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3 December, 2008
 "Shriek, Memory"
by Eric O. Costello
(A full-length trial transcript of a Spontoon Island court case in 1937
regarding capital crimes committed in a pirate raid of 1912.)
(With a Coda in the form of notes by an attorney present at the trial.)

“Shriek, Memory”
by E.O. Costello


Presiding Magistrate Hugh de Pathe:  This proceeding will come to order.  It is 9.05 on the morning…the morning of December 11, 1937.  Appearances were submitted in writing. I am also in receipt of the stipulations from the Attorney General’s Office and Defence Counsel, and these will be entered into the record.  It is my understanding that the parties have stipulated as to a waiver of the opening statements, is this correct?

State Counsel K’aata:  Yes, Your Honour.

Defence Counsel Karoksdottir:  We have, Your Honour.

State Counsel:  In light of the desire to expedite the proceedings, Your Honour, the People would propose to begin to call its witnesses.

Defence:  No objection, Your Honour

Magistrate:  I see.  Very well.  Call your first witness, then.

State Counsel:  The People calls as its first witness Augustus Merino.

(Fr. Augustus Merino, SJ was sworn in by the Court and was seated in the witness box.)

State Counsel:  Will you identify yourself for the record?

Witness:  My name is Augustus Merino.

State Counsel:  Where do you live?

Witness:  I live at the Rectory of St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church, Church Street on Meeting Island, Spontoon Independencies.

State Counsel:  What is your profession?

Witness:  I am the Rector of St. Anthony’s, and have been since I succeeded my predecessor in 1905.

State Counsel:  You have been the parish priest continuously since that date?

Witness:  Yes.  My parish was split in 1919, with St. Paul’s, Casino Island assuming responsibility for Casino Island, South Island and Eastern Island.  St. Anthony’s is responsible for the Main Island, Meeting Island, and certain of the outlying islands.
State Counsel:  But you have remained here in the Spontoons ever since 1905?

Witness:  That is correct.

State Counsel:  Are you a Spontoonie citizen?

Witness:  No.  I am a citizen of the United States.  I have residency papers that were granted to me by the Althing.

State Counsel:  What is your level of education?

Witness:  I have an undergraduate degree from Fordham University.  As part of my vocation, I pursued graduate studies at the American College in Rome.

State Counsel:  And what is your vocation?

Witness:  I am a member of the order of the Society of Jesus, one of the priestly orders of the Roman Catholic Church.

State Counsel:  Thank you, Father.  I’d like to turn to more current events.  Are you familiar with an individual named Stanley Warren?

Witness:  I am.

State Counsel:  Who is Stanley Warren?

Witness:  He is since deceased.

State Counsel:  Thank you for the clarification.  Who was Stanley Warren?

Witness:  Stanley Warren was a patient at Island Hospital, Meeting Island, as of late September, 1937.

State Counsel:  Did you know Mr. Warren?

Witness:  Prior to September, 1937?

State Counsel:  Yes.

Witness:  I had never met him, to my knowledge.

State Counsel:  What was he doing in the Spontoons?

Witness:  It is my belief that he was visiting the Islands.

State Counsel:  What is the basis of your belief?

Witness:  I was advised by the doctor that had summoned me to Island Hospital that Mr. Warren was a stranger to the Islands.

Defence:  Your Honour?  I would ask that the People produce any evidence to support this assertion that Mr. Warren was not of Spontoon nationality.

State Counsel:  I ask that the following document be marked for identification purposes as People’s Exhibit 1.

(People’s Exhibit 1, a Tillamook passport, No. 3887, dated July 12, 1934, in the name of Stanley R. Warren, was marked for identification.)

State Counsel:  I show People’s Exhibit 1 to the Witness.  Does the witness recognize the photograph in the passport?

Witness:  Yes.  That is the gentlefur that I visited.

State Counsel:  Thank you.  You say that you were summoned by Island Hospital personnel?

Witness:  Yes, specifically Dr. Morgan, one of the staff.

State Counsel:  Yes, this was on September 27th.  Dr. Morgan had stated to me that Mr. Warren had made a request to speak to a priest.

State Counsel:  To your knowledge, was Mr. Warren a member of the Catholic faith?

Witness:  In the course of talking with Mr. Warren, I did learn that he did not practice any religious faith.

State Counsel:  Do you know why, then, he would summon a priest?

Witness:  He indicated to me a need to talk.  He had seen in the movies individuals summoning priests to unburden themselves.  He said he was a dying fur.

State Counsel:  I see.  So, in other words, Mr. Warren was speaking under the perception that he was making a dying utterance, correct?

Witness:  That is my belief, sir.

State Counsel:  The People wish to make the point that the statements that are being attributed to the late Mr. Warren fall under one of the exceptions to the hearsay rule, and are thus admissible.

Defence:  Defence reserves the right to challenge this assertion in its case.

Magistrate:  Both statements duly noted.  Continue, counsel.

State Counsel:  What was the nature of your conversation with Mr. Warren?

Witness:  Mr. Warren indicated to me that he had been involved in a crime here in the Spontoons many years before, and he wanted it “off his mind” before he died.

State Counsel:  Did you take notes?

Witness:  I did not.  I rely on my memory for these sort of discussions.  It is part of my profession, you see.

State Counsel:  I see. 

Defence:  Will the recorder mark this passage for later identification.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  Did you have any trouble understanding Mr. Warren?

Witness:  Mr. Warren spoke clearly and distinctly.  However, there were pauses in between, as he had some trouble breathing.

State Counsel:  Did he seem disoriented, or under the influence of medication?

Witness:  I do not believe he was under the influence of medication.

Defence:  Mark the passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  Please continue, Father.

Witness:  I asked the witness what kind of crime he had committed, and he indicated to me that he had committed a number of crimes over a span of months.

State Counsel:  Did he say what kind of crimes?

Witness:  He indicated to me that he had committed acts that involved arson, burglary, armed robbery, and rape.

Defence:  Objection.  The witness is unqualified to make such legal conclusions.

Magistrate:  Counsel, you’ll need to do a bit better.  Objection sustained.

State Counsel:  Very well, Your Honour.  Did Mr. Warren describe the acts he had committed?

Witness:  Yes, he described the acts to me.

State Counsel:  In detail?

Witness:  In great detail.  He indicated to me that he had personally put to the torch a number of homes and businesses on Main Island, after looting them, and that he had taken property from some natives of the Island by force, and had had sexual relations without consent with some.

State Counsel:  Thank you, Father.  Did Mr. Warren say how he had come to perform these acts?

Witness:  Mr. Warren claimed to me that he was a member of a naval militia that had been operating in the area of the Spontoons.

State Counsel:  Did he provide any identification of this unit or a vessel?

Witness:  He refused to identify the vessel, sir.

Defence:  Mark the passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  Did he indicate a reason for this refusal?

Witness:  When I asked, he said he was afraid of retribution from surviving members of the unit.

State Counsel:  Did he identify any of these other members?

Witness:  He did not, when I asked him.  The same reason, fear of retribution, was given.

State Counsel:  So, Mr. Warren was confessing to the crimes he described to you.  Were those the only crimes he described?

Witness:  No, sir.  There was one other crime he described.

State Counsel:  What was that crime?

Witness:  He indicated to me that during a raid on the Main Island, his unit had captured a female feline, a native.

State Counsel:  What did he mean by “captured?”

Witness:  They took her by armed force against her will, or so it was said to me.

State Counsel:  What did Mr. Warren say was done with this native?

Witness:  Mr. Warren described to me a long series of abusive acts the various members of the militia performed on the native.

State Counsel:  Did he indicate what type of acts?

Witness:  The acts were of a physical and sexual nature, and lasted over a period of a few days while the group was raiding.

State Counsel:  Did Mr. Warren participate in these acts?

Witness:  He said he beat the native, but that was all he would admit to.  He stated that while most of the members of the unit participated in the beatings, only the head of the unit participated in…in the other activities.  It was claimed as a “right of command,” Mr. Warren said.

State Counsel:  Did Mr. Warren indicate what happened to the native?

Witness:  Yes.  He stated that shortly before the raid ended, a small cargo craft was ambushed and sunk in the waters just off Main Island.  Certain of the cargo was looted from the ship, Mr. Warren stated, which made it difficult to move, especially since the unit had other loot from the island.

State Counsel:  And what did Mr. Warren say happened next?

Witness:  He stated that the unit commander decided the native was “excess cargo.”  Her paws were tied behind her back, and she was shot in the head.

State Counsel:  And the body left?

Witness:  No, sir.  Not exactly.

State Counsel:  Please elaborate.

Witness:  Mr. Warren indicated to me that the native was buried in a large wooden box.  He described to me a funeral service that made a mockery of both burial services in general and the deceased in particular.

State Counsel:  You say the deceased was buried in a box.

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Did Mr. Warren describe the box?

Witness:  Other than it was a large, sturdy box, no.

State Counsel:  Did Mr. Warren describe where the box had been buried?

Witness:  Yes.  He stated to me that the box had been buried near a large, split rock on a small bluff that sloped down to a spit of land.

State Counsel:  Did that sound familiar to you?

Witness:  Only vaguely.

State Counsel:  And Mr. Warren indicated that he left the Islands after these incidents?

Witness:  Yes.  He stated that the visit this year was the first time he had been back since that time.

State Counsel:  Did Mr. Warren state what he had done since then? 

Witness:  He said he left the naval militia shortly after, and had been a fisherman since that time.

State Counsel:  What else did Mr. Warren discuss?

Witness:  He discussed a few family matters, matters relating to protecting his family.

State Counsel:  Protecting?

Witness:  Yes.  He was convinced that by, as he said, “informing,” they would be subject to harassment, or worse.

State Counsel:  Did he indicate the reason for this?

Witness:  No.  He declined.

State Counsel:  And after this, you left Mr. Warren?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Did you see him again?

Witness:  No.

State Counsel:  Had he died?

Witness:  I was informed by Island Hospital that he died a day after I spoke with him.

State Counsel:  What did you do with the information that Mr. Warren had provided you?

Witness:  I sought out the Detective Bureau of the Constabulary, and reported what I had learned to them.

State Counsel:  In writing?

Witness:  Orally, at first.  My statement was typed up, and I signed it.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 2, statement of Augustus Merino, dated September 27, 1937.

(People’s Exhibit 2, statement of Augustus Merino to the Spontoon Islands Constabulary, marked for identification.)

State Counsel:  No further questions.  Your witness.

Defence:  Father, are you trained in medicine?

Witness:  Only in elemental first aid.

Defence:  So you do not have the requisite knowledge to determine if someone is acting under the influence of medication, or if their perceptions are altered?

Witness:  I have seen many drunks in my time, counselor.

Defence:  But you are not of the medical profession?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  The Defence moves that the People produce the medical records of Stanley Warren to indicate what medication he was on at the time he had his conversation with Father Merino.

State Counsel:  For what purpose…?

Defence:  Perception, if Mr. Warren was capable of forming a conclusion that he was dying, and if he was in a condition to coherently relate matters to the Witness.

Magistrate:  The People will produce the medical records expeditiously.  It seems to me, counsel, that the Defence does have a point, in that it goes to whether the hearsay exception can apply.

State Counsel:  Very well, Your Honour, we will undertake to so produce.

Defence:  Father, you believe your memory is accurate, even without notes?

Witness:  As I have stated, it is part of my profession to listen to what is related to me by my parishioners.

Defence:  But is your memory – and please forgive the expression – infallible?

Witness:  I believe that what I have stated here is accurate, to the best of my ability.

Defence:  But you couldn’t relate the story word for word, as Mr. Warren spoke it?

Witness:  No.  But I believe what I related to the detectives was accurate.

Defence:  You have stated that Mr. Warren refused to identify his vessel, or any of his comrades.  Is that accurate?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  Did he supply you with any evidence to suggest that he had, in fact, been a member of a naval militia?  Papers, medals, identification tags…?

Witness:  No, he did not.

Defence:  I ask the Court to direct the People to produce any evidence they have tying Stanley Warren to a naval militia.

Magistrate:  Does the People have any such evidence?

State Counsel:  Your Honour, we have made enquiries of the Tillamook government.  They have not located any specific evidence to indicate that Mr. Warren was a member of a naval militia.

Defence:  Your Honour, the Defence asks that the testimony of Father Merino be struck from the record, as there is insufficient evidence to support that it was the result of a dying statement by a person capable of making such statements, and there is a lack of evidence tying the deceased deponent to a key element of the witnesses’ statement.  The Defence is not in a position to cross-examine the deceased deponent.

State Counsel:  Your Honour, the People will present further evidence and testimony that corroborates the evidence given by Mr. Warren.  The People do point out that Mr. Warren died shortly after he made his statement.

Magistrate:  I’ll take Defence’s motion under advisement, pending production by the People of the medical records.  Any further questions of this witness, counsel?

Defence:  No.  We reserve the right to recall the witness.

Magistrate:  Do the People wish redirect?

State Counsel:  No, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  The Witness is excused, subject to recall.

(The witness stepped out of the witness box.)


State Counsel:  At this time, the People would like to call Detective Inspector Franklin Stagg to the stand.

(Det. Insp. Franklin Stagg was sworn in by the Court and seated in the witness box.)

State Counsel:  Will you please identify yourself for the record?

Witness:  Detective Inspector Franklin Junius Stagg, Spontoon Islands Constabulary.

State Counsel:  Where you do live, Inspector?

Witness:  Printers’ Lane, Meeting Island.

State Counsel:  Are you a Spontoonie citizen?

Witness:  No.  At the present time, I am stateless.

State Counsel:  What was your former nationality?

Witness:  I was a citizen of the Free State of New Haven.

State Counsel:  What is your level of education?

Witness:  I received both an undergraduate degree, and a Bachelor of Laws degree, from the Collegiate School of New Haven.

State Counsel:  Is a Bachelor of Laws degree a degree related to the practice of law as an attorney?

Witness:  At the time I lived in New Haven, it was.

State Counsel:  Have you ever practiced law?

Witness:  No, sir.

State Counsel:  What is your experience in criminal investigations?

Witness:  From the time I graduated Collegiate with my LL.B in 1905, until 1929, I was engaged as a detective with the New Haven State Police, except for the period of the Great War, when I was seconded as the intelligence officer for the New Haven Flying Corps.  In 1929, I was appointed Chief of the New Haven State Police, a position I held until 1931, when I was dismissed by the revolutionary government.  In 1934, I was hired by the Althing of the Spontoon Islands as a detective, and I have been here in the islands for the last three and one half years.

State Counsel:  How many murder investigations have you conducted?

Witness:  I would estimate the number to be five hundred, give or take.

State Counsel:  And convictions?

Witness:  Of the five hundred or so murder investigations, I believe that I have cleared up nearly four hundred, in one manner or another.

State Counsel:  Were you ever invited to give lectures, or present papers, on criminal investigations?

Witness:  I was a contributing editor to the Journal of Criminology between 1925 and 1929, and I was asked to lecture in a number of academic venues regarding scientific methods of investigation.

State Counsel:  Thank you.  Do you have People’s Exhibit 2 in front of you, Inspector?

Witness:  I do.

State Counsel:  Do you recognize this document?

Witness:  This is a copy of a document that was prepared at my direction and under my supervision, and it bears, you will notice, my signature at the bottom of the last page.

State Counsel:  So I see.  What is this document?

Witness:  This is a statement made by Augustus Merino to the Detective Bureau of the Spontoon Islands Constabulary on September 27, 1937.

State Counsel:  What was the general nature of this statement?

Witness:  Father Merino was reporting to the Detective Bureau the substance of a conversation he alleged to have had with a patient at Island Hospital regarding a crime, a felony, that had allegedly occurred in February, 1912.

State Counsel:  25 years ago?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  And you had this document prepared to document the statement?

Witness:  Yes, as part of normal procedure when opening a case file.  It is part of the regular records of the SIC.  You will notice that on the first page, there is a printed block relating to statements.

State Counsel:  Yes, I see.

Defence:  Mark this passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  After receiving this information from Father Merino, what did you do?

Witness:  I went from SIC headquarters to Island Hospital to visit Mr. Warren.

