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The Charge of Manslaughter, Folkestone Express, 9 August 1879, page unknown, photocopied from Microfilm from Folkestone Library, Folkestone, Kent, United Kingdom, October 1999 by Janice Brooker, transcribed 16 October 2002 by Tracy Bretz.Photocopy in file.





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On Friday, Thomas Anthony Hall was charged before the borough magistrates with causing the death of William Hall.The evidence taken was the same as that given at the Coronerís enquiry, and which we re-ported last week, and when the depositions had been completed, an application was made on behalf of Mr. Mowll for an ad-journment until Saturday for the cross-examination of the witnesses.


On Saturday the prisoner was again brought up before the Mayor, Alderman Caister, General Cannon, J. Clark Esq., and W. J. Jeaffresen, Esq.


William Hall, son of the deceased, in reply to Mr. Mowll said he saw his father at tea time, and told him he had no business to say what he had done.Deceased had been drinking all day, and was worse for drink at tea time than he was in the middle of the day.


William Spearpoint said when deceased and the prisoner made up their quarrel at the Royal George they called for some more beer.Deceased was intoxicated at that time.Witness saw him again that day, but not to speak to.


Brett Mercer said he did not think deceased head hit the pavement when he fell.


Dr. Bateman said the man being drunk all day undoubtedly accelerated his death.Death in his case might have been caused by excitement, but in his opinion it was either the blow or the fall.


Mr. Mowll then addressed the magistates, urging that if they analysed the evidence carefully and looked at all the circumstances of the case, they would come to the con-clusion that there really ought to have been no committal at all.No doubt the law was very jealous indeed with regard to human life, but if they looked at the evidence they would see that there was nothing to show that the blow which caused the death of the deceased was struck by the prisoner.There was no evidence that deceased was struck on the temple, and it was only an inference that when he was struck he fell and in fall-ing struck his head on the pavement.But the evidence did not justify even that infer-ence.He contended that there was not a particle of evidence to justify a committal for manslaughter.Dr. Bateman spoke of several external bruises and marks on the body, and the inference was that the deceased, being in a state of drunkenness all day, had been falling about and hurt himself.He also dealt with the case on the supposition that death had not occurred and that the prisoner had been summoned before the bench for an assault.Would they, he asked, have convicted him, taking into the consideration the gross provocation he had received ?†† The bench might consider that as the prisoner was really committed for trial on the coronerís warrant, it would make no difference to him if he was also committed by the bench ; but if the bench decided that there was not a clear case against the prisoner, and dismissed him, his acquittal at the assizes would follow as a matter of course.


The magistrates, however, after a short consultation, considered there was a prima facie case against the prisoner, and decided to commit him.


Bail was accepted, prisoner in ₤50, and two sureties (Mr. W. Harrison Marsh, and Mr. George Prebble) in ₤25 each.