harris deposed - I am the Manager of the Mellanear Smelting Works at Hayle, which are the property of Messrs. Williams, Harvey, and Co. We are in the habit of smelting tin into ingots. We stamp the name of the Mellanear Works on one side, and when we make shipments of tin the sale mark or initial of the consignee in generally put on the other. They are run into various weights, the ingots varying in weight from 7 to 112 lbs each. The ingots produced are of 28 lbs each. On the 20th Dec. we sent out a quantity of tin ingots from the works at Hayle. I weighed out the tin myself , and kept the tally as it was weighed. We sent out that day 444 of the 28 lb. ingots. The total number of ingots sent away was 774, of which 548 bore the letter G. and 226 the letter D. The blocks marked G. were consigned to Gilbert and Co., our agents at Liverpool. These were carted from our works by a man named Honeychurch, to the Cornubia Wharf. Honeychurch is the only carrier we have employed to remove tin from the works to the steamer during the last 12 months. A short time after the tin was sent away we received information that two ingots were missing. We have not heard of any tin bearing the letter G being missed before.
Cross Examined — I can venture to swear that I believe 580 ingots marked with the letter G. were placed in the carts of Honeychurch during the day. We are in the habit of shipping weekly to our ﬁrm in Liverpool ingots marked with the letter G. As a general rule the ingots sent to them hear this letter; but we do not send all the ingots stamped with the letter to them. We send some of the ingots so marked to small consumers in the neighbourhood.
By Mr. Cornish — We have never sold any of these ingots to the prisoner Daniel.
John Honeychurch deposed - I am a carrier at Hayle, and on the 20th December I carted the tin from the Mellanear Smelting Works of Messrs. Williams, Harvey, and Co., to the quay of the Cornubia steamer. I believe I loaded the best part of the ingots of tin myself that day. I had two carts employed, one of which I drove myself, and the other was driven by my son, a boy of 12 or 13 years. I kept the tally of the whole. On the way to the wharf, the carts kept as close together as convenient. I “ tipped" the tin in the usual place on the wharf, near to the steamer. I have not got the tally with me now, and I do not know where it is; I compared my tally with that of Mr. Harris that night or next morning. In consequence of something I heard I also compared them together a week or a fortnight after, and on both occasions they agreed.
Cross-examined - I commenced loading the tin in the morning , and I continued to do so till about six o'clock in the afternoon . The wharf in an open one, and no one in particular was left in charge of the tin.
Richard Bussell deposed — I am a sailor living at Hayle, and during the winter months I work wherever I can get it. In December last, I was working an a porter at the quay of the Cornubia steamer, at Hayle. The prisoner Bryant was also working there. On the 20th we were working until 10 o'clock at night. Bryant was also there helping to load the wheel barrows with tin, while being taken on board the steamer. At six o'clock the mate ordered us to go to tea, as we should have to work late, and we all went except Bryant. We left him on the quay, and on our return in about half an hour we found him there. Other tin belonging to Messrs. Bolitho’s, Messrs. Michell and Co., a large quantity of brocoli and crates, and some rags were also taken on board the steamer, and there were other persons coming on to the quay with these articles during the afternoon. We left about 10 o'clock at night, at which time the steamer had sailed.
Cross examined - All the tin on the wharf was put on board the steamer before she sailed, and there were eight or nine men engaged in removing it on board, but I am the only one of them brought.
John Rosewarne - I am chief mate of the Cornubia steamer. I recollect Thursday the 20th of December. Our cargo on that day consisted of among other things some tin and brocoli. We generally load the tin in the forehold, but when there is a large quantity we place some in both holds. On this occasion the ingots of tin were placed in the forehold, and the barrels of tin in the afterhold. On the top of the tin we placed the crates of brocoli, and the rags of which our cargo mainly consisted, over which we placed some straw. The prisoner want was employed on the wharf that day in different kinds of work, amongst others to assist in removing the tin on board as it was brought. I recollect telling the men to go tea about 6 o'clock, and saw them all leave but Bryant. He did not leave the yard, and I saw him while they were away sitting close to the tin on a box or a barrel. Several men came with brocoli carts while the men were away and during the day.
Cross examined - There is another person named James Bryant in Hayle, whom I have employed, but I am quite sure that he in the man then working in the yard, as I have an entry made at the time in my book to that effect.