State Counsel:  The fur that had spoken to Father Merino?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Did you speak to him?

Witness:  No.  I was advised by medical personnel that Mr. Warren had lapsed out of consciousness.

State Counsel:  Did you have a chance to speak at all with Mr. Warren?

Witness:  No, he died the next day.

State Counsel:  Did you take any other actions before Mr. Warren died?

Witness:  I spoke with my deputy, Detective Sergeant Orrin Brush, on the matter.

State Counsel:  Was this for professional counsel?

Witness:  In part, yes.

State Counsel:  What was the other reason or reasons?

Witness:  My understanding is that Sergeant Brush lived on Main Island during the period in question, and had thus experienced some of the pirate raids of the era, and I wanted a little background on that.

State Counsel:  Did he describe the pirate raids to you?

Witness:  He did.

Defence:  Mark the passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  What did you do next, Inspector?

Witness:  In light of the death of Mr. Warren, the only data I had to go on was the description of the alleged burial site contained in Exhibit 2, here in my paw.  I conferred with the Chief Constable, and recommended that we undertake a search of the area, using only off-duty and retired constables.

State Counsel:  Why did you make that recommendation?

Witness:  I was uncertain as to how many resources to use in the investigation at that time.

Defence:  Mark the passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  Were you able to get a sufficient number of volunteers to conduct the search?

Witness:  Yes, in my opinion.  We also had the assistance of a dozen Spontoon Guides.  Their participation was volunteered by the responsible Althing Minister as part of an exercise.

State Counsel:  How did you know where to search?

Witness:  The statement of Mr. Warren as to the alleged burial place was discussed among the constables who were natives, as well as Sergeant Brush.  It was felt that the place described was one of two areas that were relatively close in the extreme southeastern part of the Main Island.

State Counsel:  How had Mr. Warren described the burial place?

Witness:  In the statement, it is described – and this is my summary – as near a large, split rock on a small bluff that sloped down to a spit of land.

State Counsel:  And you accepted the advice of the constables?

Witness: And Sergeant Brush, yes.

State Counsel:  What did you do, then?

Witness:  The two areas that were suggested were marked off, using small wooden pegs and lengths of string, to create a grid of squares approximately six feet by six feet…

State Counsel:  Your Honour, I would like to approach the witness with the first in a series of photographs.  Defence counsel has copies.

Magistrate:  Proceed, counsel.

State Counsel:  I show you this first photograph, Inspector.  What does it show?

Witness:  This is a photograph taken by a police photographer of the grid as it was being set up in what we called area “B.”  It was taken on September 30, 1937, which was the day we started investigation at the site.

State Counsel:  So this photograph was taken at your direction?

Witness:  As part of the investigation, yes.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 3-A.

(Photograph of Lunda Point crime scene, dated September 30, 1937, marked as People’s Exhibit 3-A.)

State Counsel:  What is the purpose of laying out a grid?

Witness:  To ensure that an area is searched with method and thoroughness, with no areas left unsearched.

State Counsel:  How was the grid searched?

Witness:  Constables used a variety of methods, but the principal method used was the insertion of long, very narrow steel rods to probe into the ground. 

State Counsel:  Such as seen in the second photograph?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 3-B.

(Photograph of SIC constable using steel probe at Lunda Point crime scene, dated September 30, 1937, marked as People’s Exhibit 3-B.)

State Counsel:  Were any other methods used?

Witness:  The Spontoon Guides took a rather different approach.  Their actions consisted of an analysis of the terrain and vegetation at the two search areas, and where they felt, given the storms and other natural events of the last twenty-five years, a large wooden box might be buried.

State Counsel:  What did they say to you?

Witness:  It was the opinion of the leader of the Guides group that a particular area, approximately 2500 square feet in area, at Lunda Point was the most likely place where a burial could have taken place. 

State Counsel:  What did the Guides leader say formed his opinion?

Witness:  His opinion was based on soil conditions, the age of trees in the area, and access to the beach at Lunda Point.

State Counsel:  Did you accept the advice?

Witness:  I felt the analysis was logical, and I asked the constables to focus their efforts on the area indicated.

State Counsel:  Using the same techniques as before?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  What was the result?

Witness:  The operation took many hours, and we continued the operation after dark, using the headlights of motor cars.

State Counsel:  You participated?

Witness:  Yes.  I was officially off-duty, but my request to participate in the search was granted by the Chief Constable.

State Counsel:  What happened next?

Witness:  At approximately 0115 on the morning of October 1, 1937, a constable probing an area of the bluff reported to me that his probe was being blocked by an object beneath the surface, and that he had tested areas in close proximity, and he felt that the object was not a rock.
State Counsel:  What did you do?

Witness:  I had a group of constables stand close together, and probe using the thin steel rods.

State Counsel:  What was the result?

Witness:  The area where the blockage occurred was roughly rectangular in shape.

State Counsel:  I show you this photograph, Inspector.  What does it depict?

Witness:  This shows one of the grids at Lunda Point.  The small white pegs you can see inserted into the ground show the points at which the ground was probed, and there was a blockage.  As you can see, the area was roughly rectangular, approximately eight feet long by about three feet wide.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 3-C.

(Photograph of grid at Lunda Point crime scene, October 1, 1937, marked as People’s Exhibit 3-C.)

State Counsel:  What did you do next, Inspector?

Witness:  The surface vegetation was carefully cleared, and a number of sieves were set up.  Constables were instructed to remove the soil carefully and bring it over to the sieves.

State Counsel:  Why was that?

Witness:  In the event any artifacts were present in the soil, we could preserve them.

State Counsel:  Are these photographs, Inspector, demonstrative of these efforts?

Witness:  Yes.  These three photographs, you will see, show the constables cutting blocks of soil from the search area in a specific order, and then the blocks of soil being sieved for artifacts.

Defence:  Mark the passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  Mark these photographs for identification as People’s Exhibits 3-D, 3-E and 3-F.

(Photographs of crime scene investigation at Lunda Point, October 1, 1937, marked as People’s Exhibits 3-D, 3-E and 3-F.)

State Counsel:  What happened next, Inspector?

Witness:  At approximately 7.19, a constable reported that his trowel had struck a hard object.  This was while the pit was approximately sixty inches below ground level.

State Counsel:  You had been digging for some time.

Witness:  The better part of four and one-half hours, by that point.

State Counsel:  What did you do next?

Witness:  The soil around the object was brushed away and sieved.

State Counsel:  What did you see?

Witness:  Eventually, what was uncovered was a large, wooden surface.

State Counsel:  I show you a photograph, Inspector.  What does it show?

Witness:  This is a photograph taken from the edge of the excavation pit.  It shows the surface of the box as it was exposed.

State Counsel:  What are the objects that you can see on the surface?

Witness:  The object in the upper centre of the surface consisted of a small, corroded rectangular plate.  The object seen on the upper left-centre of the surface consisted of a rather larger, heavy handle, also corroded.  There is another handle in the lower left-centre, also a corroded handle.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as Exhibit 3-G.

(Photograph of crime scene at Lunda Point, October 1, 1937, showing an excavation pit and an object in the pit, marked as People’s Exhibit 3-G.)

State Counsel:  The surface seems uneven.

Witness:  The box was lying at a slight angle, yes.  The top sloped down, slightly.

State Counsel:  What did you do next?

Witness:  At the point at which it was clear we had found a large wooden box, a constable had been sent to the nearest telephone station to summon the Medical Examiner.

State Counsel:  That would be Dr. James Meffit?

Witness:  Correct. 

State Counsel:  Why did you summon him?

Witness:  I felt that it was necessary, in light of the fact that there was a possibility of a body to be found.

State Counsel:  And Dr. Meffit arrived?

Witness:  Yes, just before 8.30.

State Counsel:  What did you do then?

Witness:  You will note, by looking at Exhibit 3-G…here and here (Witness pointed out two areas with a pencil) that the wooden box had a frame and hinges.  The hinges, like the other metal parts, were corroded, but the frame, which was wooden, was intact.

State Counsel:  How do you explain that?

Witness:  The wood was a very heavy, dense type of wood, and it appeared to have been treated at some time in the past to repel water.

State Counsel:  What did you do then?

Witness:  An attempt was made to open the box using one or the other of the handles, but the mechanisms appeared to have been corroded shut over time.  It was decided to attempt to open the box by means of removing the hinge mechanism and bodily lifting the lid.

State Counsel:  Was this successful?

Witness:  After some effort, it was.

State Counsel:  I show you two photographs.  What do they depict?

Witness:  The first photograph, as you can see, shows a police mechanic disassembling the hinge mechanism, or at least the portion that was accessible from the outside.  The second photograph shows a rig set up to lift the lid.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibits 3-H and 3-I.

(Photographs of the crime scene at Lunda Point, October 1, 1937, marked as People’s Exhibits 3-H and 3-I.)

State Counsel:  You say the effort to remove the lid was successful.  What did it show?

Witness:  It showed that the wooden box was comprised of two chambers, both of which consisted of a metal box, which we later determined was zinc, surrounded by a very heavy shell of wood, with the inner surface of the lid also faced with zinc.  The latch mechanisms for the handles did not connect with the inside zinc boxes, nor did the hinge mechanisms.  One of the zinc chambers was larger than the other.

State Counsel:  I show you a photograph, Inspector.  Does this depict the scene after you lifted the lid?

Witness:  Yes, this was after the lid was lifted and moved away.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 3-J.

(Photograph of crime scene at Lunda Point, October 1, 1937, marked as People’s Exhibit 3-J.)

State Counsel:  What is the object that can be seen in the upper part of this photograph?

Witness:  The upper, larger metal box contained the remains of a feline, facing down, with its paws tied behind its back.

State Counsel:  Thank you, Inspector.  Your Honour, the People propose to have Inspector Stagg step down for the moment and be replaced by Doctor Meffit to describe the next part of the investigation, subject to the Inspector being recalled.  We offer the Inspector for cross examination.

Magistrate:  Let’s give the Defence that chance after a short recess.


Defence:  Good morning, Inspector.

Witness:  Good morning.

Defence:  You stated in your testimony, earlier, to the effect that you consulted with a number of members of the Constabulary regarding the Lunda Point site.  Is that a fair statement?

Witness:  Yes, I would say that is accurate.

Defence:  Did any of the furs that you spoke with indicate they knew that an object had been buried at Lunda Point?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  Did any of the furs you spoke with indicate they had seen any activities at Lunda Point relating to the object you found?

Witness:  No, they did not.

Defence:  Was the only indication you had that something was buried at Lunda Point the statement by Stanley Warren?

Witness:  With respect to that specific item, yes.

Defence:  You say a specific item.  What do you mean?

Witness:  I was led to believe that the burial of objects and people by raiders in various places in the Spontoons was not unheard of during the era of the pirate raids.  This was related to me by a number of senior Constables and retired Constables.  I am also aware of an incident that occurred two years ago, when some anthrop remains, of mixed species were found in a pit at Eastern Island during the expansion of the facilities there.

Defence:  Did you investigate that incident?

Witness:  The remains consisted of an assortment of bones, partially destroyed by fire.  We opened a file, but the investigation was unable to determine anything productive.

Defence:  You have an assistant, Inspector?

Witness:  He is, more accurately, my deputy.  Detective Sergeant Orrin Brush, with whom I have worked during my time here in the Spontoons.

Defence:  You stated that you consulted with him regarding the events of the pirate raid.  Was he a witness to the events involving the crime scene?

Witness:  No, he was not.  Not this event.

Defence:  As a native who saw the pirate raids at first paw, do you think Sergeant Brush can be objective in this kind of an investigation?

Witness:  I believe, ma’am, that any professional is going to place his…or her…personal feelings second to the matter at paw.  In any event, I saw nothing during the course of the investigation to indicate that Sergeant Brush’s investigation was in any way tainted by personal feelings.

Defence:  You indicated to the Court that you were uncertain as to the amount of resources to apply to this investigation.  Why was that?

Witness:  I had comparatively little information to go on, merely the statement of Father Merino, which in the main consisted of an allegation that there were anthrop remains in a certain place on Main Island.  That is why I recommended to the Chief Constable that we rely on retired and off-duty personnel.

Defence:  Would these retired constables have served during the pirate raid era?

Witness:  I know for certain that two of the group did, including Ignatius Brush.

Defence:  Who is Ignatius Brush?

Witness:  Senior Constable Ignatius Brush is the father of Detective Sergeant Brush.

Defence:  Were any of these retired constables witnesses to the actions that led to the alleged murder of the victim?

Witness:  Not to my knowledge, no.

Defence:  Did you have any eyewitness testimony other than Mr. Warren’s to go on?

Witness:  No, I did not.

Defence:  Did you make any investigation as to other eyewitnesses before the dig?

Witness:  I felt that in light of the fact that I was investigating whether remains were, or were not, buried in a certain spot, I felt that at that point in the investigation, locating witnesses was not as important.

Defence:  I’d like to refer to People’s Exhibits 3-D, 3-E and 3-F.  These show the process of soil being sieved at the crime scene, correct?

Witness:  That is correct.

Defence:  Did you, in fact, find any artifacts in the soil?

Witness:  We did not.

Defence:  Why did you use Spontoon Guides in your investigation?

Witness:  In part because of their familiarity with the terrain, and their training in reading soil conditions and other tracking indicia.

Defence:  To your knowledge, are Spontoon Guides trained criminal investigators?

Witness:  I have no knowledge as to whether their training includes that.

Defence:  Yet you used them in a crime scene investigation.

Witness:  Counselor, I have conducted a number of searches over the years, usually for missing furs.  It is not unusual to use the expertise of trackers when combing an area looking for evidence.  The Spontoon Guides, in this case, were relied upon for their expertise in examining conditions where something might be buried.

Defence:  Were any of the Guides you used witnesses to the events that involved the alleged murder?

Witness:  Not to my knowledge, no.

Defence:  No further questions at this time.  I understand that this witness will be recalled, so the Defence reserves its rights to question the witness.

Magistrate:  So noted.  Redirect?

State Counsel:  No, Your Honour.  We will recall this witness.  I would like, at this time, to call Dr. James Meffit to the stand.

(The witness stood down from the witness box, and was replaced by Dr. Meffit, who was duly sworn before being seated.)

State Counsel:  Can you please state your name for the record.

Witness:  Dr. James Meffit.

State Counsel:  Where do you live?

Witness:  Convent Street, Meeting Island.

State Counsel:  Are you a Spontoonie citizen?

Witness:  Yes.  I was naturalized in 1926.

State Counsel:  What is your profession?

Witness:  I engage in the practice of medicine, both as a general practitioner and as a surgeon.

State Counsel:  What is your education?

Witness:  I am a graduate of McGill University, Toronto, Canada, where I received my undergraduate degree and my medical degree.

State Counsel:  How long have you practiced medicine?

Witness:  I completed my studies and qualified in 1914.  Very shortly after that occurred, I volunteered to serve in the Canadian Army as a officer in the Medical Corps, which I did until 1919.  I emigrated to the Spontoons in 1920, and was allowed to practice medicine here, which I have done without interruption since that date.

State Counsel:  What offices and honours do you hold?

Witness:  I am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, and have been since 1917.  I was appointed Medical Examiner of the Spontoons when that post was created in 1926, and in 1930 I was also appointed to serve the Ministry of Health as Chief Medical Officer.  I hold both of these offices today.

State Counsel:  As Medical Examiner, you have been called upon to help investigate crimes?

Witness:  Yes, in conjunction with the Constabulary.  The process was formalized when the Constabulary was reorganized in 1933, and the Detective Bureau was formed in 1934.

State Counsel:  You have worked with the Detective Bureau, then?

Witness:  Yes, on numerous occasions.

State Counsel:  Is it unusual for you to be called to a crime scene itself?

Witness:  (pause)  It is rare, but in my experience, I am called to crime scenes in cases where, in the judgement of the detectives, there may be some medical evidence that warrants an expert’s eye on the spot.

State Counsel:  So you were not surprised when you were called to the Lunda Point crime scene on the morning of October 1, 1937?

Witness:  No, no.  There is a regular procedure if that sort of thing is necessary.

State Counsel:  You are familiar with the effects of gunshot wounds?

