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THE ADOLPH BECK CASE.
The members of the committee appointed to inquire into the now notorious Adolph Beck case were bound to find that there was a grievous miscarriage of justice. But the public knew that before. It was ad- mitted by the release, pardon, and part compensation of the unfortunate man who has had such melancholy ex- perience of the fallibility of legal procedure. The committee therefore went further and sought to apportion the blame. This presents a twofold aspect The proceed- ings in court were at fault, say the mem- bers of the committee, because a point raised by accused's counsel at the first trial was not allowed. The Home Office is hold to be nt fault, end is severely blamed, because it took no steps to inform the po- lice so far back as 189S that Beck had been proved not to be identical with Smith, for whom he was originally mistaken. The bearing of these points will be better un- derstood by a brief summary of the facts. In 1877 one John Smith was convicted on a charge of defrauding women. In 189G Beck was arrested on a similar charge, and several women, besides the policeman who arrested Smith, swore to his identity with that criminal. An indictment alleging that he had been convicted in that name was withdrawn, but Beck was sent to prison for seven years for larceny. Released in 1900, he set to work to prove his innocence, but In the course of the present year he was arrested and convicted again on a similar charge. Sir Forrest Fulton heard the cases in 1901 and 189C, and in 1877 acted as prosecuting counsel against Smith. In 1S9S, while in prison, it was conclusively proved and tacitly admitted tCat Beck was not Smith. Now in 1904, just after Beck's conviction and before sentence was passed, Smith was again arrested for his old of fence, and the information elicited re- sulted in Beck being immediately set at liberty. A mere accident, therefore, was the means of securing to this much-In- jured man that unprejudiced inquiry which during so many years he hud been fruitlessly struggling to obtain.
The disclosures are calculated to shake public confidence in the administration of British justice and the security of those elementary personal rights conferred by the common law. Accidents must happen, and there is no such thing as absolute safe- guard against them in any of the concerns of life. So far as the misfortunes of Adolph Beck were the result of the accident of mis- taken identity they may be classed as mis- fortunes, and nothing more. But the case is different when it is known that the whole miserable business would have been pre- vented if the accused's claim to be heard in 1896 bad been admitted. He lost that right by the Common Sergeant's refusal to allow his counsel to state a case as to the exclusion of evidence referring to the alleged previous conviction. Again, had the Home Office placed the police in pos- session of the proof arrived at in 1898, that Beck was not Smith, the conviction of 1904 would have been prevented. The disagreeable inference is that the interests of justice were sacrificed to officialism here. The "Spectator," commenting on the case so far back as August last, fairly ex- pressed tile common sentiment on the sub- ject when it said that when this discovery was made "the Home Secretary had power to reopen the case, and it must seem to most people that there were already good grounds for the inquiry." It suggested that if there is insufficient machinery in existence to provide for a speedy rehearing of a case when fresh evidence is obtained, a reform is obviously needed. On this point tho committee of inquiry agrees with the "Spectator," or at least we may gather so much from its recommendation that
such change should be made in the regula- tions as -ifould compel a Judge to state a case for the consideration of the Court for Crown Cases Reserved when asked to do so.
Meeting of Parliament.-In accordance» with an arrangement entered into last Thursday evening between the Premier and the loader of the Opposition, the whole of to-day's sit- ting of the Legislative Assembly will bo de- voted to tho consideration ot Government business. After a brief list of questions is nnswered by Ministers, the Speaker will, in all probability, mako a statement regarding tho amendments made by tho Legislative Council in the Sydney Harbour Rates Bill. He will, it is understood, give a ruling as to whether or not it Avas within the power of the Council to expunge the transhipment charges from tho measuro in question. This matter disposed of, the debate on tho second reading of the Closer Settlement Bill will be resumed. It !s undersood to bo the intention of the Premier to ask members to-morrow to con- sider a resolution respecting tho Federal
Legislatvo Council.-Although the first order of the day for this afternoon on the Legislativo Council paper is tho further con- sideration in committee of the Stamp Duties (Amendment) Bill, it is not expected that the discussion will be prolonged. The greater part of the sitting will, therefore, in nil probability bo devoted to tho motion for' tho second rondins of Um Government Sa»'lr.gs Bank Bill and the debato thereon; the Vlco Prosidcnt of (bo Executive Council having intimated his intention of pressing on the measure, in view of his concession of an early adlaurnment on Thursday last. Tho only oilier item of importance is tho Centenary Park Salo Bill, but it is unlikely that it will bo reached this evening unless taken out of its turn. Somo troubla is anticipated be- tween tho two Houses in regard to tho Coun- cil's amendments lu the Harbour Rutc3 Bill.
