A Disciple of Lionel Terry. (1909, June 19). Marlborough Express, p. 5. Retrieved from



(Before Mr T. Scott-Smith, S.M.)

The police appeared this morning to prosecute Ernest Sutton, on two charges, one of assaulting Chong Lee on the 17th June at Blenheim, and the other of committing wilful damage to one window, the property of Chong Lee, on the same date.

Mr Rogers appeared on behalf of the Chinaman, and Sergeant-Major Mason prosecuted. A plea of not guilty was entered, defendant being represented by counsel.

Chong Lee, who was sworn in Chinese style, by the blowing out of a match, said he was a fruiterer in Market Street. On the 17th a man came into his shop and insulted him. The defendant was the man. He met the young man, who took hold of his hand. The young man was sober. He was calling witness bad names. He did not want to buy anything. He challenged witness out to fight. Witness told him to go out. Sutton went out. Sutton tried to hit witness before he went out. He put his arm round witness and tried to hit him. The window was broken some hours after. Sutton broke it. Another Chinaman was in the kitchen, and when he came into the shop Sutton ran away. Sutton put his elbow through the window as he went out of the shop.

Cross-examined: The assault was committed at Benning's corner. It was then that Sutton put his arm round witness.

His Worship: I think the John understands English better than the interpreter.

Sergt.-Major Mason said that he sympathised with the Court.

Witness was asked if he would answer counsel's questions if he understood them, but all that counsel could get out of him was that he did not "savee."

Witness then endeavoured to give the Magistrate a gesticulating display of what took place, and the magistrate evidently understood him, which was more than the reporter did.

By way of an interpreter and by direct answers in English the evidence of the witness was eventually completed, the gist of which, is given in the opening sentences of this report. The magistrate said it was most unsatisfactory. It was only guessing at the evidence. Half way through the evidence the interpreter said it would be better that the witness answer in English, saying: "Him talk himself; him understand."

Witness, in answer to further questions: His mate ran after Sutton with a stick in his hand. After the assault at Benning's corner, Sutton followed witness along the street into his shop, using insulting language.  Witness would swear that Sutton broke the window as he rushed out of the shop. He did the damage deliberately, and not by accident.

Walter Longman remembered the occurrence. He saw Chong Lee passing through the Square and Sutton accosted him. At Benning’s he saw Sutton put his arm round the Chinaman's neck. Sutton appeared to have a little drink in him. Sutton was shaping up to Chong Lee and wanted to fight him. The two were going in the same direction, the Chinaman in front. He could not say whether the Chinaman spoke to Sutton or not; witness was not near enough. Sutton was the attacking party.

Henry Martin saw the occurrence. When he saw Chong Lee first he was at Benning's corner; and Sutton put his arm round his neck.  Chong Lee shoved the defendant off with a parcel he had in his hand. Chong Lee then went on towards his shop and Sutton followed.  He was at the Rotunda about 50 or 60 yards away. There were not a great many people in the Square at the time. Unless there was some provocation it would be a peculiar proceeding on the part of Sutton.

To the Magistrate: Sutton was on the right-hand side of the street.

Ah Yee deposed that he was employed by Chong Lee. He was in the shop in Market Street North on the evening in question. He knew the accused, but did not see him come into the shop. He heard accused invite Chong Lee to fight. He saw accused break the window with his elbow. He would swear that he intended to break the window.

To the Magistrate: He recognised Sutton as the man who broke the window.

To Counsel: Sutton ran away after the window was broken.

Constable Bennett stated that he was on duty on Wednesday evening last and had received a complaint from Chong Lee to the effect that Sutton had broken his window, and he identified him. When witness spoke to accused the latter denied the accusation. Subsequently when witness served him with a summons he stated that the Chinaman broke the window with a broom.

Constable Dunphy stated that when he spoke to accused on the matter, he did not deny the allegation.

To Counsel: Chong Lee did not recognise accused when he was first taken to identify him, but subsequently recognised him as the man. Witness explained that when he first spoke to accused the latter asked him if he was an Englishman and if he did not think that the Chinese should not be allowed in the Colony. Witness replied that he did not want to discuss the Asiatic question with him.

Edgar Weaking deposed that he saw the defendant strike the Chinaman. He heard the crack, but did not see the window broken. He had known Sutton for the past, month. Sutton was merry.

Sergt.-Major Mason said he would like to show that this young man was imbued with an extraordinary bias against Chinamen in general.

To Sergt.-Major Mason: Witness had never heard Sutton using threats against the Chinaman.

Defendant Sutton went into the box. He had caught the Chinaman round the neck in a jocular manner, because he had brushed him on the road. The Chinaman started muttering, and witness followed him into his shop. He never attempted to strike the man. In the evening he met Weaking and went into the shop to get fruit. The Chinaman refused to serve him, and another Chinaman followed them out with a broom-stick. Witness never touched the window. He could not tell where they got the idea that he had a set on Chinamen. He came from Australia. He was not in the habit of patronising Chinamen. He bought his fruit from Englishmen. He did not remember where he had met the Sergt-Major before. He did not remember the Sergt-Major endeavouring to talk reasonably with him.

His Worship convicted the man-on both offences, and fined him 20s and costs on the first charge, and ordered him to pay the damage to the window (15s), in default one month's imprisonment.

On an application for time to pay, the Sergt.-Major said that he did not want the young man to go to gaol, but there was too much of this Chinese lunacy about, and it would have to be put down. The young fellow was subject to morbid fits of hatred of Chinese when he got drink. Time was allowed up till Tuesday next.

  1. A Disciple of Lionel Terry. (1909, June 19). Marlborough Express, p. 5. Retrieved from


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