Witness:  Yes, principally from my time in the Canadian Army, but also during service not long ago in Abyssinia, during the recent war there.  There have also been cases here in the Spontoons where I have been called upon to either treat gunshot wounds, or examine furs whose deaths were caused by gunshot wounds.

State Counsel:  So, on the morning of October 1, 1937, you were called to Lunda Point…by whom?

Witness:  A constable telephoned my office from what I believe was one of the posts maintained by the SIC on Main Island.

State Counsel:  And you arrived at the scene in response to this summons.

Witness:  I arrived between 8.25 and 8.30 that morning.

State Counsel:  What happened when you arrived?

Witness:  Inspector Stagg gave me a précis of the matter, and explained what had been occurring since the previous day at the site, and then showed me what had been uncovered, what looked to me like a large wooden chest of some type.

State Counsel:  What did you do next?

Witness:  I stood by while the constables attempted to open the box, or chest.  It was rather difficult, as corrosion seemed to have rendered parts of the box inoperable.  Eventually, one of the constables removed the pins from the hinges, and the lid was removed.

State Counsel:  What did you see?

Witness:  The box, if you will, was in two compartments.  At the top of the box was a rather large compartment with a wooden shell and an inner shell of a zinc-like metal.  At the bottom of the box was a smaller compartment, of similar construction.  You could open each compartment separately.  I could see from the doors, as they were lifted, that the inside of each door had sections of zinc.

State Counsel:  What conclusion did you draw from that?

Witness:  That the box was, in all probability, originally some kind of ice box or ice chest.

State Counsel:  What else did you see?

Witness:  The bottom compartment was empty.  The top compartment contained anthrop remains, lying face down.  The paws of the anthrop were tied behind its back with rope.

State Counsel:  I show you People’s Exhibit 3-J.  Is this an accurate depiction of what you saw?

Witness:  Yes.  This picture was taken not long after the doors to the box were removed, and before anything else was touched or examined closely.

State Counsel:  What happened next?

Witness:  The police photographer took a series of closeup pictures, under the direction of Inspector Stagg.  While this was occurring, I myself examined the body.

State Counsel:  What did you notice?

Witness:  The most obvious thing was that there was what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

State Counsel:  You are familiar with gunshot wounds, you said.

Witness:  Yes, based on my experience with them, this was a gunshot wound.

State Counsel:  I place before you, sir, a photograph.  Is this an accurate depiction of what you saw when you examined the head at the crime scene?

Witness:  Yes.  You can see the wound quite visibly in this photograph.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 4-A.

(Photograph showing a closeup of a feline remains, back of the head, showing a wound, marked for identification as Exhibit 4-A)

Witness:  I would note that there is a small card in the shot which identifies the time and place where the photograph was taken.  That is, in fact, my paw holding the ruler you see there.

State Counsel:  Thank you for that clarification.  What else did you notice?

Witness:  The body itself was moderately well-preserved, in that it was merely desiccated, one might say, mummified.  The original colour of the fur could be discerned, and it was even possible to note that the fur, in life, had been oiled and painted.

State Counsel:  I show you another photograph, Doctor.  What does it show?

Witness:  This is a photograph taken at the crime scene.  That’s my paw in the shot holding the ruler.  You can see in this shot a design near the shoulder blade that is still visible.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 4-B.

(Photograph of a closeup of anthrop remains, showing the torso, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 4-B.)

State Counsel:  Having examined the body in situ, what happened next?

Witness:  Well, Inspector Stagg took some careful measurements, supplemented by some additional photographs, showing how the body was laid out in the box.  The body rather filled the compartment, though it fit inside the box.

State Counsel:  What did you do with the body?

Witness:  A rubberized bag was lowered into the pit, and the body was removed for later analysis.

State Counsel:  Did the removal of the body reveal anything?

Witness:  Well, one of the first things I look for when a body is found at a crime scene is evidence of insect activity.  Maggots, fly eggs, that sort of thing.

State Counsel:  How is that helpful?

Witness:  It can provide evidence of whether a body had been in place for some time.  It is, usually, more important in bodies that have been in place for only a few days, and you need to make an estimate of the time it has been there.  What I found curious about the box was that there was no insect activity present, in the sense of insect bodies and the like.

State Counsel:  How could that be?

Witness:  The material in which the body was enclosed was wood, on the outside, and even the thickest and hardest of woods will deteriorate over time.  However, the zinc lining of this box, and the way it snugly fit, seemed to block insect activity.

State Counsel:  Is there any conclusion that you could draw from that?

Witness:  I would imagine that if the anthrop had been killed elsewhere, even for a period of only hours, there would be a chance that there would be insect remains.

State Counsel:  What else did you find?

Witness:  There was an area inside the box where the zinc was stained heavily, leaving a dark smear.  It was quite visible when the body was removed.

State Counsel:  I show you a photograph, Doctor.  Does this photograph represent what you saw?

Witness:  Yes, it does.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 4-C.

(Photograph of the inside of the burial chamber, with identifying card and ruler, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 4-C.)

State Counsel:  Were you able to determine what this smear was?

Witness:  Yes.  Using sterile medical equipment, I took samples of this smear.  I later analyzed what had been recovered.

State Counsel:  What was the smear?

Witness:  In part, the smear consisted of blood.

State Counsel:  What kind of blood?

Witness:  I determined that it was feline blood.  There were also traces of brain tissue still present in the smear.

State Counsel:  Did you prepare a report of these specific findings?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Is this that report?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 5.

(Report by Dr. James Meffit containing an analysis of biological material found at the Lunda Point crime scene, dated October 2, 1937, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 5.)

State Counsel:  Was there anything else that caught your attention regarding this smear?

Witness:  Yes.  By lining up the position of the body with where the smear was in the box, I found that the smear was in the place next to where the exit wound from the front of the skull would be.

State Counsel:  What did you conclude from that?

Witness:  That the deceased, while crouched in the box, had a gunshot wound inflicted upon them to the back of the head.

State Counsel:  Thank you.  What were your next steps?

Witness:  I had the remains removed to my clinic for a detailed post-mortem.

State Counsel:  Did you perform an autopsy?

Witness:  Not initially, pending approval from any kin still alive.  The post-mortem I performed was non-invasive.

State Counsel:  Non-invasive?  How so?

Witness:  I had a series of X-rays taken of the body, the fur was examined closely for any wounds that were visible, the claws were examined closely, and I took swabs from various areas.

State Counsel:  What were your findings from these?

Witness:  That the deceased was a feline, and female.  An analysis of the teeth and x-rays of the skull indicated that she was probably in her mid to late 20s at the time of her death.  She had broken bones in her tail, her right foot, and both wrists.  The flesh on both ears was torn.  A detailed examination of the fur revealed no puncture wounds, and some traces in various places of vegetable dyes used as fur paint, as well as what appeared to be the remains of various fur oils.

Defence:  Mark this passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  What did you discern from the head wound?

Witness:  The angle of the head wound indicated that the victim’s head was bent down at the time the shot was fired.  X-rays of the skull showed spider-cracks from where the bullet entered.

State Counsel:  Can you make any determination as to what kind of weapon was used?

Witness:  Based on my experience, the wound was caused by a .25 caliber bullet.  I would note that as Inspector Stagg could relate, the bullet was found…

State Counsel:  Could you determine from how far away the shot was fired?

Witness:  Inconclusive.  I found no traces of powder burns or marks on the fur, though.

Defence:  Mark this passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  Did you receive permission to conduct a full autopsy?

Witness:  The next of kin, when they were located, requested that no autopsy be performed.  I do not believe, however, that an autopsy would have been productive, given the passage of time and condition of the body, even mummified.

State Counsel:  You say that there was fur paint and fur oils on the body.

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Did you draw any conclusions from that?

Witness:  Based on my years of living here in the Islands, it was my belief that these were markings similar to those used by native priestesses of the local pantheon.

State Counsel:  Known as “Wise Ones?”

Witness:  Yes.  It is my understanding that there is meaning to the symbols.

Defence:  Mark this passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  Did you prepare a post-mortem report, Doctor?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Is this that report, Doctor?

Witness:  Yes, this is a complete copy of the report, and that is my signature.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 6.

(Medical Examiner’s Report, dated October 2, 1937, signed by Dr. James Meffit, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 6.)

State Counsel:  No further questions at this time.  Your witness.

Defence:  Do you practice the native faith, Doctor?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  Are you aware that natives may paint their fur with paint or oils for various reasons or various ceremonies?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  Why did you draw a conclusion, then, that the body was that of a Wise One?

Witness:  It was a supposition based on my experience.  In fact, there was a later identification…

Defence:  But you made a supposition.

Witness:  It was a correct supposition.

Defence:  Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

State Counsel:  Objection.

Defence:  Moving on to your report, People’s Exhibit 6.  Did you make any tests that would indicate sexual assault had occurred, Doctor?

Witness:  Yes, I did.

Defence:  You didn’t mention that just now, in your testimony, correct?

Witness:  No…no, it was not mentioned.

Defence:  Isn’t it a fact, Doctor, that you found no evidence of sexual assault on the body?

Witness:  The passage of time would have eliminated evidence, if there had been any…

Defence:  The bottom line is, you found no evidence, correct?

Witness:  Correct.

Defence:  Even though the statement of Mr. Warren, People’s Exhibit 2, had mentioned it.  Did you read the statement of Father Merino before you wrote your report, Doctor?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  Did you know to look for evidence of sexual assault, then?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  And you were unable to corroborate that element of Mr. Warren’s story, correct?

Witness:  I found no evidence of sexual assault.

Defence:  So that’s a yes, right?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  You said there were no powder burns around the entrance wound, correct?

Witness:  Correct.  I found no powder burns.

Defence:  So you can’t shed any light as to the distance from which the shot was fired at the body, correct?

Witness:  No, I cannot.

Defence:  Doctor, was your conclusion regarding the .25 caliber bullet influenced by the fact that there was a bullet allegedly found at the scene?  Can one, in fact, determine what kind of bullet caused a wound from looking at it?

Witness:  One can make generalizations, but in the absence of other facts, no, one cannot say with precision.

Defence:  Thank you.  Doctor, in the absence of an autopsy, how can you be sure there isn’t any other evidence, including exculpatory evidence, that might have been overlooked?

Witness:  I cannot make any conclusions about the existence or non-existence of any exculpatory evidence that an autopsy might, or might not, have revealed.

Defence:  Subject to any recall, no further questions.

State Counsel:  Redirect, Your Honour…Doctor, the gunshot wound to the head would have been fatal, correct?

Witness:  Yes, certainly.  The damage to the skull cavity would have been significant.  In the absence of any medical attention, fatal.

State Counsel:  Your examination of the body revealed no other evidence, such as ligature marks that would indicate, say, strangulation?

Witness:  No, sir.

State Counsel:  There were no other bloodstains found in the box, were there?

Witness:  Other than that found near where the head had been, and where I took the sample, no.

State Counsel:  So the deceased was likely not bleeding at the time she was put in the box?

Witness:  Not in any fashion that left a stain.

State Counsel:  Is it your opinion that the deceased was already dead by the time the lid was closed on the body?

Witness:  I think it highly likely that the deceased was already dead, or moments from death.  Suffocation would not have been an issue.  I believe that the gunshot wound was the proximate cause of death, and said so in my report.  While the deceased had suffered multiple injuries, this was the only injury that would have been fatal.

State Counsel:  Does the fact that you found no evidence of a sexual assault mean one didn’t occur?

Witness:  No.  It is possible, for example, that prophylactics were used, which wound tend to reduce the chances of evidence being left behind.

State Counsel:  No further questions.  Re-cross?

Defence:  Not at this time.

Magistrate:  The witness may stand down, subject to recall, is that correct, counsel?

State Counsel:  Yes, sir.

(The witness stood down from the witness box.)


State Counsel:  At this time, we would like to recall Detective Inspector Stagg to the stand.

(Detective Inspector Stagg, having been previously sworn, entered the witness box.)

State Counsel:  Inspector, is it true that you, your staff, and Dr. Meffit examined the body after the lid of the box had been removed?

Witness:  Yes, sir.

State Counsel:  And, as shown by People’s Exhibits 4-A, 4-B and 4-C, you documented the crime scene?

Witness:  Yes, sir.

State Counsel:  What did you do next?

Witness:  The body of the victim was removed from the chamber and placed into a rubberized bag for removal to Dr. Meffit’s clinic.  This is general procedure in cases of anthropicide.  By Spontoon law, the SIC must turn over all remains to the Medical Examiner’s office for an appropriate examination.

State Counsel:  And that was followed in this case?

Witness:  Yes, sir.

State Counsel:  With the removal of the body, what was done next?

Witness:  An examination was made of both the upper and lower chambers of the box by both myself and by Sergeant Brush.

State Counsel:  From inside the box?

Witness:  No.  Sergeant Brush and I stood, or knelt, on the wooden frame of the box.  A tarpaulin protected the box from falling debris or other contaminants.

State Counsel:  Does this photograph, which I now show you, Inspector, accurately depict these actions.

Witness:  It does.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 7-A.

(Photograph of Detectives Stagg and Brush standing on the box, examining the inside of the box, taken October 1, 1937, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 7-A.)

State Counsel:  Did this examination find anything?

Witness:  The first item found was a small brass shell casing, which was located in the bottom chamber of the box. 

State Counsel:  I show you a photograph, Inspector.  What does it depict?

Witness:  This is a photograph showing the shell casing in situ, where Sergeant Brush located it.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 7-B.

(Photograph showing a brass shell casing, with a pointer near it and an identifying card, taken October 1, 1937 at the Lunda Point crime scene, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 7-B.)

State Counsel:  What was this shell casing?

Witness:  It was a .25 caliber shell casing, based on its measurements.

State Counsel:  I hand to you, Inspector, a glass vial containing an object. Is this the casing itself?

Witness:  (examines an item in a glass vial.)  Yes, this vial contains the marking I put on it at the crime scene.  It has been in the custody of the SIC, or the Attorney General’s office, without interruption since then.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 8.

(Glass vial containing .25 caliber shell casing marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 8.)

State Counsel:  What else was found in your examination?

Witness:  After the removal of the body, there was a large, dark stain that was found near where the head of the victim had been, which Dr. Meffit examined.  There was also, partially embedded in the metal of the inner shell of the box, an object.

State Counsel:  I hand to you, Inspector, a glass vial containing an object.  Is this what you found?

Witness: (examines an item in a glass vial.)  Yes.  As with the previous item, this vial has custody markings on it that were placed there by me.

State Counsel:  What is it?

Witness:  This is a spent bullet.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 9.

(Glass vial containing a spent bullet marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 9.)

State Counsel:  Did you examine the box for paw-prints?

Witness:  Yes.  No prints that were usable turned up.

State Counsel:  Were any other items located in the box?

Witness:  An examination was made for any fur-hairs that could be located.  We did find some loose hairs, which upon examination by Dr. Meffit later, were determined to be feline hairs of a colour and length that matched the victim’s.

Defence:  Mark the passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  No other objects?

Witness:  None.

State Counsel:  What was the next action you took?

Witness:  We enlarged the pit, and engaged in the removal of the box.  This involved enlarging the pit on all four sides.

State Counsel:  I show you a photograph, Inspector.  Does this depict the scene?

Witness:  Yes, this was taken from above the pit, with the photographer in a nearby tree.  You can see, there, my cane laid parallel to the short side of the pit for scale.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 7-C.

(Photograph showing an above view of the burial pit, Lunda Point crime scene, October 1, 1937, marked as People’s Exhibit 7-C.)

State Counsel:  Was anything discovered during the enlarging of this pit?

Witness:  We did not discover any artifacts – we sieved the dirt as we had done previously, though it was remarked that the box was not level.  A builder’s level was brought, and we found that the box was, in fact, noticeably tilted toward the top of the box.

Defence:  Mark the passage.

(Passage marked.)

State Counsel:  And then?

Witness:  The box was removed, by use of a block and tackle.

State Counsel:  Was it heavy?

Witness:  We later determined that the box weighed approximately 300 pounds, including the lid.

State Counsel:  With the box out of the ground, were you able to examine the portions not previously visible?