A Cabinet Afloat.-A new departure, BO far as tho present Government Is concerned, but not unlauo in tho history of this State, was taken yesterday, when Ministers hold a Cabi- net whilst enjoying a trip round tho har- bour. They assembled on the floating Jetty at the foot^ of Phllllp-strect, and at 2.30 p.m. went aboard tho steamer Lady Hopetoun. After an absence of three hours, the steamer returnod. It was ascertained from the Pre- mier that the only matters discussed related to the Federal capital sito and the Sydney Harbour Rates Bill. In regard'to tho flrst menlloned subject, a Bories of resolutions wero drafted, and will bo submitted to the Legislativo Assembly first, immediately the Closer Settlement Bill is disposed of. It is expected this will be accomplished to-morrow evening, and thus mako way for the resolu- tions being submitted to members on Thurs- day. , »i, tVA,;^ OÍ3
Tho Close of tho Session.-The Premier ex- pressed the opinion yesterday that, so far as could be seen at presont, the session would bo brought to a close in about three wooka' time. The principal matters to bo dealt tilth aro tho Closer Settlement Bill, the Estimates, and tho Federal Capital Site question. The bill providing for the appointment of com- missioners, with power to map the State out into sblres, for the purpose of local govern- ment, would, the Premier explained, bo in- troduced into tho Legislativo Assembly to- day, and later on Iho Inrgcr raeamiro embody- ing the looal government provisions Avould be laid on tbo tablo of tho House during the week. It was learned that tho Cabinet has decided not to proceed this session with the bill to amend the Constitution, in the direc- tion of abolishing tho portfolio of Colonial Secretary, and placing tho Departments of Mines and Agriculture undor two distinct Ministers. The Premier remarked that tho Government would ask Parliament to sit un- til tho whole of tho financial measures sub- mitted were passed into law.
Sydney Harbour Rates Bill.-Questioned BB to what action tho Government proposed to take with regard to the excision by the Legis- lativo Council of tho clauses in tho Sydney Harbour Rates Bill imposing dues upon goods or material brought into Port Jackson and transhipped into oversea A'essels, the Premier remarked yesterday that the matter »vas dis- cussed that afternoon whilst holding a Cabi- net meeting on board the steamer Lady Hope- toun. Ministers wero agreed as to the view which the Legislative Assembly should take of tho action of the other Chamber In amend- ing a bill directly concerned with tho re A'enuo earning. It was not desirable, lio»v ever, Mr. Carruthers remarked, that ho should express that A'lew at the present mo- ment, seeing that the Speaker had Intimated his Intention of making a statement to the. House to-morrow on tho constitutional as- pect of the question. "Ono thing Is quito clear," observed the Premier, "and that is, if it Is held that the Legislative Council was perfectly within its rights in striking out the transhipment charges tho existing wharfage rates will have to bo largely increased."
The Rocks Resumed Area.-Some weeks ago tho Premier, Mr. Carruthers, visited the Rocks resumed area in company with Mr. J. Davis, Undor-Secrotary for Works, and Cap- tain Jackson, superintendent of the proper- ties within the area mentioned, and mado himself acquainted with the naturo of the works suggested as necessary to bo carried out to fnake that ancient and ill-designed portion of tho city conform to tho demands of modern requirements. Yesterday the Min- ister for Works, Mr. C. A. Leo, tbo Attorney General, Mr. Wade, and tho Minister for Edu- cation, Mr. B. B. O'Conor, paid a visit to the same locality, with a similar object in view. When the remaining Ministers have also mado an inspection, tho subject of the reconstruction of the Rocks area will bo con- sidered by the Cabinet.
