GRIGGS NOT GUILTY
STAGGERS ON HEARING VERDICT
MINISTER BECOMES HYSTERICAL IN
THOUSANDS AWAIT VERDICT IN STREET
After a retirement of 2½ hours, the jury found Ronald Griggs not guilty.
After a lengthy summing up by the judge, the jury retired at 6.20. The jury into the court at 9 p.m. and the foreman announced that it had found Griggs not guilty.
On hearing the verdict Griggs staggered, then smiled and shook hands with the warder.
The Rev. Knuckey, personal friend of Griggs, col- lapsed and became hysterical.
There was an attempt to clap, which the judge quickly suppressed. The judge ordered Griggs to be dis- charged. He left the court quietly with his friends and
entered a taxi-cab.
Thousands waited outside the court to hear the
Mr. Justice McFarlane summed up in the Griggs case. He warned the jury to free their minds of everything they had heard before the case com- menced. Before they find the accu- sed guilty, they had to be satisfied beyond doubt that he killed his wife, intentionally, by administrating or caus- ing her to take arsenic.
The sex question had entered the
case. Though we have references to the double life he was leading, it would be improper for the jury to approach the case with the idea that he had every reason to commit the crime. The onus of proof rested with the Crown,
and it could not include anyone to say that he saw Griggs administer the
poison. If he committed such a crime,
he did not have witnesses. The Crown says that he administered the poison or caused her to take it. The defence put forward the possibility of misad- venture or mistake, and stated that she might have taken poison in de- spair because she had lost her hus-
band's affection, which had been trans- ferred to Lottie Condon. In some cases circumstantial evidence was better
than witnesses, whose memories might have been at fault.
One could not help feeling resent- ment or indignation at the letter which Griggs had written to his mother-in- law with it's sham and hypocrisy.
His Honour said the main question for the jury was death caused by ar- senic poisoning. If it was, did the ac- cused administer or cause to be ad- ministered that arsenic into her sys- tem? Did he force it down her throat, or did he mix it with something that she was going to drink and which he hoped she would drink?
"Griggs said that his wife's fatal illness began before she took anything to drink in her home," said his Hon- our. "You have only his statement for that. Undoubtedly she was sick
shortly after she reached home. In his
statement to Detective Mulfahey he
G. A. Maxwell. Counsel for Griggs.
said nothing about her being sick be- fore she had taken any refreshment at home. Then it was after she had eaten that she became sick. In this court, however, he added to the state- ment by saying she became sick be- fore she had eaten."
His Honour pointed out that Dr. Mollison had expressed the opinion that there must have been more than one dose. There was not the slight- est evidence that Mr. Perry, the chem- ist, had made a mistake.
Justice McFarlane said he had pur- posely left to the last his reference to the mode in which the Crown alleged Griggs had to get rid of his wife. It was no ordinary case of a married man carrying on relations with a single wo- man, but it was a case of a clergyman who could not get rid of his wife with- out sacrificing his position in the church. He could not, by giving her cause for divorce, get rid of her. The only way he could get rid of her was to destroy her by poisoning her or by ad- ministering poison to her. The Crown case in regard to accident or suicide was that there was no reason why she should commit suicide. Against that
Late MRS C. E. GRIGGS
we have Mr. Maxwell who pointed out that a person committing suicide would have reasons which to the normal man would seem ridiculous and absurd.
His Honour said the relations with Lottie Condon had very little bearing on the case, except as reflecting on Griggs' character.
His Honour concluded summing up at half past three, after speaking for three and a quarter hours, when the jury re-