Witness:  Yes, the box had suffered some damage on the upper parts of the back surface, and the back edge of the top.

State Counsel:  I show you three photographs, Inspector.  What does they show?

Witness:  Three views of the back of the box, close-ups, showing the damage to the box, which consisted of some of the wood chipped away.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibits 7-D, 7-E, and 7-F.

(Three photographs, showing the back and top of the burial box, dated October 1, 1937, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit’s 7-D, 7-E and 7-F.)

State Counsel:  Could this damage have occurred at some indeterminate time prior to the burial of the box?

Witness:  We do not believe so.  When the box was removed, an examination was made of the ground, and we located a few loose pieces of oak.  These were later found to fit the portions that were missing from the box.

State Counsel:  I would ask, Inspector, that you look at both the items that have been wheeled in by the court officer, and the items contained in this glass box.  Can you identify them?

Witness:  The items that have been wheeled in are, respectively, the box and its door.  The items in the glass box are the loose pieces of oak that were found next to the box.  In addition, the glass box contains the metal plate from the door of the box and the hinge parts that were removed.  The box has my custody marking on it, and the glass box does as well.

State Counsel:  Put together, what are these items?

Witness:  They are an icebox.

State Counsel:  Mark these items collectively as People’s Exhibit 10.

(Items comprising an icebox marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 10.)

State Counsel:  Did this conclude the evidence you found at the Lunda Point crime scene?

Witness:  There were no other items found at the crime scene, no.

State Counsel:  At this point, Your Honour, we are going to allow the Defence to cross-examine the witness on this portion of his testimony.

Defence:  Thank you.  Inspector, you found no weapon, correct?

Witness:  There was no weapon found at the crime scene, no.

Defence:  With respect to the hairs found in the box, Inspector, are you confident the scene was not contaminated by any other hairs?

Witness:  We found no hairs other than those of the victim.

Defence:  Isn’t that odd?

Witness:  Not necessarily.  It would depend on how the victim was emplaced in the box.  It is quite possible that no fur  entered the box.

Defence:  Then how could the victim have been shot?

Witness:  We theorize that the fur that fired the shot stood, while the pit was open, and the door of the box was open.  Balancing on the frame, the wooden shell, the fur would have been standing above and behind the victim, between six to eight feet from the head.

Defence:  How do you know the killer could have done that?

Witness:  Well, you will observe that in People’s Exhibit 7-A, both Sergeant Brush and I are standing on the box, he at the bottom, I at the top.  In fact, you will notice that Sergeant Brush in this photograph is pointing at the area of the dark stain that Dr. Meffit found was feline blood.  If you imagine Sergeant Brush holding a .25 caliber automatic, that is how it can be done.

Defence:  But that’s speculation, isn’t it?

Witness:  Yes, it is speculation.

Defence:  How do you know an automatic was used?

Witness:  The ejected shell casing.  The place where the shell casing was found, in the lower, separate box, where one would normally place a block of ice, points to the shooter standing over and above that area, rather than the larger, separate area where food or other items would be placed.

Defence:  The shell casing, that is, People’s Exhibit 8, seems to be in good condition.  Much better than the handle and hinge.

Witness:  The inner metal lining of the icebox likely prevented outside moisture from getting in.

Defence:  You found no mold or other remnants of food?

Witness:  The icebox, outside of the shell casing, bullet, body, and the dark smear, appeared to have been clean.

Defence:  Do you have any explanation for that remarkable fact?

Witness:  I do not, no.

Defence:  Inspector, isn’t it possible that the damage to the back and top of the icebox was caused by the excavation efforts of the Constabulary?

Witness:  This would be unlikely.  As you can see from People’s Exhibits 7-D, 7-E and 7-F, the wood was not, if you will, “fresh” where it had been damaged.  It was weathered, as if it had been exposed for an extended period of time.  So no, I do not believe the excavation would have caused the damage.

Defence:  No further questions.

State Counsel:  One question on re-direct.  Inspector, what could have caused the damage?  You may speculate.

Witness:  We believe that the box, having been carried by some means to the site, was placed into a pit by lowering it, top side down.  It is probable the action was not completely gentle, as the wood on the outside of the box was damaged, and the box was not level.

State Counsel:  Thank you.

Defence:  Re-cross.  The box could have settled over time, causing the angle, could it not?

Witness:  That is possible, but I believe that the evidence shows the box had a rough landing, which is also an explanation for why it would not be level.

Defence:  No further questions.

State Counsel:  Your Honour, it’s near 11.40.  Motion to adjourn for lunch, at which point we can take up the next portion of the direct of Inspector Stagg.

Magistrate:  Very well, adjourn until 1.00.

(Court rose.)


Magistrate:  The court will be in order.  Counsel, are you ready to proceed with your case?

State Counsel:  Yes, Your Honour. 

(Inspector Franklin Stagg, having been sworn previously, retook the stand.)

State Counsel:  Inspector, after the removal of the body to Dr. Meffit’s clinic, and the removal of the evidence from the Lunda Point crime scene, what was the next step in your investigation?

Witness:  We actually undertook a few lines of enquiry at the same time, but the one that had the highest priority was identifying the victim.

State Counsel:  Why the high priority?

Witness:  It was felt that if we could identify the victim, it might shed some light on her last movements, and possibly give the police an idea of where to find witnesses to her last hours?

State Counsel:  How did you go about identifying the victim?

Witness:  We used two means.  The first was an official means, utilizing data that had been gathered by the predecessor of the Ministry of the Interior in 1913.  This data was available at the SIC headquarters, in the form of four bound volumes.  These volumes provided information as to furs that were known to have been killed during the pirate raids, furs that were missing and presumed dead, and villages that had been destroyed.  With respect to the information on the furs that were missing, vital statistics, such as species, gender and age were provided.  Where available, an occupation was also provided.

State Counsel:  I show you some extracts, Inspector, which I represent to the court was taken from the Merino Enquiry of 1912-1913.  What do they show, Inspector?

Witness:  These extracts are individual pages from the list of the missing, which I had consulted.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 11.

(Extracts from Merino Enquiry Into the Victims of the Recent Pirate Raids, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 11.)

State Counsel:  What do these extracts show?

Witness:  These extracts show that there were four plausible candidates for the identity of the victim, each of which were female felines between 20 and 30 years of age.

State Counsel:  There are numbers next to the names.

Witness:  I ranked them in order of probability.  As you can see, #3 and #4 were identified as, respectively, a weaver and a homemaker.  Mr. Warren had not indicated the profession of the victim, and I was of the view that Dr. Meffit’s observation regarding fur paint and oils was of some importance.

State Counsel:  And #1 and #2?

Witness:  No profession was listed for either.  It is worth noting that a review of the list of furs killed does not identify any victim as a native priestess, or “Wise One,” though it is a matter of general knowledge, I believe, that a number were killed.

State Counsel:  Having identified the four candidates, what did you do next?

Witness:  Detective Sergeant Brush has numerous relations, both by blood and by marriage, with the order of native priestesses.  He undertook to question them as to any Wise Ones who were both feline and whose fate was not accounted for.

State Counsel:  Was he successful?

Witness:  He obtained one name.

State Counsel:  Which was?

Witness:  F’eya-Daughter-F’lani.

State Counsel:  And is this name contained in the extracts comprising People’s Exhibit 11?

Witness:  It is.  It was the name that I had marked as Candidate #2.

State Counsel:  Having found this name, what was the SIC’s next step?

Witness:  Sergeant Brush was familiar with the family, as they were also residents of the Highlands area of south-central Main Island.  He informed me that both the father and two of the brothers of F’eya-Daughter-F’lani were still alive, and at my request, they were brought to Dr. Meffit’s clinic, to view the body.

State Counsel:  Upon being shown the body, what happened?

Witness:  The father and the two brothers confirmed that the victim was their family member.  The sigil that Dr. Meffit had pointed out was a portion of a distinctive family sigil, and in fact one of the brothers had a similar mark tattooed in the same place on his back.  The father had the same sigil carved in two places on his wooden cane.  In light of the visual identification and other evidence, it was felt that the identification was conclusive, and Dr. Meffit issued a death certificate for F’eya-Daughter-F’lani.

State Counsel:  I show you a certified copy of a death certificate.  Is this that certificate?

Witness:  Yes.  You will note it is acknowledged by F’lani-Son-F’inn, and F’ain-Son-F’lani, and both of them took possession of the body.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 12.

(Death Certificate of F’eya-Daughter-F’lani, dated October 3, 1937, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 12.)

Witness:  Dr. Meffit, you will notice, indicated gunshot wound by a fur or furs unknown as the cause of death.

State Counsel:  Indeed.  Having identified the victim, did you in fact seek witnesses?

Witness:  Yes.  Again, since Sergeant Brush speaks the native language, unlike myself, he took charge of this aspect of the investigation.

State Counsel:  What did he find?

Witness:  He found that the victim had been fully engaged in providing relief and comfort to the victims of pirate raids, particularly those that had lost their homes through arson.  In certain cases, the victim was also engaged in attempting to locate furs that were missing, and possibly abducted.

State Counsel:  How well were you able to track her movements?

Witness:  The father of the victim stated that he last saw the victim alive on the evening of February 16, 1912.  This was the same night that there was a major raid in the area of the Highlands by pirates.  Other villagers stated that they saw the victim at various points just prior to the raid in the village that was destroyed, tending to a badly wounded fur.  The father of the victim noted that the victim was wearing brass ear-rings, which were worn in the same place where the flesh is torn on the body, indicating that the rings may have been taken by force, conceivably mistaken for gold.  On the morning of the 17th, attempts were made to tally the missing, and F’eya-Daughter-F’lani was marked down as missing.  In spite of diligent efforts by villagers and the constables, she was not found.

State Counsel:  What could have happened to her?

Witness:  Another member of the village had also been abducted and subjected to violent physical assault by the pirates, beaten, and left for dead.  He indicated that this had been the result of an attempt to protect certain females of the village.  He indicated that it was his belief that the victim was one of these, as he recalls comments by his abductors regarding a, quote, painted wench, endquote.

State Counsel:  Could he describe his assailants?

Witness:  He gave a thorough description of the two furs that beat him.  He also indicated that they referred to the leader of the gang as “Blood Hook,” and that there was some debate as to whether to leave the witness to Blood Hook for, quote, fun, endquote.

State Counsel:  Is this witness able to be here today?

Witness:  No.  The injuries he suffered during the raid crippled him, and he moves only with great difficulty.

State Counsel:  I would note, Your Honour, that the Defence engaged its own medical expert on this point.

Defence:  That is correct.

State Counsel:  Can you identify this document, Inspector?

Witness:  This is the dictated statement of Denis Reynard, a/k/a K’raa-son-K’arf, dated October 6, 1937, done in the presence of Sergeant Brush and a member of the Althing.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 13.

(Statement of Denis Reynard, a/k/a K’raa-son-K’arf, dated October 6, 1937, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 13.)

State Counsel:  What was the next avenue of investigation?

Witness:  We investigated the icebox in which the victim was found.

State Counsel:  People’s Exhibit 10?

Witness:  Yes.  A small metal plate on the inside of the icebox, below the lower chamber, identified it as a product of the Thermidaire Company of Toledo, Ohio, United States of America.  There was also a serial number.

State Counsel:  Can you point it out on People’s Exhibit 10?

Witness:  Yes.  (Indicates)  Right there.

State Counsel:  Was that the only item of interest in the icebox?

Witness:  The small metal plate that had been on the front of the icebox, while corroded, still bore a recognizable design, that of a sunburst and a crescent moon.  This became apparent when a sheet of paper was laid over the metal plate and a rubbing made with a pencil.

State Counsel:  What did you do with this information?

Witness:  The commercial attaché of the American Embassy was contacted, and he confirmed that the Thermidaire Company was still in business.  It had been purchased by the United Motors Corporation in 1931, and its offices remained in Toledo.  The attaché provided us with contact information.

State Counsel:  Did you contact this firm?

Witness:  Yes.  I sent a telegram describing the icebox, including its composition, and the serial number, and asked for particulars and information regarding it.

State Counsel:  Were there any results from this enquiry?

Witness:  I was advised by the company that this particular model had been a top-of-the-line model produced only for two years, between 1908 and 1909.  Owing to the significant use of heavy oak, it was $495, making it quite expensive for its time.  It was intended for commercial use, principally hotels, but it also saw some residential use.  They also confirmed that the metal plate showed the logo as it was used between 1904 and 1919 by the Thermidaire Company.

State Counsel:  Was this particular icebox identified?

Witness:  Yes.  People’s Exhibit 10 had been manufactured in 1908, and was sold to the Blue Ball Shipping Line of San Francisco in early 1909.

State Counsel:  I show to you, Inspector, a telegram and a registered air mail letter, the telegram dated October 5, 1937, and the registered air mail letter dated October 11, 1937.  What are these?

Witness:  That is the correspondence between myself and the Thermidaire Company regarding People’s Exhibit 10.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 14.

(Correspondence between the SIC and the Thermidaire Company regarding People’s Exhibit 10, dated October 5, 1937 and October 11, 1937, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 14.)

State Counsel:  You indicated that the records of the Thermidaire Company showed that People’s Exhibit 10 was sold to a San Francisco shipping line in 1909?

Witness:  That is correct, the Blue Ball Shipping Line.

State Counsel:  Did you contact this firm?

Witness:  No.  The firm no longer exists.

State Counsel:  What was your next step?

Witness:  I visited the local agent for Lloyd’s at Eastern Island to get particulars regarding any vessels that may have been captured and/or destroyed by pirates in February, 1912.

State Counsel:  Your Honour, at this time, we propose to allow the Defence to cross-examine the Witness, since the People will be presenting another witness, before recalling Inspector Stagg.

Magistrate:  Very well.  Counsel?

Defence: Did the family of the victim authorize an autopsy?

Witness:  No, they did not.

Defence:  Do you know why?

Witness:  No, I do not.

Defence:  Do you believe any evidence could have been found by means of the autopsy?

Witness:  I do not have a basis for giving an opinion on the matter.

Defence:  With reference to Exhibit 13, the statement of the fur who alleged that he had been assaulted by pirates…did you show him a picture of the late Mr. Warren?

Witness:  Sergeant Brush showed him a copy of People’s Exhibit 1.

Defence:  Did he identify Mr. Warren?

Witness:  He did not.

Defence:  Just to be clear:  the deponent in Exhibit 13 could not link Mr. Warren to his own injuries?

Witness:  No, he could not.

Defence:  And the deponent believed this same gang had abducted the victim?

Witness:  Correct.

Defence:  So the deponent can’t link Mr. Warren to the victim, can he?

Witness:  No, he cannot.

Defence:  How many furs does the Merino Enquiry list as missing from the pirate raid of February 16-17, 1912?

Witness:  I do not have the number to paw.

Defence:  If I said the number was 24, would that seem reasonable?

Witness:  I have no reason to doubt the number, counselor.

Defence:  So the deponent could well be wrong about his assailants being involved in the abduction of the victim.

Witness:  I believe the deponent to be accurate in his depictions of the events.

Defence:  Even events that took place twenty-five years ago, deeply traumatic events?

Witness:  I think many villagers vividly recall the raids, counselor.

Defence:  But 25 years is a long time to remember details?

Witness:  Conceivably.

Defence:  No further questions.

Magistrate:  Re-direct?

State Counsel:  People’s Exhibit 13 mentions, does it not, that the pirates viewed Wise Ones as prime targets?

Witness:  Not in those precise words, but the concept is accurate, yes.

State Counsel:  Because, and I quote: “Wise Ones mostly had just their fur, and some shells, feathers and ear-rings.”

Witness:  That is one theory.  It is a theory that is also supported by statements made in the Merino Enquiry.

State Counsel:  And the father of the victim stated that she had worn brass ear-rings?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  One can vividly recall traumatic moments, can they not, Inspector?

Witness:  It depends on the fur.

State Counsel:  Do you recall your torture at the paws of the Red Fist, Inspector?

Defence:  Objection.  Irrelevant.

State Counsel:  Goes to experience of the witness, in his judgement on the recall of the deponent.

Magistrate:  Overruled.  You may answer, Inspector.