Deputations to Ministers.-A number of deputations havo been arranged to wait upon Ministers during the next few .days. The Minister for Mines Avili bo interviewed to- day by representatives from Iho Bouthern col leries, with reference to various matters affecting tho South Coast coal industry. To- morrow the Premier will bo Avalted upon by mombers of the council of tho Railway and Tramway Unions on tho subject of testing tho eyesight of employees undor actual service conditions, remodelling the Railway Em- ployees' Appeal Act, and resuming the pay- ment of the classification increases, which aro noAV suspended. On Thursday tho Rail- way Commissioners will bo waited upon by a deputation from the Women's Political Edu- cational League regarding sanitary accommo- dation at suburban railway stations, and also on country trains. Tho noxt day (Friday) they will ho interviewed regarding certain requirements at the Burwood railway station. Deputations will also wait upon them in re- gard to tramway matters next Tuesday, and
also on December 8.
Centennial Park Lands.-In view of the un- expected opposition of tho Labour party to the salo of the lands surrounding Contonnlal Park tho Premier (Mr. Carruthers) and tho Minister for Lands (Mr. Ashton) visited tho locality yesterday morning for the purpose of making an inspectlqn of tbo land that is to bo sold. They wero accompanied by Mr. W. T Dick, M.L.A., Mr. Nobbs, M.L.A., Mr. J. Davis (Under-Secrotary for Woiks), Mr. E. MacFarlano (Undur-Seoretary for Lands), and Mr. Furber (metropolitan district sur- veyor). Tho Centennial Celebration Act Amendment Bill, under tho provisions of which it is proposed to disposo of the lands In question, gives ipowor to the Minister for Lands to "lay out, construct, and dedlcato roads and public places." The question of the constructon of roads through tho lands was diseuBsod. The Premier explained to a "Herald" representative that tho necessary roads havo already been surveyed, and the material with which to form them is now on tho ground. In addition to that there is a quarry on the land. It was decided to start tho work of forming tho roads before Christ- mas on tho butty gang system. Tho w.ork will bo lot in small contracts, and it is ex- pected to afford relief to a considerable num- ber of unemployed men. Mr. Green, Super- intendent of Charities, Mr. Souey, Labour Commissioner, and Mr. Smith, engineer in the Public Works Dopartmcnt, will arrange for the employment of tho men. Political influence is not to bo allowed to interfere with tho granting of contracts.
Combating Phthisis.-A number of local authorities under the Health Act aro taking commondablo action towards assisting in tho anti-phthisis crusade. The Woollahra Coum i.
eli is adopting strone measures as far as Its statutory powers will admit to prevent the spread ot phthisis within the borough At Its last meeting the sanitary Inspector sub- mitted a form of notico which he recom- mended should bo served upon tho occupant or the owner of any house in which a d ..th from tho dlseaso takes place He recom- mended that the work ot disinfecting be car- ried out by the local authority lu tho event of a doctor s certificate not being received Th) council adopted tbeso recommendations The average number of deaths per annum In Woollahra from consumption is about 12-not an abnormal proportion
A Big Claim -Yesterday an action was com- menced in tho No 1 Jury Court, before Mr Justice Owen, which, apart from the large sum lrnolved, is interesting as the first caso o£ any magnitude which has been tried before a Judge without the assistance of a jury, a course authorised by the 3rd section of the Common Law Procedure Act The plaintiffs are the Perpetual Trustee Company, Limited, who aro suing tho Railway Commissioners to recover about £27,000, being amount of rojalty which they allege to have lost owing to the defendants having resumed 8G acres of land at Teralba, which at the timo of resumption was under lease to the Pacific Co-operative Steam Coal Company The latter have already received compensation for the loss of the coal, and the plaintiffs are now seeking to recover amount of royalty which would have been payable to thom under tho lease for the coal won if tho -land had not boon taken from them The Commissioners have valued the plaintiffs' interest at £5000
