MANSLAUGHTER BY A SAILOR.

MELBOURNE

In the Criminal Court to-day, before Mr. Justice Hood and a jury of 12, Emil Forsell, a young Norwegian sailor, was charged with having, on November 20 last, wilfully murdered Sophia Rigg, in Latrobe street west, near to Spencer street. An interpreter had to be sworn, as accused was not sufficiently acquainted with the English language. The evidence brought to prove the case for the Crown showed that deceased was on her way to visit her son, and was spoken to by her niece. Shortly afterwards accused was seen trying to commit an offence, and when interfered with the woman was dead. Death was caused by sudden and violent suffocation. A statement was made by the prisoner to the effect that he was so drunk that he did not know what he was doing, and he thought deceased was a woman with whom he had been in company with all day. Mr. Paul, counsel for the defence, submitted that the evidence was not clear that prisoner had caused the death of Mrs. Rigg, and that he way too drunk to know what he was doing. He asked the jury to return a verdict of manslaughter. Mr. Justice Hood said the authorities seemed to show that the conviction must be murder or nothing, and later, in addressing the jury on the point, said the law was not satisfactory in this. Juries, he pointed out, refused frequently to convict in cases of illegal operations, and persons who ought to be punished escaped. After the retirement of the jury an argument was heard whether the jury could convict for manslaughter, and Mr. Justice Hood said he would instruct the jury that they could do so, and reserve a case on the point for tho Full Court. The jury having been so instructed, almost immediately returned a verdict of not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter, and accused was remanded for sentence, pending the decision of tha Full Court on the point reserved.

MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE

FITZROY

In the Criminal Court to-day Ernest Arthur Sims was charged with the manslaughter of Mary Maud Whitesides, at Fitzroy on November 19. Accused pleaded not guilty. Whitesides died from burns sustained at accused’s house. At the close of the Crown’s case Justice Hodges said that there was no clear evidence to go to the jury that deceased died from any act of the accused. By direction the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and Sims was discharged.

YOUTH CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER

Reginald Charles Burrows, 18- year-old sheet metal worker, of Percy st, West Brunswick, was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter by Mr Burke, SM, city coroner, yesterday.

Mr Burke conducted an inquest into the death of Rupert Francis Bowd, 36, of Evans st, East Brunswick, who died in Royal Melbourne Hospital on November 18. Police alleged that Burrows went to Brunswick railway platform and fought with Bowd after Burrows’ sisters had told him that Bowd had behaved offensively towards them. During the fight Bowd fell on to the railway line and suffered injuries from which he died later.

FOOTSCRAY

BOY ACQUITTED

ON MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE

Charged with the manslaughter of his mother on November 14, Desmond Stuart Charles Johnson was found not guilty at the Criminal court to-day. He had pleaded not guilty. The Crown alleged that Johnson shot his mother at their home in Footscray with a pea rifle, it was stated that the boy said at the time that his mother had been bringing men to the house. Medical reports showed that there was evidence that the mother had been drinking before she was killed.

 

KOO WEE RUP

NOT GUILTY OF MURDER

A jury in the Criminal Court to-day found Thomas Henry Kirwin, 55, of Koo Wee-Rup. not guilty of the murder and alternatively manslaughter of his brother, Francis Frederick Kirwin ,37, whose body was found in a cowshed at Kirwin’s farm on November 14. 1944. He was discharged by Mr. Justice Gavan Duffy.

Henry Thomas Kirwin, 24, of Koo Wee-Rup, son of Thomas Henry Kirwin, who had appeared with his father, had previously been found not guilty on a charge of murder and manslaughter.