Witness:  (long pause)  Yes, I recall it.  Quite vividly.

State Counsel:  Conversations, actions, locales…?

Witness:  (long pause)  Yes, sir.

State Counsel:  So you don’t consider it unusual that a fur would recall with accuracy such traumatic events.

Witness:  No, sir.

State Counsel:  No further questions.

Magistrate:  You may step down, Inspector.  Break for a few minutes.

(Court recessed for five minutes.)


Magistrate:  Court will be in order.  Counsel, call your next witness.

State Counsel:  The People call George Papaloo to the stand.

(George Papaloo was sworn in by the Court and seated in the witness box.)

State Counsel:  Can you identify yourself for the record?

Witness:  George Papaloo, Jr.

State Counsel:  Where do you live?

Witness:  The Glades, Windward Road, South Island.

State Counsel:  Are you a Spontoonie citizen?

Witness:  I am a native.

State Counsel:  What is your level of education?

Witness:  I am a graduate of the Spontoon Islands Technical High School

State Counsel:  What is your occupation?

Witness:  I am the senior partner of Papaloo & Sons.

State Counsel:  What is Papaloo & Sons?

Witness:  The firm was founded by my grandfather as a ship’s chandlery.  Since that time, we have expanded our operations to include the provisioning of aeroplanes and motorcars.  We are the local authorized dealer for General Motors, Renault, Morris, Firestone, Michelin and the Standard of Rhode Island firm.

State Counsel:  Your firm also engages in other activities outside of chandlery?

Witness:  Yes.  Papaloo & Sons is also the agent for the insurers at Lloyd’s, and has been since 1891.

State Counsel:  What does it mean to be the agent of Lloyd’s?

Witness:  As agent, we are required to provide Lloyd’s with information regarding all ship arrivals and departures in the Spontoons.  We also advise Lloyd’s of any shipwrecks or other marine disasters that we are made aware of.

State Counsel:  How do you do that?

Witness:  Currently, we provide regular telegraphic reports to London.  Prior to the time the Spontoons were hooked up to the international telegraph grid, and during various interruptions in service, we provide written reports to the Lloyd’s agents in San Francisco and Manila, carried by ships.

State Counsel:  What is done with that information?

Witness:  Lloyd’s puts out, on a regular basis, such publications as Lloyd’s Register, which is a directory of vessels, motor and sail, and Lloyd’s Weekly Casualty Reports, which as the title suggests is a weekly listing of marine losses.  These publications support Lloyds’ famous marine underwriting insurance operations, by providing information to the public at large, and investors in particular.

State Counsel:  How long have you been an agent of Lloyd’s?

Witness:  My father, George, Sr., was the first agent, between 1891 and 1910.  At that time, I was made a junior partner in the family firm, and while he concentrated on the chandlery business, I took over the day-to-day activities of, among other things, the Lloyd’s agency.

State Counsel:  So, as of 1912, it would have been you who would have reported ship dockings and sailings, as well as any wrecks?

Witness:  That is correct, sir.

State Counsel:  Do you recall the events of February, 1912, Mr. Papaloo?

Witness:  Quite vividly.  Owing to the nature of the family business, we were a regular target for pirate raids.  For quite some time, we were forced to defend ourselves using lethal force against robbery and arson.  Naturally, we paid a great deal of attention to what was going on, in particular the arrival of vessels, as they could contain pirates.

State Counsel:  Mr. Papaloo, I’m going to show you a series of extracts.  The first is an extract from the 1911 edition of Lloyd’s Register, the second is from an edition of Lloyd’s Weekly Casualty Reports from March, 1912, and the third is from Lloyd’s Register, Wreck Returns 1912-1914.  I will represent to the Court that these extracts were provided to me by Mr. Papaloo himself.  Do you recognize these, sir?

Witness:  I do.  These are part of the regular records I referred to earlier that are published by Lloyd’s.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 15

(Extracts from Lloyd’s publications of various dates marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 15)

State Counsel:  What do these extracts show?

Witness:  These extracts refer to a vessel known as the Hannah Deering, which was a brig owned by the Blue Ball shipping firm of San Francisco.

State Counsel:  That’s from the 1911 Register?

Witness:  Yes.  The ownership is listed there as such.

State Counsel:  Could you read out the second extract, the one from the March, 1912 casualty reports?

Witness:  “Wrecked vessels: HANNAH DEERING, San Francisco.  Brig Hannah Deering, which left Honolulu bound for Manila on February 1, stated in a report dated February 19th from the Spontoon Islands that on February 13th, ship was seized by pirates while at anchor, looted, and set afire, eventually sinking.  Ship a total loss.”

State Counsel:  Who provided Lloyd’s with that information?

Witness:  I did, personally.  It had to be done by letter, because of an interruption in telegraphic communications, which is why this report is in a March, 1912 casualty listing instead of a February, 1912 casualty listing.

State Counsel:  And the third extract?

Witness:  The third extract repeats the same information as the second extract, except that it notes that 3 of the crew were killed and two missing.

State Counsel:  And you supplied that information to Lloyd’s as well?

Witness:  Yes, in a follow-up report.

State Counsel:  What other information did you provide?

Witness:  I informed Lloyd’s that the cargo was largely destroyed, though some of the supercargo surfaced in markets a few weeks later, and that attempts were made to sell some of the fittings of the Hannah Deering to our firm.

State Counsel:  I show you, Mr. Papaloo, a letter dated March 28, 1912, from you to Lloyd’s.  Do you recognize it?

Witness:  Yes, I provided you with this letter from our files.  It states just what you said now, regarding the fittings and supercargo.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 16.

(Letter from George Papaloo, Jr. to the Insurers at Lloyd’s, dated March 28, 1912, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 16.)

State Counsel:  What kind of vessel was the Hannah Deering?

Witness:  As you can see from the Lloyd’s Register, she had recently been refitted by the Blue Ball Line in 1911, and she had been a regular caller in the Spontoons in the years prior to 1912.  Her master had bought quite a lot in supplies from us, and I myself had visited the ship on a few occasions.  The Hannah Deering was the flagship, as was fitted out as one.

State Counsel:  Do you recall seeing any equipment on the Hannah Deering in particular?

Witness:  The captain, in his cabin, had a large icebox.  He used it to keep fruit and beer cool.  Something of a rare privilege, which is one reason I noticed it.  A more practical reason is that our firm used to sell the ice to stock it when the ship was here in the Spontoons.

State Counsel: You have seen People’s Exhibit 10?

Witness:  The icebox where the young lady was found?  Yes, I have.

State Counsel:  Is that the same icebox you saw in the captain’s quarters of the Hannah Deering on a number of occasions.

Witness:  I believe it to be, yes.

State Counsel:  Tell us about the efforts to resell the ship’s fittings to your family firm.

Witness:  Well, as a ship’s chandlery, we did sell fittings, both new and used.  In the days after the pirate raid, we did get a number of furs coming in, offering us bits and pieces of the vessel for sale.

State Counsel:  Did you purchase these fittings?

Witness:  Not as such.  Properly, they were the property of the insurers of the Hannah Deering, and we had no instructions as to how they wanted the materials handled.  We asked the sellers to deposit the items with us, and we would seek permission to buy them.  I handled those transactions, since I was the Lloyd’s man.

State Counsel:  And did they deposit these items?

Witness:  Nearly all of them did, yes sir.

State Counsel:  And you kept a record of these transactions?  As part of your regular course of business?

Witness:  Yes, sir.  In a ledger.

State Counsel:  This ledger, which I show you?

Witness:  Yes, sir.  That’s the one.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 17

(Black-bound ledger marked “Papaloo & Sons, 1912, Vol. 2” marked for identification as Exhibit 17)

State Counsel:  I ask you to turn to the page that is marked.  What is the seventh entry there?

Witness:  It was for the deposit of a set of oars.

State Counsel:  Why is it crossed out?

Witness:  There’s a notation on the right that the transaction was rescinded by the seller.

State Counsel:  Who is listed as the seller?

Witness: An S. Warren of Tillamooka.

State Counsel:  Do you recall that transaction?

Witness:  I do.  It was unusual, in that it was the only transaction that was rescinded.

State Counsel:  Can you describe it?

Witness:  Well, the rabbit came in with the oars, and began bargaining with us.  Lots of furs were doing that, word had gotten around.  He’d just signed the ledger when two furs came in, half-drunk, and began yelling at him that he was a damned fool, and a greedy fool in the bargain, and to take the oars back, they belonged to Red Hook.

State Counsel:  Did they say who Red Hook was?

Witness:  I gathered somefur of importance, because Mr. Warren rescinded the transaction in a hurry.

State Counsel:  What happened then?

Witness:  The rabbit was beaten a few times with the oars and driven out of the chandlery. I did not see him again.

State Counsel:  No further questions, your witness.

Defence:  Mr. Papaloo, can you state with absolute certainty that People’s Exhibit 10 is the same icebox you saw on the Hannah Deering?

Witness:  Well, Miss, there sure ain’t many like that around.

Defence:  That’s not the question.  The question is can you state with certainty that that is the icebox?

Witness:  Listen, how many…

Defence:  With certainty, Mr. Papaloo?

Witness:  Well, no.

Defence:  Did you see the “Red Hook” that the furs allegedly referred to?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  Did you get a description of him?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  Were some of the furs who offered to sell you fittings or supercargo from the Hannah Deering Spontoon natives you knew not to be connected with the pirate gangs?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  Can you say for certainty that the rabbit you saw in your shop, and his comrades, were pirates?

Witness:  They were drunk, Miss.

Defence:  Hardly limited to pirates, isn’t it, Mr. Papaloo?

Witness:  No, Miss.

Defence:  Did the two furs you describe state anything to Mr. Warren about a murder?

Witness:  No, Miss.

Defence:  Or a native?

Witness:  Nothing about a native, no.  They just talked about the oars.

Defence:  No further questions.

State Counsel:  Redirect.  Mr. Papaloo, I show you People’s Exhibit 1.  Is this the Mr. Warren you saw?

Defence:  Objection, leading question.

Magistrate:  Rephrase.

State Counsel:  Certainly.  Do you recognize this photograph?

Magistrate:  Yes, that’s an older version of the rabbit I saw. 

State Counsel:  Thank you.

Defence:  How do you know, Mr. Papaloo?

Witness:  Well, that bent ear, and those hooded eyes.  And let me tell you, I was plenty scared when those two furs came in, as much as Warren was.  You remember something like that.

State Counsel:  No further questions.

Magistrate:  You may step down, Mr. Papaloo.

(Witness left the witness box.)


State Counsel:  Your Honour, we propose recalling Inspector Stagg once more for today, and then adjourning for tomorrow, if that is acceptable to counsel for the Defence.

Defence:  It is acceptable, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  Very well, then.  Recall Inspector Stagg.

(Detective Inspector Stagg, having been sworn previously, retook the stand)

State Counsel:  At the point where you and your colleagues interviewed Mr. Papaloo, what was your next step?

Witness:  I believed that attempting to pursue information regarding the Hannah Deering was the best available path.

State Counsel:  How did you do that?

Witness:  The first effort was to locate the Blue Ball Line in San Francisco.

State Counsel:  Was that successful?

Witness:  No.  The firm went out of business in 1921.  It was liquidated, so there was no successor firm.

State Counsel:  Did you attempt to locate any members of the crew?

Witness:  Our efforts in that line were not successful.  We were given to believe that the master of the vessel had died in 1916, and the officers we had been able to trace all died on active service during the Great War.  We made enquiries of the various seafurs’ unions in Rain Island, Tillamooka and the United States for any registered members that had served on the Hannah Deering, but we met with no success.

State Counsel:  So, was that a dead end?

Witness:  No.  We telegraphed the insurers at Lloyds seeking information regarding the insurance on the Hannah Deering, and who might have that documentation.

State Counsel:  What were you told?

Witness:  We were informed that the lead underwriter on the insurance policy for the Hannah Deering was the Atlantic & Pacific Marine Casualty Company of Boston.

State Counsel:  Are they still in business?

Witness:  Yes.  More to the point, the original documentation in their files was provided to us by courier.

State Counsel:  What of interest was in this documentation?

Witness:  The documentation provided a list of the officers and crew of the Hannah Deering on its last voyage.  This helped us winnow down the list of possible witnesses to the capture of the Hannah Deering.  Certain furs we knew to be dead.

State Counsel:  Did you locate any witnesses?

Witness:  No.  We did take out notices in the major newspapers on the Pacific Coast, but we received no replies.

State Counsel:  Well, what else was in the documentation?

Witness:  The documentation contained an original affidavit of Knut Haroldsson, the master of the Hannah Deering, describing the assault on his vessel.

State Counsel:  I show you a document, Inspector.  Is this that affidavit?

Witness:  Yes, this is a complete copy of that affidavit.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 18.

(Affidavit of Knut Haroldsson, dated April 19, 1912, given to counsel for the Atlantic & Pacific Marine Casualty Company, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 18)

State Counsel:  Why were you interested in this affidavit?

Witness:  I was interested in determining whether the late Captain Haroldsson had seen the individual known as “Red Hook.”

State Counsel:  Why?

Witness:  “Red Hook” was the alleged leader of the gang that had both sacked the Hannah Deering…

Defence:  Objection.  Speculation.

Witness:  Pardon me.  I will rephrase.  It had been alleged that a pirate gang had sacked the Hannah Deering.  It had also been alleged that a pirate gang had raided the Highlands area of Main Island.  Both of these actions took place within a few days of each other, the vessel being captured on February 13, and the pirate raid on the village on the night of February 16-17, 1912.  Both of these actions, it has been alleged, were directed by an individual named “Red Hook.”

State Counsel:  How do you know?

Witness:  The native witness in the case of the raid, and Mr. Papaloo in the case of the vessel seizure.

Defence:  Objection.  Witness is mischaracterizing the evidence.

Magistrate:  How so?

Defence:  The witness identified the leader by another name, and there was also a different time-line given for the raid on the island and the raid on the Hannah Deering in Father Merino’s testimony.

State Counsel:  If the Court will indulge the People, I think we can clarify the points raised by my learned friend.

Magistrate:  Well, do so clearly.

State Counsel:  Certainly.  Inspector, as counsel for the Defence has noted, the leader has been referred to as “Blood Hook” and “Red Hook.”  Can you explain the discrepancy?

Witness:  Yes.  On page 26 of the affidavit…

State Counsel:  People’s Exhibit 18?

Witness:  Yes.  On page 26, Captain Haroldsson notes that the chief of the raiders was referred to as both “Red Hook” and “Blood Hook” by different members of the pirate crew.

State Counsel:  So, in a sense, “Red Hook” and “Blood Hook” are synonyms?

Witness:  They are aliases for the same individual, in my opinion.

State Counsel:  Turning to the raid on the ship?

Witness:  At various points in the affidavit, Captain Haroldsson notes that the ship was seized early on the morning of February 13, 1912, just before dawn…

State Counsel:  Is that consistent with any other evidence, Inspector?

Witness:  Yes, Exhibit 15, the extracts from the Lloyds reports prepared by Mr. Papaloo.  Captain Haroldsson notes that the members of the crew that were not killed during the takeover were held at gunpoint while the ship was looted, an action that took a few days to do thoroughly.  According to the affidavit, the action of looting the ship was largely completed by February 16th.

State Counsel:  The night before the raid on the Main Island?

Witness:  Well, the day of the raid, which took place on the 16th-17th.

State Counsel:  Thank you for that clarification.  What does the affidavit say about the ship after the 16th?

Witness:  It was burned and sunk at anchor, allegedly the result of a portion of the crew becoming intoxicated.  The ship sunk after dusk on the 17th.

State Counsel:  Did you compare this statement to that of Mr. Warren, contained in People’s Exhibit 2?

Witness:  I felt that they were consistent.

State Counsel:  How so?

Witness:  The ship was captured, the raid occurred, and then the ship sank at anchor.  It is, I believe, a reasonable interpretation of the statement of Mr. Warren.

State Counsel:  Does the affidavit contain any references to the victim, F’eya-daughter-F’lani?

Witness:  The affidavit refers to a native victim.

State Counsel:  How so?