Tho hearing will probably occupy the balance of tho time allotted to the present jury sit-
Coal Lumpers and Arbitration -Mr Justice Cohen expressed indignation yesterday at tho action of the Coal Lumpers' Union in refusing to unload a vessel which arrived at Mort's Dock Wharf in September last It appears that the men, In refusing to work, acted in conformity with an order made by their union. The Steam Collier Owners' and the Coal Stevedores' associations protested against tho action of the men The unload- ing of the vessel was delayed for two days at a cost of £C0 to the owners Mr Justice Cohen stated very emphatically that tho ac- tion of the union was inexcusable, and It had involved great loss and Inconvenience to tho parties concerned Had tho men worked they would have been paid the usual rate of wages, and the situation would never have arisen *Talr-mindod men," his Honor declared, "would never have allowed it to have arisen " rinally, Mr Justlco Cohen said the action of the mon was exceedingly arbitrary In charac- ter, and thero was not a shadow of an excuso for it
Removal of Plaguo Restrictions -The presi- dent of tho Board of Health was informed jesterday by the health authorities of Queens- land that it has been decided to cancel the Order in Council requiring vessels arriving in Queensland ports from New South Wales to produce fending-off certificates Tho ordor was passed in consequence of the oxistenco of plague In Sydney It may bo stated that no case of plague has been reported hero sinco September, whilst a month has elapsed sinco a plague-fnfeeted rat has boen found
rasi Passage of the RMS Sierra -Messrs Burns, Philp, and Co, Limited, managing agents for the Oceanic Company's A and A Line, aro in receipt of a cabio message ad- vising tho arrival of the RMS Sierra at Auckland at 2 p m yesterday, after encoun- tering rough weather and -very heavy seas
Tho-Sierra, was tiot expected nt that port until to-day She will Ioavo Auckland at ti o'clock this morning, and may bo c\pected here at about noon on Triday Tho Sierra brings British malls to tho dato of October 20 and American files bearing the date of No- vember 10 After being granted pratlquo sho will berth at the companys wharf on the eastern side of the Circular Quay
Tho Minister for Agriculture has recelvd a cable mossago from Mr Suttor, the Commercial Agent, who li at rresent at Manila requesting to be supplied with quotations tor pilc3 and girders
The amount paid in respect of probate and letters of adiinnihtiatlon for th« week ended November 2« was ! £400 3s lOd
j V ease of unusual character was heard at Cairns Qucenbland on Jiovembcr 11, when a man was comietcd of hawng assisteel in the desertion of three men be longing to II M S Pj lades, by harbouring them in hu house Ile »as lined Í.10 4s ad and in default tmce months' imprisonment Defendant had rendered himself li ilile to a penalty of ¿30 tor each deserter
found in his house
V\e ha\e been asked to call attention to an adver tisement relating to Messrs Groves and Co 's half loarlj sale, commencing on ttednendaj
The Sidney High School Old Bojs' annual dinner and smoke concert was held at Ilaumann s Rooms on Siturdu) night The president (Mr O II Cooke DA) presided "Hie Sjdncy High School ' wis pro posed by Mr Cooke who made mention of the fact that the school had now been in existence for 21 j tors and he referred to the founder of the school, the lato Dr Badluim The toast WB responded to by Mr T Waterhouse, head master, wh referred in eulogistic terms to ttie late Mr loseph Coate« first head master ' The Old Mo* s' Union . was proposed bj Mr Piddington, on« of the first masters and re «ponded to bj Mr P 1 Pratt ' The Day Vi c Cele- brate ' waa proposed hy Mr II S Dottmann, and responded to b\ Mr A M 1 edj
At the law matriculation examination held at the
University and country centres on Noiember 10 ana following dajs the undermentioned candidates were successful -llarold Robert Barnier, Arthur Stanhope Douglas Chirles Aclcrojd Hammond Iosa| i Bede Kenna Arthur William Knappett, Henry Cecil Bad deley Thomson
The Dopittj Postmaster Gene al Ins received the following information -' BJ nhay n Ivises that the Turi Mi route is interrupted bevjid lUssora "