Wellington Chinese History Wiki

New Zealand Truth, Issue 405, 29 March 1913





A disturbance in the Celestial quarters of Frederick-street, Wellington, on the evening of March 18 last formed the

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New Zealand Truth.(1913, March 29). Frederick-Street Fracas. NZ Truth, p. 6. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19130329.2.32

basis of a prosecution before Mr. W. G. Riddell, S.M. at the Wellington Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. The accused in the case were Vincent Furness, 27, and George Patrick Macnamara, 20, who were charged, with having assaulted one Charlie Yung Sing so as to cause actual bodily harm.

Inspector Hendrey prosecuted for the police, Mr. E. J. Fitzgrbbon appeared for Furness, and Mr. J. J. McGrath for Macnamara.

Albert Martin, medical practitioner, practising and residing at Vivian-street, Wellington, said he remembered being called to a house in Frederick-street on March 18, a little after 10 p.m., to attend to Charlie Yung Sing. Witness discovered Sing in


The doctor, described the nature of the injuries. Sing had lost a lot of blood. Wounds requiring stitching were, generally regarded as severe. The wounds could have been caused by the breaking of a bottle' on the head. Undoubtedly more than one blow was delivered.

To Mr. McGrath : He did not think a bottle had been used for carrying cold tea. The dregs appeared to be stout stains.

Charlie Yung Sing, a fruiterer, residing at 25 Frederick-street, said he remembered the night of March 18. Witness knew both the accused, who knocked at the door. Witness asked, “What do you want?”' and Furness said he wanted clothes. Witness said his place was not a laundry. This was at the backyard gate. Furness then struck him with a bottle on the forehead. Macnamara then threw a bottle,which struck him on the hip. Witness then called for-assistance. Han Fon and Annie Courtenay came to his assistance. Witness was then taken into the house, and his head, which was covered with, blood, washed. Macnamara then went into the house and Furness remained outside. When witness first saw the accused they were


One had a bottle with something in it, and the other possessed an empty bottle. To Mr. McGrath : He did not go under the name of Victor. He had been a gold-digger on the West Coast fifteen or sixteen years ago. He had been in Staffordtown. He could not remember a man named George Taylor. Witness was not the terror of the district. He never stabbed a man down there, nor appeared in court. He did not narrowly escape being murdered on one occasion. Could not exactly. remember whether he ever went under the name of Victor. He had no shop on Frederick-street, only a dwelling house; Kept a horse and cart. He lived alone. He had previously known the accused through seeing them driving a horse and cart. He did not threaten to break one of the accused's neck. When he was taken to another house, Macnamara came in to see him. That accused made no attempt to run away. Witness had


The bottle produced was the one which hit him. Furness was some feet away. The bottles were thrown almost together, one hitting him on the forehead and the other on the hip. He could swear that he had seen accused driving a cart. Witness did not touch Furness on the night of the assault. He had nothing in his hands. To Mr. Fitzgibbon : A year ago, at Shannon, he ran a market garden. He had been in Wellington twelve or thirteen years, and consorted with women in Haining-street.

Annie Courtenay, a single woman, residing in Frederick-street, remembered the occasion of March 18 last, She knew accused personally before then. First heard the last witness call out in Chinese. She did not do anything. Ying Fong went outside and witness followed. She then saw Charlie Sing and the two accused in the passage between the two houses. Witness discovered Charlie Yung Sing leaning up against the wall of the house. He was bleeding. She spoke to Furness and told him to go away and not be foolish. Witness said she would


Furness would not go, but waited until the police came. Accused had had some drink. Both accused had pickets in their hands. Witness took the pickets from them and handed them over to the police. While the constable was examining Sing, Furness disappeared.

To Mr. McGrath : Some drink was consumed on her premises occasionally. She occasionally got under the influence - with friends - some were Chinese. She had some drink on this particular afternoon. Her sister resided with her. Witness lived with a Chinese. She was not married to him. Her sister had lived with her some seven or eight months. She could not say what Sing called out when he was assaulted. She had known Sing for about ten years. Sing was really a hawker. She knew he had a row- with a woman he was keeping on Haining-street. Witness heard a smash, but did not know what it was. She afterwards found the bottle where she heard the smash. That was later. She knew Sing when he lived in Haining-street and knew of trouble with Sing in the street. She could not say if he was a troublesome man. Her house had been visited on more than one occasion by Furness and Macnamara.

Han Fon said that he, carried on a laundry business at 23 Frederick-street. He remembered the night of March 18, when Sing was injured. Witness was in bed at 10 p.m. and he heard a man call out. He called out "Help" in Chinese. He knew it was Sing by the voice. When he went out to the gate he saw Sing and the two accused there. Saw Furness strike Sing with a bottle on the head. Macnamara was then a few feet away from Sing. Witness did not see Macnamara do anything. Sing went to the gate after being struck, then returned.

John Polling, a constable stationed at Mount Cook, said that on March 18 he went to Frederick-street to the residence of a man named Sing. It was some time after 10 p.m. The two accused were in the passageway.

They had had drink. He took them to No. 23 Frederick-street, to where Sing was. Witness said to Furness, "You're the one


He made no reply. He then went into the house and examined Sing. Furness cleared away along Frederick-street. Witness pursued him, but was unable to overtake him. He returned to Macnamara, and asked him what he knew about the assault. He said he knew nothing, but he met Furness at the Cricketers' Arms and had a couple of drinks, after which they went to Frederick-street. Furness told Macnamara he was going to get some washing. Witness remained until the doctor arrived. Annie Courtenay had the bottle and two palings in her house when witness arrived.

Detective-Sergeant Cassells said he arrested Furness at 10 a.m. on March 19, and, in reply, he said, he said, "It wasn't me that did the damage ; it was Macnamara with his tea bottle." On the eve of March 20 witness saw Macnamara, when he informed him he was going to read over the statement made by Furness and advised and


in the usual way. Macnamara said, "Yes, Mr. Cassells, I threw the bottle at the Chinaman." Witness then arrested him. The Detective-Sergeant said he saw fragments of a broken bottle in the right of way the next morning, and saw the two pickets which had been removed from the fence in Sing's house.

To Mr. McGrath : The locality was a combination of beer, Chinamen, prostitutes, and broken windows. He had never been there yet without seeing liquor consumed. He did not know anything against Macnamara. He was a hard-working follow and helped to support his widowed mother. He saw one bottle that night. He did not see the fragments of the other bottle until the next morning. Witness did not show the bottle produced to Furness. The fragments of the other bottle were in the passage between the two houses. Saw Furness next morning about 10 a.m. At Furness's invitation, witness examined his arm. The biceps were considerably bruised. This was after he had arrested him. The bruise appeared to have been caused by a recent violent blow.

Both accused, who reserved their defence and pleaded not guilty were committed for trial. Bail was allowed.

See also:


  1. New Zealand Truth.(1913, March 29). Frederick-Street Fracas. NZ Truth, p. 6. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19130329.2.32