Witness:  Captain Haroldsson and some of his men were under guard on a beach.  They had been force-marched the distance from where the Hannah Deering had sunk to a point described by Captain Haroldsson as being on, quote, the southeastern part of the big island, near a large cleft rock and a tiny peninsula.”

State Counsel:  Could that be a description of Lunda Point?

Witness:  That was my interpretation.

State Counsel:  What did Captain Haroldsson state happened while they were under guard?

Witness:  According to the affidavit, he stated that on the morning of the 18th, while he and his surviving crew were under guard, they heard continual screams and cries coming from the nearby brush area.

State Counsel:  In English?

Witness:  The captain indicated he could not understand what was being said.   The screams and cries eventually ceased.  After an interval, the affidavit says, a female feline anthrop was driven from the brush down to the beach area with blows from a rifle butt, fists and feet, to the great laughter of most of the pirates.  The female had no clothes, and was clutching at her head, from where blood could be seen.  The captain stated in the affidavit that he believed the feline to be in great pain.

State Counsel:  What happened then?

Witness:  May I quote from the affidavit?

State Counsel:  Please do.

Witness:  “The young lady was taken by the shoulder and thrown down roughly onto the beach.  One of my lads got up and tried to help her, and was warned to back off, or else.  He got into a loud argument with one of the pirates, which was only interrupted by the arrival of another fur, a large boar.  The pirates immediately came to attention, and the boar asked what the hell the row was about.  One of the pirates described to him what my lad had tried to do.  The pirate thought this was funny, and gave a great roar of laughter, and told my lad that if he was really half the chivalrous lout that he fancied himself, he’d prevent him from doing what he was going to do, and no one stopped the Blood Hook from his fun.  He then started to commit an indecent assault on the poor young lady, and I had all I could do to keep my lads in line from trying to stop them.  Same damn fool who raised his voice before rushed at the boar.  The boar took out a small pistol, an automatic, from behind his neck, and dropped him with a shot to the leg from about 15 yards, which really set my lads off.  The boar yelled at his gang to lead us away, and we were marched up the beach to the brush, all of us except the lad who’d been shot, we had to carry him.  Pointless, really.  We could hear the young lady for a long time.”

State Counsel:  Thank you, Inspector.  What else was of interest to you in the affidavit?

Witness:  Captain Haroldsson had been asked to describe the pirate crew.  He knew no names, other than Red Hook, or Blood Hook, but gave a listing of the various species that comprised the crew, one of which was a rabbit.

State Counsel:  Which you took to be Mr. Warren, the fur who had confessed to Father Merino?

Witness:  I viewed that as a strong possibility.

State Counsel:  Was Blood Hook/Red Hook described?

Witness:  He was said to be a large boar, with prominent tushes, very muscular, and who spoke with a strong English accent, unlike the other pirates, who spoke with accents of the Tillamooka or Rain Island coasts.  He found that quite unusual.

State Counsel:  So, to this point, what did you conclude from the evidence?

Witness:  From the evidence that I had gathered, along with the evidence my colleagues had gathered, it was my opinion that a naval militia unit composed principally of furs from Rain Island or Tillamooka had engaged into two unlawful acts, the seizure of the Hannah Deering, and the raid on the Highlands village that resulted in the abduction of F’eya-daughter-F’lani, the victim whose remains we found earlier this year.  The unit appears to have been lead by an individual, a boar, whose nickname was either Red Hook or Blood Hook, who at a minimum seems to committed a violent physical assault on the victim that comprised a major felony.  This same individual was also seen to fire, accurately, a small automatic weapon at another fur.  This same individual was also seen to speak with a distinct English accent, as opposed to other regional accents.

State Counsel:  Thank you.  No further questions.  Your witness.

Defence:  Inspector, at no point in the affidavit that is marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 18 are any names used, correct?  By that, I mean any proper names as opposed to pseudonyms?

Witness:  That is correct.

Defence:  Inspector, in the affidavit, was the pistol identified with any precision other than the general statement that it was small, and an automatic?

Witness:  No, it was not.

Defence:  So it’s guesswork on your part that that automatic is of any relevance, correct?

Witness:  It is a conclusion I have drawn from the evidence.

Defence:  Does the affidavit state that this Red Hook or Blood Hook took part in the seizure of the Hannah Deering?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  Does the affidavit state that this Red Hook or Blood Hook gave orders in the hearing of the affiant to raid the Highlands?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  Inspector, are boars who speak with an English accent common?

Witness:  I would have no way of making a firm guess one way or the other.

Defence:  So you only make guesses from the evidence some of the time, Inspector?

State Counsel:  Objection.

Defence:  I’ll move on.  You have stated, I believe, that you have not been able to find any of the crew of the Hannah Deering, correct?

Witness:  That is correct.

Defence:  So you have only this affidavit to go on, yes?  As a witness?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  Isn’t this statement hearsay?

State Counsel:  Objection.  People’s Exhibit 18 is covered by an exception to the hearsay rules, as a document prepared in the ordinary course of business, in this case, payment of insurance claims.

Magistrate:  Sustained.  Move on, counsel.

Defence:  Certainly.  Inspector, aren’t you making a guess that Blood Hook and Red Hook are the same?

Witness:  That is my interpretation of both the affidavit of Captain Haroldsson and of the statements of Mr. Papaloo and Mr. Warren.

Defence:  Ah, Mr. Warren’s statement.  One we haven’t determined, as yet, if he was in a fit mental condition to…

State Counsel:  Objection.

Defence:  There’s a pending motion before the Court, Your Honour, on this point.  The Defence has raised an issue as to the state of mind of the witness when he gave the dying statement.

Magistrate:  Overruled, you can proceed.

Defence:  Isn’t it a fact, Inspector, that the Defence has raised the issue of whether or not Mr. Warren’s statement was made while in a condition that would have been uninfluenced by medication?

Witness:  The Defence has raised that issue, yes.

Defence:  So there’s a question of whether the statement can fairly support the affidavit of Captain Haroldsson, isn’t there?

Witness:  You’re entitled to raise that question, ma’am, in the same way I’m entitled to draw my own conclusions from the evidence.

Defence:  Indeed.  Such as whether or not the feline in the affidavit is in fact the same feline you found.  Does Captain Haroldsson’s affidavit mention any fur paint or other markings on the feline?

Witness:  No, it does not.

Defence:  So, it possible this could be a completely separate crime, unless you could show that this is the same feline, correct?

Witness:  I drew a conclusion from the Merino Enquiry…

Defence:  Another educated guess, Inspector?

State Counsel:  Objection.

Defence:  Quite a lot of them here, aren’t there?

State Counsel:  Objection.

Magistrate:  Move on, counsel.

Defence:  No further questions.

State Counsel:  One moment, Your Honour…

Magistrate:  Certainly.

State Counsel:  I’d like to show you, Inspector, People’s Exhibits 4-B and 6, being, respectively, a photograph of the back of the victim, and the Medical Examiner’s report.  What do these show about the markings on the victim?

Witness:  They show that the only extant markings were on the feline’s back, near the shoulder blades.

State Counsel:  There were no fur paint markings or oiled fur makings on the front of the cat, were there?

Witness:  No, there were not.

State Counsel:  Is that relevant to what Captain Haroldsson and his men saw?

Witness:  It would explain why they did not remark on the markings.

State Counsel:  Isn’t it a fact, Inspector, that the ears of the victim were torn?  And that Exhibit 6, the Medical Examiner’s report, shows no other wounds to the head?

Witness:  Yes, that is correct.

State Counsel:  And isn’t it a fact that Captain Haroldsson said the victim’s ears were bleeding as she was being driven down to the beach?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Could torn ears cause bleeding from the head?

Defence:  Objection.  Lack of expertise.

State Counsel:  Come now, it’s common knowledge…

Defence:  Objection, leading the witness.

Magistrate:  Counsel…the witness may answer.

Witness:  Yes, I believe it could.

State Counsel: No further questions.

Defence:  No further questions at this time.

Magistrate:  Thank heaven for that.  Court is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.


Magistrate:  The court will come to order.  It is 9.07 on the morning of December 12, 1937.  Counsel for the prosecution may continue with their case in chief.

Defence:  Just a minute, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  Yes?

Defence:  Has the prosecution produced the medical report on Mr. Warren?

Magistrate:  Well, I…

State Counsel:  Yes, Your Honour, we have it here.  I will represent to the Court that this report is signed by the doctor that treated Mr. Warren, and indicates that Mr. Warren had specifically refused any opiates or other painkillers, and thus would not have been under the influence of any medication when he gave his testimony to Father Merino.  In addition, the doctor notes that Mr. Warren’s medical condition at the time of the statement to Father Merino had taken a turn for the worse, and he had been advised that his death could come at any time. 

Magistrate:  I see.  Counsel?

Defence:  We’ll take this report under advisement, and examine it to see if my learned colleague has summarized it correctly.

State Counsel:  I’m sure you’ll find that the case.

Defence:  I’m sure you think you so.

State Counsel:  Your Honour, may the People proceed?

Magistrate:  Hmmm?  Yes, please do.

State Counsel:  Thank you, Your Honour.  I recall Inspector Stagg to the stand.

(Inspector Stagg, having previously been sworn, retook the witness stand.)

State Counsel:  Good morning, Inspector.

Witness:  Good morning.

State Counsel:  Could you summarize your testimony of yesterday, Inspector?

Witness.  Yes.  Acting on information received, the Constabulary found a grave site at Lunda Point on the Main Island containing the remains of a native priestess who had been murdered by a single gunshot to the back of the head.  Our investigation indicated that the murder, which took place twenty-five years ago, was committed by the same pirate gang that had previously attacked and sacked a cargo ship, the Hannah Deering, which had been at anchor off the Main Island.  We interviewed both a native witness and a ship’s chandler, Mr. Papaploo, who indicated that the leader of the gang responsible for the raid on Main Island and on the ship was known as either “Blood Hook” or “Red Hook.”  Subsequent investigation revealed the existence of a deposition by the master of the Hannah Deering which indicated that “Red Hook” or “Blood Hook” was a large boar who spoke with an English accent, and was seen to commit an act of violence on the victim while still alive.  This individual was also seen to have shot and wounded a member of the Hannah Deering’s crew with a small caliber automatic pistol, with great accuracy.

State Counsel:  Thank you.  Having come to that point of the investigation, what did you do next?

Witness:  It became clear to the Constabulary that tracking the existence of “Red Hook” or “Blood Hook” was going to be of great importance.  We therefore contacted the British Embassies in each of Tillamooka and Rain Island to determine if there were any mels who were porcine citizens of the United Kingdom working in either nation during the period 1911, 1912 and 1913.

State Counsel:  What was the result of this enquiry, Inspector?

Witness:  We were provided with a list of seven names, all of whom were boars that were in the two nations.  Three were in Tillamooka, and four were in Rain Island.  The embassies provided us with particulars, insofar as they were available, for all seven.

State Counsel:  Were you able to eliminate any of the seven immediately?

Witness:  One of the seven, what we called “Rain Island B,” died in a sled accident in December, 1911.  Another, “Tillamooka C,” was seriously ill with influenza during the first three months of 1912, requiring the assistance of the Embassy there in organizing his affairs.  “Rain Island C” taught at a school for the blind, being blind himself.  “Rain Island A” ran a sawmill near Seathl, and a document was produced showing him giving a statement to the Embassy there on tax matters the day of the raid on Main Island.  Thus, the enquiries with the Embassies eliminated four possibilities, leaving three.

State Counsel:  What did you do regarding the three remaining candidates?

Witness:  The three remaining candidates, which we referred to as “Tillamooka A,” “Tillamooka B” and “Rain Island D,” were each traced, and we obtained statements from all three.

State Counsel:  What did these statements indicate?

Witness:  “Tilamooka A” indicated that he had been a mate aboard a fishing vessel operating out of Dutch Harbour between 1910 and 1914.  We received a photostat of his membership booklet in the local syndicate, and the local syndicate confirmed his employment during that time.  “Tilamooka A” subsequently transferred to a local fish canning operation, where he is employed today.  “Tilamooka B” indicated that he had been a member of a naval militia, and stated that he ran into trouble with the British authorities over his service in the militia, as there was a question as to whether he had forfeited his British citizenship by serving under the flag of another nation.  We obtained copies of court proceedings in 1915 in which “Tilamooka B’s” service was examined in great detail.

State Counsel:  Did “Tilamook B” see service in the Spontoons?

Witness:  He did, at various times.  However, during February, 1912, “Tilamooka B” was a member of a crew that claimed a prize in the Orpington Islands.  The division of the prize money was of some dispute, still pending in 1915, and thus was involved in the court proceedings.

State Counsel:  Why?

Witness:  It was the contention of the British government that the acceptance of prize money while in the naval militia of another power was incompatible with British citizenship.

State Counsel:  What happened to “Tillamooka B?”

Witness:  He ended up renouncing his British citizenship, and he married a local sow.  Unusually, we were able to interview him personally, as he has occasional business in the Spontoons.  He provided us with copies of the documentation I have referred to, which we subsequently confirmed with other copies.

Defence:  Mark for reference.

(Passage marked for reference.)

State Counsel:  So you ruled out both “Tillamooka A” and “Tillamooka B?”

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  That left “Rain Island D,” then?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  What did you do then, Inspector?

Witness:  We contacted the Rain Island Naval Syndicate, which had no records of the individual we identified as “Rain Island D.”  However, when we contacted the British Admiralty, they indicated that this same individual had joined the British Navy in October, 1914 in San Francisco.

State Counsel:  I show you a document, Inspector.  What is it?

Witness:  This is a photostat of a document we received from the British Admiralty for an individual named Richard Lancaster, volunteering for service in the Royal Navy on October 29, 1914.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 19.

(Photostatic record of Statement of Voluntary Enlistment in the Royal Navy, in the name of Richard S. Lancaster, dated October 29, 1914, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 19.)

State Counsel:  In examining People’s Exhibit 19, Inspector, did you notice anything of interest?

Witness:  The statement goes into some detail as to the experience of Mr. Lancaster, and why he was qualified to serve in a senior non-commissioned officer capacity in the Royal Navy.

State Counsel:  What kind of detail?

Witness:  He indicated that he had served as the first mate on the vessel Moonelk operating out of Seathl for the previous three years, and before that with other smaller vessels operating on the Pacific Coast.

State Counsel:  Were you able to track the existence of the Moonelk?

Witness:  Enquiries were made both with Lloyds’ Ship Registry in London, and with the Marine Syndicate in Seathl.  There were no commercial vessels operating under that name in the five years previous to October, 1914 under the Rain Island flag.

State Counsel:  Why do you emphasize commercial vessels, Inspector?

Witness:  We were able to determine that there was, in fact, a naval militia vessel known as the Moonelk.  It was known by that name from April, 1911 until July, 1914, when it was wrecked in a storm off Vancouver.

State Counsel:  How did you determine that?

Witness:  The Naval Syndicate provided us with a file on the ship.

State Counsel:  Inspector, I’m going to show you a collection of papers.  What are they?

Witness:  This is the file on the Moonelk we received from the Naval Syndicate office in Seathl.  The first document, as you can see, is the commissioning of the vessel in March, 1911.  The file discusses certain voyages of the ship, and ends with the vessel being posted up as a total loss in July, 1914.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 20.

(File from the Rain Island Naval Syndicate on the vessel Moonelk marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 20.)

State Counsel:  Is there a description of the crew of this ship?

Witness:  The commander is identified as an “Osbert York.”

State Counsel:  Osbert York?

Witness:  Yes, sir.

State Counsel:  Were you able to find anything about this Osbert York?

Witness:  Only that there is no record of an Osbert York anywhere in any other department of the Rain Island government.  The file itself mentions that Captain York was English, and a boar.

State Counsel:  What did you conclude from this?

Witness:  We concluded that based on the affidavit given in October, 1914 to the British government, that Osbert York, commander of the Moonelk, and Richard Lancaster, of the Royal Navy, were one and the same fur, and that Richard Lancaster had made a misleading statement to the British government to obscure the fact that he had served under arms under another flag.

State Counsel:  Why would that have been a problem?

Witness:  The experience of “Tillamooka B” indicated to us that there was significant legal trouble for a British citizen that served in the naval militias.