John Hill, the second mate of the Cornubia, gave corroborative evidence, and added that it would have been impossible, after the steamer was loaded, for anyone to get to the tin with out its being known. On arriving at Bristol he tallied the ingots of tin marked G.over the side of the steamer in a barge, and found there were only 546 ingots. After discovering that there were two ingots missing, he reported the circumstance to the ﬁrst mate, and made search for them in the steamer and on board the barge, but could not ﬁnd them.
Cross examined - Had overhauled the ingots on board the barge, after counting them over the ship's side, but would not swear that he had counted them after they had been placed on board the barge. They landed some other tin on the quay, and he saw it all turned over, but they could not ﬁnd any ingots amongst it marked G.
Mr Jarrett, inspector of the county constabulary in the Helston district, deposed - On the 18th of March I had occasion to go along with Sergeant Sambell, both of us in plain clothes, to the house of Daniel, who is a watchmaker, residing at Copperhouse. I had some conversation with him, in the course of which I told him who I was, and asked him for his books relating to the purchase and sale of old metal. I then took him into custody for another transaction which he had had with a person at Helston. I asked him to show me his stores, and he denied that he had any stores. I asked him about his back premises. and he accompanied me to the back of his house; and in a shed used as a kind of workshop in the yard he showed me a wheelbarrow, in which I found some old brass, some lead and two ingots of tin. I sent Sambell for a police constable to assist us in removing the wheelbarrow, and Daniels and I went into the sitting room of his house. The prisoner wished to change his clothes, as he was then in his working dress ; and on the arrival of P.C. Williams I placed him in charge of the property in the barrow, and accompanied Daniels up the stairs to change his clothes. After he came down I told him it was immaterial whether he answered any question I put to him or not; but I wished to ask him what account he felt disposed to give relative to the two ingots of tin; and he said that he had bought them from the prisoner Bryant. He said that he had given 7 1/2d. a lb. for them, and next week he was going to sell them to a person named Pascoe , as he had some hills to meet. Pascoe is a dealer in old stores at Helston. In the books which he gave me there are entries of the amounts paid for the articles purchased, the nature of the articles, and the date, but there are no names of persons from whom they are bought. On the 21st of December , I find an entry “ bought brass, 34s. 4 1/2d.,” which is carried out in the £ s. d. columns, £1 14s. 4 1/2d. I have since weighed the tin ingots. They weigh 55 1/4 lbs., which at 7 1/2d. a lb. would be just £1 14s 4 1/2d. There is no entry of tin purchased on that date.
Mr. Harris was re-called and stated that he had no doubt the two ingots produced were Mellanear ingots. At the time the tin was sent to be shipped it was worth 14d. a lb., but it was now worth only 1s. a lb.
P.C. Williams corroborated the evidence of Inspector Jarrett , as did also Sergeant Sambell.
Mr Stokes contended that there was not one particle of evidence against Bryant, which would justify the jury in returning a verdict of guilty of stealing; and that being so, the charge against Daniel must equally fall to the ground. Throughout the case there was nothing on his part of a contradictory or suspicious character; no concealment; the man was found keeping a respectable shop; he acted in the most open manner; gave the police every information, and to all of them he gave the same story. He called Mr. J. H. Edwards, who deposed that he had lived at Hayle for the last 12 years, during 10 of which he had known the prisoner Daniel, and had never known or heard of anything against his character until the present charge. Mr. Oliver had attended to give evidence to the same effect, but he had been obliged to leave to catch the train a few minutes ago as he had to attend a funeral.
The Chairman said that the evidence against Bryant was of the slightest description; in fact there did not appear to be any evidence at all to convict him of the offence, and it would be extremely dangerous for any jury to convict a man of larceny upon such slight grounds. As regarded the other prisoner there was some evidence, but certainly it was not of a very strong character, and he would leave them to decide whether they considered it who sufficient to justify them in ﬁnding Daniel guilty of the offence. He then recapitulated the evidence with great minuteness, and remarked that with regard to the entry in the book under the date of the 21st of December , it appeared that Daniel was a dealer in old metal and he might in the course of his business have bought some brass, but on the other hand there was no entry of the purchase of the two ingots of tin amongst the other items of smaller amounts, which was a rather suspicious circumstance.
The jury, after a few minutes consideration, found both prisoners Not Guilty
The Chairman ordered them to be discharged. As they were leaving the bar the Chairman said 'Now, Daniel, he extremely cautions in future'.
Daniel 'I shall never buy any more tin'.