State Counsel:  Were you able to track down Mr. Lancaster?

Witness:  Mr. Lancaster was still a serving non-commissioned officer, on board HMS Temeraire, in the Home Fleet.  We contacted the British Admiralty, and indicated our belief that Mr. Lancaster had made a false and misleading statement to the British Government in October, 1914, concerning his prior activities with the Rain Island naval militias, and that while in the service of Rain Island, Mr. Lancaster had committed at least one, possibly two serious felonies on an individual in the Spontoons in February, 1912.

State Counsel:  What was the reaction of the Admiralty?

Witness:  The matter was taken up with commendable speed by both the British Government and the British Admiralty.  As the matter involved activities before Mr. Lancaster had formally joined the Royal Navy, and an allegedly false and misleading statement that induced the Royal Navy to accept his services, an investigation was commenced and it is my understanding that hearings were held in Portsmouth, England on the matter.

State Counsel:  What was the result of these hearings?

Witness:  Mr. Lancaster was found by the court to not have a reasonable explanation for the October, 1914 statement.  As such, the court felt that his extradition to the Spontoon Islands for trial was warranted, upon the condition that the British Government be allowed to finance and participate in the defence.

State Counsel:  I show you, Inspector, a forty-nine page document.  Can you tell me what it is?

Witness:  Yes.  This is a statement of findings by a Naval Board of Enquiry, dated November 29, 1937.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibit 21.

(Findings of Naval Board of Enquiry Regarding Chief Petty Officer Richard Lancaster of HMS Temeraire, dated November 29, 1937, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 21.)

State Counsel:  Can you explain the rapidity of this enquiry?

Witness:  The Board of Enquiry took note of the evidence of Inspector Thompson of the Criminal Investigation Department of Scotland Yard.  The report indicates that Scotland Yard had made their own enquiries into the matter, and had confirmed the evidence we had provided them.

State Counsel:  What happened then?

Witness:  The British Government agreed to extradite Mr. Lancaster to the Spontoon Islands.  It is my understanding that Ms. Karoksdottir, counsel for the defence, was engaged on that date, along with a Consular Officer from the British Embassy here in the Spontoons.  We provided our file and a copy of the indictment to them.

State Counsel:  Thank you.  Your witness.

Defence:  A commendably quick investigation, Inspector. 

Witness:  The investigation took approximately two months.  There really is no standard time for an investigation into a murder.

Defence:  Especially a twenty-five year old murder.  Tell me, Inspector, do you have any witnesses regarding the defendant’s service in the Rain Island naval militia?  For example, the other British national, the one you called “Tillamooka B.”  Did you ask him if he knew Osbert York?

Witness:  We did.

Defence:  Well, did he?

Witness:  Only by reputation.

Defence:  So not by sight?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  So you could not bring Mr. Tillamooka B into this court and identify my client as Osbert York?

State Counsel:  Objection.  Asked and answered.

Magistrate:  Overruled.  You may answer.

Witness:  No, we could not.

Defence:  You’re convinced Osbert York is a false name?

Witness:  I found it interesting in that there was a juxtaposition of York and Lancaster.

Defence:  But other than your taste in medieval English history, Inspector, you had no evidence to tie the two together?

Witness:  I have the statement that is People’s Exhibit 19.

Defence:  Yes, yes.  People’s Exhibit 19.  Tell me, Inspector, does Lloyd’s register every single ship in the world?

Witness:  I could not answer that, ma’am.

Defence:  Isn’t it possible that there was a ship, a commercial ship, called the Moonelk, that wouldn’t have made it into the records?

Witness:  I could not say.

Defence:  Isn’t your theory based on the fact that the Moonelk referred to in People’s Exhibit 19 must be the same vessel referred to Exhibit 20?

Witness:  That is my belief.

Defence:  But can you state with 100% certainty that they must be the same?

Witness:  I believe them to be the same.

Defence:  But with 100% certainty, Inspector?

Witness:  Very few things meet that standard, ma’am.

Defence:  In a murder trial, Inspector, isn’t it a good idea to be 100% certain?

State Counsel:  Objection.

Defence:  I’ll move on.  By the way, Inspector, in Exhibit 20, do you find a listing for a Stanley Warren in there?

Witness:  No.

Defence:  Aren’t you surprised by that?  If Mr. Warren was in the crew, which is how the whole chain of evidence starts…

Witness:  It is my belief that false names were used.  Certainly I believe that Mr. Lancaster used a false name, and I believe Mr. Warren used a false name.

Defence:  But…let’s see…yes, Exhibit 17, the ledger of Mr. Papaloo.  Inspector, isn’t it true that Mr. Warren used his real name there?  When he tried, allegedly, to sell some gear from the Hannah Deering?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  So why would Mr. Warren use a false name in one place, and a true name in another place?

Witness:  I could not say.

Defence:  Inspector, did you ask if the defendant had a gun?

Witness:  Yes.

Defence:  Did he?

Witness:  A personal sidearm?  No, he did not.

Defence:  So you don’t have the alleged murder weapon, correct?

Witness:  Yes, that is correct.

Defence:  Nor do you have a witness that can tie the defendant to the Moonelk, in the sense of actually being there, correct?

Witness:  No, we do not have such a witness.

Defence:  Inspector, doesn’t People’s Exhibit 21 refer to the defendant’s record since he joined the Royal Navy 23 years ago?

Witness:  There is a reference to it, yes.

Defence:  There’s no listing of action consistent with a pirate, is there?

State Counsel:  Objection.  Basis of…

Defence:  I’ll rephrase.  The defendant has not been accused of any felonies while in Royal Navy service, has he?

Witness:  The exhibit does not make reference to it, no.

Defence:  Do you have any idea why the Royal Navy would railroad my client…

State Counsel:  Objection.

Defence:  Your Honour, the record shows that the enquiry described in People’s Exhibit 21…

State Counsel:  That is no evidence of railroading, and the remark should be struck from the record.

Defence:  The defence wants it clear that there is…

Magistrate:  You’ll have a chance in closing argument to make that case, counsel.  Move on.

Defence:  No further questions.

State Counsel:  No questions.

Magistrate:  Very well.  You may step down, Inspector.

(The witness stepped down from the witness box.)

State Counsel: That concludes the case in chief, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  I see.

Defence:  The defence makes a motion for a directed verdict.

State Counsel:  Opposed.

Defence:  The defence moves on the basis that the People have not shown a case that is sufficient to go to a jury.  We have no live witnesses to the actions imputed to my client, no physical evidence such as the murder weapon.  The entire case by the People is one long chain of suppositions.

State Counsel:  Which it is the prerogative of the jury to weigh, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  Well, be that as it may, counsel, I’m inclined to agree with the prosecution.  The jury is entitled to place whatever weight they wish to on the evidence supplied by the People.  It’s gone this far, so I’m going to let it go to your case.  Speaking of which, will you be starting today?

Defence:  Yes.

Magistrate:  Then let’s take a short break, and we will resume.

(Court recessed for fifteen minutes.)


Magistrate:  The court will come to order.  Is the Defence ready with its case?

Defence:  Yes, Your Honour.  We will be presenting one witness, the defendant.

Magistrate:  What?  Really?  Counsel, you have advised the defendant of his…

Defence:  Yes.

Magistrate:  …rights in the matter, and that he…

Defence:  Yes.

Magistrate:  …is not obligated to be a witness and make statements.

Defence:  I have made that clear, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  You have?

Defence:  I have.

Magistrate:  And the defendant?

Defence:  Wishes to proceed.  On his initiative.

Magistrate:  Very well.  Call your witness.

Defence:  I call to the stand Chief Petty Officer Richard Lancaster.

(Chief Petty Officer Richard Lancaster was sworn in by the Court, and seated in the witness box.)

Defence:  State your name for the record.

Witness:  Chief Petty Officer Richard Lancaster.

Defence:  What is your address?

Witness:  Currently care of His Majesty’s Ship Temeraire, that is, if the toffs haven’t…

Magistrate:  The witness shall confine his answers to the question posed.

Witness:  What is your nationality?

Defence:  I am a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, not that I seem to have the rights…

Magistrate:  I caution the witness again…

Defence:  I’m not here to answer questions, I’m here to make a damned statement.

Magistrate:  I caution…

State Counsel:  The People have no objection to the witness making a statement.

Witness:  Isn’t that big of you.

Defence:  Your Honour, the defence will let the witness speak for himself.

Witness:  And about damned time, too.  The only true thing you’ve said is that I’m being railroaded, and I’m pretty damned sure I know by who, too.  I know a few interesting things that certain furs don’t want spread about widely, so they’re figuring on a way to get me out of the way for a while, and if it’s at the end of a hangfur’s noose, so much the better.  This whole proceeding has been a farce from beginning to end, make no mistake.  You couldn’t hang a dog on the kind of evidence you’ve presented.  No sane jury would ever convict on this batch of damned lies, one after the other.  This whole thing is nonsense.  Sure, I served with Rain Island, and you’d better believe I didn’t go advertising it at the top of my lungs.  But I’ve given the Royal Navy good, hard service, all through the war and this mess the toffs have put us into.  You don’t get these campaign ribbons from sending in labels from Buckhorn’s Beans.  No, not by a damned long shot.  It’s too bad this native got killed, but that’s life.  You’re not going to…

Magistrate:  Bailiff, will you see what that disturbance is?  Continue.

Witness:  Like I said, you’re not going to pin this on me.  I’ve never been here before in my life, and you can be damned sure that I’m never coming back here, either.  Didn’t get enough from throwing us out, eh?  Looking to get back at King and Country, one fur at a time?  You don’t have a shred of evidence, because there is no evidence.  There’s no fur who can point the finger at me and say that “he did it.”  Because it never existed.  He never existed.  This whole rubbish about pirates – somefur’s been filling your head with a lot of sentimental claptrap about raids and suchlike.  Well, you’re not going to pin it on Dickie Lancaster, and none of the big boys are going to, either.  For all anyfur knows, it’s their paws that a red, not mine.

Magistrate:  Well, what is it…?  Please continue.

Witness:  No, I’ve said my piece.  And now…

Magistrate:  You have to stay there until the prosecution questions you.

Witness:  On what?

Magistrate:  It’s not for the likes of you to go around questioning the Court.

State Counsel:  Your Honour, the…excuse me?

Magistrate:  I beg your pardon.  Bailiff, please clear the jury and the Court.

(The bailiff proceeded to escort the jury to the jury room, and cleared the Court of spectators.)

Magistrate:  I would inform counsel that I have been handed a note that purports…in fact, I think I would prefer to see counsel in chambers.  Ten minute recess.

(A recess of ten minutes was taken.)

Magistrate:  Back on the record.

Defence:  Your Honour, the Defence would like it known that it considers this process irregular.  Notice was not given to the Defence of this matter.

State Counsel:  Your Honour, the People had no knowledge of this matter until it was raised by the Court.  There can be no question of misleading the Defence.

Defence:  And how is this going to be explained to the jury?

State Counsel:  I would think that we should present the matter to the jury and let them…

Defendant:  What’s going on here, then?

Magistrate:  You are out of order, sir.

Defendant:  The devil I am, I’ve got a right to know what’s going on…

Magistrate:  Counsel for the Defence will restrain her client.  Did the Defence only wish to put on the one witness?

Defence:  Yes, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  Did you have any physical evidence to present?

Defence:  No, Your Honour.

State Counsel:  The People wish to present a rebuttal witness.

Defendant:  What bloody witness?  What’s this game?

Magistrate:  I’m going to have order in this Court, d’ye hear?  Bailiff, bring the jury back in.  When they’re settled, the People can call their rebuttal witness.

State Counsel: Are we to let spectators back in, sir?

Magistrate:  Hmm?  Oh, yes.  Bailiff, let them back in, too.

(The jury was reseated and the spectators were let back in.)

State Counsel:  The jury calls Alexander Fisher to the stand.

(Alexander Fisher was sworn in, and was seated in the witness box.)

State Counsel:  State your name for the record.

Witness:  Alexander Fisher.

State Counsel:  What is your address?

Witness:  The Pines, Old Ferry Road, Cape Sanctuary, Colony of Newfoundland.

State Counsel:  What is your citizenship?

Witness:  I am a citizen of the Colony of Newfoundland.

State Counsel:  What is your profession?

Witness:  Since 1913, I have been a clerk with the Ministry of Fisheries of the Colony of Newfoundland.

State Counsel:  You say since 1913.

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  What were you before that?

Witness:  Before that, I was an employee of the Blue Ball Line of San Francisco.  My last position with them was as a purser.

State Counsel:  A purser?

Witness:  Yes, aboard their ship the Hannah Deering.

Magistrate:  The Court admonishes the audience to keep order, or it will be cleared from the Court.  Proceed, counsel.

State Counsel:  So, before 1913, you were on the Hannah Deering?

Witness:  Actually, before February, 1912.   That was when the Hannah Deering was destroyed in a pirate raid.  My employment with the Blue Ball Line ended in 1913.

State Counsel:  Do you have any evidence of this?

Witness:  Yes, sir.  Many of my papers were destroyed when the Hannah Deering was sunk, but this is my contract with the shipping line from 1909, when I initially signed on as the assistant purser, and these are the letters I received from the shipping line when I left their employ in 1913.  You can see these refer to my position as purser on board the Hannah Deering.

State Counsel:  Mark for identification as People’s Exhibits 22 and 23-A, 23-B and 23-C.

(Contract between the Blue Ball Shipping Line, Ltd. and Alexander Fisher, dated as of January 1, 1909, marked for identification as People’s Exhibit 22.  Letters from the Blue Ball Shipping Line to Alexander Fisher dated May 12, 1912, October 4, 1912, and February 7, 1913 marked as People’s Exhibits 23-A, 23-B and 23-C.)

State Counsel:  We will have copies of these documents made, and return the originals to you, after counsel for the Defence has had a chance to review them.

Witness:  Thank you.

State Counsel:  What does a purser do?  Or, rather, what did you do when you were on the Hannah Deering?

Witness:  The purser was generally in charge of the ship’s funds and certain of the crew’s funds that were put in his safekeeping.  In certain cases, other items of value were put in my care.

State Counsel:  How?

Witness:  I had a small iron safe in my office, and there was also another safe in the captain’s cabin.

State Counsel:  So you were often in the captain’s cabin?

Witness:  Yes.  Both as a purser and as an officer in general.  This was particularly true when we were taking on supplies.

State Counsel:  Oh?

Witness:  Yes. 

State Counsel:  Just a moment.  Your Honour, we want to recall George Papaloo.  Is he in court?

Magistrate:  Bailiff?  Yes, he is in court.

State Counsel:  I recall George Papaloo to the stand.

(The witness stepped down.  George Papaloo, being previously sworn, took the stand.)

State Counsel:  Mr. Papaloo, do you recognize the gentlefur who was just on the stand.

Witness:  Yes.  I recall him.  He was, as he said, the purser of the Hannah Deering.

State Counsel:  How would you know that?

Witness:  He was the fur who actually handed me the money for supplies, on the captain’s orders.  Here!  Where’s my ledger?

State Counsel:  Uhhh…uhhh, oh, yes, here it is.  I show you People’s Exhibit 17, can you…hey!

Witness:  It’s here, it’s here somewhere, where the hell – ah!  Here it is, look, look!

State Counsel:  Um, the witness is…oh! 

Witness:  Look, don’t you see?  There’s that fellow’s signature right there, he signed for some supplies, two days before the pirates came.

State Counsel:  Errr, yes, well…

Witness:  You’ve got his contract there, don’t you?

State Counsel: Oh!  Um…yes, People’s Exhibit 22, I…well, I’ll be damned.

Defence:  Well, don’t be damned, be informative.

State Counsel:  It is the position of the People that the signature on the contract that is People’s Exhibit 22 and the ledger that is People’s Exhibit 17 are the same.

Witness:  See?  I told you.

State Counsel:  Err.

Defence:  The Defence objects.  There is no expert testimony on whether the two signatures are the same.

Witness:  But see here, Miss, I saw that fur sign the book, I’m telling you that’s his signature.

State Counsel:  And if Mr. Fisher says that is his signature on the contract, then the jury…

Defence:  The Defence renews its objection.

Magistrate:  Taken under advisement.  Any questions of the witness?

Defence:  Not at this time.

State Counsel:  We recall Alexander Fisher to the stand.

(George Papaloo stepped down, and Alexander Fisher, being previously sworn, retook the stand.)

State Counsel:  Err, do you, ah, recognize that gentlefur?

Witness:  Yes.  Mr. Papaloo sold us various ship’s supplies and other local goods, most notably brandy, beer and ice.

State Counsel:  I’m sorry, did you say ice?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  On board a ship?

Witness:  Yes.  When we had ice, it was kept in an icebox.

State Counsel:  Err, yes, ah.  Damnit, where is…oh, right.  Errr, I show you People’s Exhibit 10, sir.  Do you recognize it?

Witness:  I believe that to be the icebox from the Hannah Deering.  It’s pretty damaged, but I remember that woodwork.  And it was a Thermodaire.  It was brought on board just before my second voyage on the Hannah Deering, in the summer of 1909.  It was quite expensive, but the master of the vessel was the senior master in the firm at the time, and he had pull.

State Counsel:  I see, I see.  Tell me, what did happen when the Hannah Deering came to the Spontoons in February, 1912?

Witness:  It was a fairly routine voyage.  We had a mixed cargo of general merchandise, mostly cloth, assorted sundries…I remember we had a case of flat irons that we were delivering.  We were also supposed to pick up a cargo of the local brandy.  We arrived on February 11th, and began unloading cargo on February 12th.  We had to do it fairly quickly, because the weather was turning bad.  It started raining heavily just before dusk on the 12th, and the crew knocked off for the night.  We had a watch that was lighter than usual, because a few furs were on liberty.  When we arrived on the 11th, as was my habit, I went over to the Papaloo firm and made arrangements for supplies, which were also delivered on the 12th.  So the ship was pretty active and crowded, then.

State Counsel:  I see.  What happened next?

Witness:  Well, the furs that were on liberty came back very late that night, so a few of the officers, including myself, were dealing with it, when there was a gunshot, followed by a few more gunshots.  What happened was a few furs had rowed up in the dark and had boarded the ship in two separate places, while we were occupied.

State Counsel:  How many furs?

Witness:  I’d say about fifteen or so.  All of them were armed with rifles, and most had knives as well.

State Counsel:  Did they identify themselves?

Witness:  Not initially.  They told everyone on deck to lie down and put their paws on top of their head.  They were able to take over the ship in a few minutes, the time being what it was.

State Counsel:  Did you see who the leader was?

Witness:  They didn’t have a leader, as far as I could tell, until a little later.  The furs with the rifles started going through the ship, after herding all of the crew on deck.  I was face down until one of the furs grabbed me by the back of the neck and took me to another part of the deck.

State Counsel:  Who was there?

Witness:  A pawful of furs.  They were all gathered around what I recognized was the safe from my office, as well as the captain’s safe.  They ordered me to open both of them.

State Counsel:  Did you?

Witness:  Yes.  I was being held at gunpoint.  There was, I suppose, a few thousand dollars in the safe, and some of it was in double-eagle gold pieces, which caused an argument to break out among the furs.  It was stopped.

State Counsel:  By whom?

Witness:  By the arrival of their leader.

State Counsel:  Who was that?

Witness:  A large boar, very muscular, prominent tushes.  He told the furs to knock it off, or he would knock their heads together, and ordered the coins bagged up and handed to him.  He also began giving orders to a party of furs that was moving the icebox.

State Counsel:  Moving the icebox?

Witness:  Yes.  The boar thought it was quite handy, and would look good in his cabin.  They got six of our crew to carry the box, under guard.

State Counsel:  What happened next?

Witness:  Well, the gang went through the ship, looking for loot.  They got a hold of the native brandy that we had brought on board, and a few of the furs got drunk.  I didn’t see exactly what happened, but the ship began to take on water and list.  She eventually sank on the evening of the 15th-16th, after they’d gotten the last of the loot off.

State Counsel:  I show you People’s Exhibit 15, some extracts from reports made to the insurers at Lloyd’s regarding the Hannah Deering and her destruction on February 13-16, 1912.  Can you comment on them?

Witness:  (reads)  I would agree with these reports.  The facts are accurate as I remember them.

State Counsel:  So what happened after the ship was destroyed?

Witness:  Well, for the next few days, while the ship was being looted, we were all used as navvy labour, carrying around various things for the gang, including the icebox.  Six of us carrying that damned thing all around the island.  Got punched and kicked in payment for it, too.

State Counsel:  Why were you carrying around the items?

Witness:  The gang was looking to loot, especially since they said there was going to be some of what they called “friendly competition” from some other crews, and they had to get what they could get before the others got to it.  Three days after our ship started to sink, and the night it finally sank, about 2/3 of the pirates, not including the leader, went into the interior of the island.  That night, we could see fires, and we saw smoke all over the island, and a few of the nearby islands, too.

State Counsel:  Do you know where you were?

Witness:  We were near a very large rock that had a peculiar crack in it, going from top to bottom.  There was a long finger of land that jutted out into the water, and at the other end led up into a little bluff.  All of us were under guard, though some of us were allowed to gather some seaweed or small mollusks to eat raw.  Anyway, about mid-morning, we began to hear these shrieks and cries coming from the greenery up near the bluff, like a fur was being hurt.  It went on for a number of minutes, and then at the end of it, a femmefur came out of it, bleeding from her head.  She didn’t have anything on, and she was moving like she was hurt on the inside, too.

State Counsel:  Was anyone with her?

Witness:  One the gang members, who was using a rifle butt on her.

State Counsel:  What did he do?

Witness:  Well, he made a comment about her jewels and treasure, and began to slap her about the head, where she was hurt.  Captain Haroldsson saw that I was getting hot, and told me not to be a damned fool, and to keep my muzzle shut.

State Counsel:  Did you?

Witness:  No, sir, I got up, and I was told by the gang to sit back down, or I’d get it in the neck.

State Counsel:  What happened next?

Witness:  Well, I didn’t keep my muzzle shut, and I was yelling pretty hard at the gang.  At that point, the leader came back.

State Counsel:  The leader?

Witness:  Yes, the boar.  He wanted to see what the yelling was about, and when he saw the feline there, he said to me, and I’ll never forget this:  “Well, Sir Galahad, if you’re half the fur of chivalry you are, you’re going to stop me from having a little fun like this, won’t you?”

State Counsel:  What did he mean by that?

Witness:  He began…well.  Do I have to describe it?

Defence:  Objection.  Evidence is overly inflammatory.

Magistrate:  Not a valid objection, counsel, given the nature of the evidence.  Proceed.

Witness:  Well, sir.  He took off his shirt and trousers, and began to do…well.

Magisrate:  There is going to be order in this Court, or I will clear it.  Bailiff, keep those furs in line.  Continue.

Witness:  Well, the gang had their hands full keeping us in line, that’s all I can say.  At least that was the case.

State Counsel:  What did you do?

Witness:  Well…well, I saw red, sir.  I had a sister that looked a whole lot like this one, and you know how it is.  Anyhow, I didn’t listen to my captain, and I went up and went after the boar.  He took a gun from somewhere…I don’t know where…and he shot me in my leg, and he dropped me.  And then he continued to do things to the lady.  I could hear shriek.  I can still hear her shriek, all these years later.

State Counsel:  What happened next?

Witness:  Well, Captain Haroldsson called me a God-damned fool, but he had a few fellows pick me up.  We were marched off by an escort, leaving everything behind.  I was going in and out from the pain, but the last thing I recall was a long, drawn-out scream, followed by crying.

State Counsel:  And that was the last you saw of the feline?

Witness:  Yes.

State Counsel:  Mr. Fisher, I show you People’s Exhibit 6, the Medical Examiner’s report.  I draw your attention to the photographs contained in that report.  Do you recognize anything in the photographs?

Witness:  That’s the femmefur I saw being…well, that’s her.

State Counsel:  What happened after you left the scene?

Witness:  Well, as I said, I was in and out from the pain.  They got some sort of half-doctor, a missionary, to attend to me, and about a week after all of this happened, a ship came to take us back to San Francisco, and I was put in the hospital.  I couldn’t really walk again, the shot had got me right in the bone, and I got pensioned off by the Blue Ball Line.  The government of Newfoundland eventually got me a job, and I’ve been there ever since.

State Counsel:  And this boar, who robbed your ship and assaulted the young femmefur.  Do you recognize him?

Witness:  He’s sitting right there, next to that vixen.  That’s him.

(The Magistrate ordered the clearing of the Court after a disturbance in the audience.)

State Counsel:  No further questions, your witness.

Defence:  How is it, Mr. Fisher, that you come to this case so late?

Witness:  I only got a clipping in the mail about this case a week ago.  It was an advertisement in the San Francisco Call-Bulletin from some weeks ago, asking for information about the Hannah Deering.  I guess no one thought to take out advertisements in Newfoundland.

Defence:  Who paid for your trip?

Witness:  I did, ma’am.

Defence:  So you came here of your own volition?  No one encouraged you to?

Witness:  Didn’t need any encouragement, ma’am.

Defence:  You didn’t see the actual murder, did you?

Witness:  No, ma’am.

Defence:  You were gone from the area of Lunda Point, weren’t you?

Witness:  Well, I was gone from that area, ma’am.  Don’t know it was called Lunda Point.

Defence:  And the victim was still alive at that point?

Witness:  If you call her existence after what she’d gone through living, I suppose.

Defence:  How can you be sure that the defendant is the boar you saw, more than twenty-five years ago.

Witness:  Well, sure as I’m sitting here, I recall that voice, when he was sitting up here where I am.  I’m not going to forget that.  But there’s one other thing, one thing your detectives I bet overlooked.

Defence:  Oh, and what’s that?

Witness:  Make that guy over there take off his shirt, and show his back.

Defence:  I…what?

Defendant:  God-damnit to hell, there is no way…I’ve got my rights!  You can’t do…

Magistrate:  Bailiff, control that fur.  What do you mean…

State Counsel:  Motion by the People to compel the Defence to produce evidence.

Magistrate:  What?

Defence:  What?

State Counsel:  The People ask that the Defence produce the back of the defendant for visual inspection.

Magistrate:  Good Lord.  I…well…

Defence:  The Defence objects.

State Counsel:  The witness has stated the existence of this alleged evidence or not.  Goes to credibility of the witness.  The People press their motion.

Defence:  The Defence renews its objection.  The People can’t ambush the defence like this.  A surprise witness, and a surprise exhibit, all at once?

Magistrate:  I’m sorry, Kara, but he’s right, you know.  Overruled.  Bailiff, you and your deputies remove the shirt of the defendant and present…get him under control, damnit!...and present it to the court.

(The Defendant’s shirt was removed after an interval.)

Magistrate:  Good God!

State Counsel:  Ahhh…errr.  For the record, let it be shown that the Defendant has, tattooed upon his back, a large anchor with rope…

Witness:  A fouled anchor, it’s called.

State Counsel:  Thank you, a large fouled anchor.  The anchor is coloured…I think carmine is the word I’m looking for.

Witness:  No.  The word is “red.”  Or, perhaps, “blood.”  There’s your Blood Hook, the same one I saw on the beach twenty-five years ago.  I couldn’t save that poor young fur then, but God as my witness, I’m not going to fail her a second time.

Defendant: (incoherent)

Magistrate:  I believe, counsel, it’s still your witness.

Defence:  No further questions.

State Counsel:  No further questions.

Magistrate:  Mr. Fisher, you may step down.

(The witness stepped down from the box.)

Magistrate:  I think it would be best if we adjourned for the day.  Closing arguments from the People and the Defence tomorrow, and then I will charge the jury.  Court is adjourned.


Magistrate:  This proceeding will come to order.  It is 9.01 on the morning of…morning of December 13, 1937.  And…where is the Defendant, counsel?

Defence:  Ask the People.

Magistrate:  Eh?

State Counsel:  The Defendant is dead, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  What?!  What?!  I….damnit, don’t make me clear the Court again, this isn’t some damned circus.  Silence, now!  What the hell do you mean, dead?

State Counsel:  The Defendant was found dead in his cell at lights-out last night, Your Honour.

Magistrate:  What the hell happened, suicide?  Didn’t the Constabulary have a watch on?

State Counsel:  As a matter of fact, Your Honour, they did.  The Defendant had dinner with counsel and a Consular Officer from the British Embassy between the hours of eight and nine.  Counsel then left…

Defence:  That’s all true.

State Counsel: …and the Defendant was with the Consular Officer for a further half hour.  After he left, the Defendant was led to the toilet, returned, undressed for bed, and as lights-out was going to occur, was found dead in bed.

Magistrate:  Of all the…well, did someone think to call a doctor?

State Counsel:  Doctor Meffit was called, sir.  He performed an examination, and then an autopsy.  Apparently, the Defendant died of a heart attack.

Magistrate:  Poison?

Defence:  Common pot, Your Honour.  And they checked his toiletries, too.  And truth be told, the Defendant was quite upset through the whole meeting, saying that he was going to write some kind of a letter.

Magistrate:  Letter?  What about?

Defence:  I couldn’t say.  No letter, I’m told, was found.

Magistrate:  Well, for heaven’s…well, aren’t you going to make a motion, counsel?

State Counsel:  Well, I move that the case against Richard Lancaster be dismissed, on the grounds of his decease.

Magistrate:  Granted.  Gentlefurs of the jury, you are dismissed.  Thank you for your service.



(Paw-written notes in the script of Kara Karoksdottir, on the copy of this transcript.)

    Well, at least my record in murder trials is unblemished, at 1 trial, no verdict.  Now I see why my partner is the one who handles these things.  Disgusting process, murder trials.  Don’t know how my little brother deals with these investigations.  I’ll stick to breach of promise and contracts from now on, thank you.

    The Wise Ones, surprisingly, didn’t hold my defence of Lancaster against me.  In point of fact, they seemed to be very sanguine about the whole thing.  One of my aunts shrugged her shoulders at me and said that the matter was taken care of at its heart.  Odd choice of words, but Wise Ones always do that.  Keeps one off balance.

    Even more odd: you’d expect the British Embassy to raise hell over one of their citizens dying in chokey, on the eve of his trial going to jury.  Not a peep, not a word of protest.  The Embassy lad, the one I had dined with (black-furred canine, rather rough-looking), in particular seemed pretty matter of fact about it.  Very, very strange, if you want my view.

    I did get my retainer, paid in full, by the Embassy.  I stuck the cheque in the back of my desk, and I hope, please the Gods, I’ll never see the damn thing again.

    Fisher left the Islands right after his testimony, and went back home.  He seemed relieved by the whole thing.  I wonder if he knows Lancaster is dead.

    Crane, as usual, made a fuss over Lancaster dying in jail, but nothing ever turned up, so he turned his attention to more pressing matters.  Which, in his case, involves pictures of Euro femmefurs without their clothes.  Voluntarily, of course.

    Stagg and Meffit seemed pretty gloomy over the turn of events, though with Stagg, you never can tell.  This time of year, he’s always gloomy.  Meffit, at least, has the distraction of his new little thing who, in the whole scheme of things, is evening up the metaphysical score.  She’s already pretty noticeable.  Quite a lively event, that one, though from what I’ve heard, you wouldn’t in one million years be able to show an atom of lack of consent.

    Father Merino was tight-lipped about it.  Karok told me once that he cursed a pirate to death back in ’12, but I think that was my little brother making stuff up.  Bit of variety from bashing a pirate over the head with a club.  I’ve always wondered what he  (Father Merino) really, truly thinks about Wise Ones.  Or vice versa, for that matter.

    A storm blew up about a week after the trial, a good old-fashioned winter howler.  There was a subsidence at Lunda Point.  It isn’t there any more.  The spit of land is gone, the bluff is gone, and it looks like the rock got split fully and was washed away, out to sea.  It’s as if the whole thing was being wiped clean, like you do with a blackboard slate.  Makes you think.


to a sequel... "Invoking Cloture"

            Story pages
                Gunboat War History & Tales
                    Inspector Stagg
                      A sequel: "Invoking Cloture"