The Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle

Sunday Morning, December 5, 1869

Court of Assize

Before Chief Justice Needham

Saturday, Dec 4th 1869

Queen v me-Shak, an Indian--This was a trial on an indictment for the murder of Archibald Campbell

The prisoner was a young man, apparently not more than seventeen years of age, and pleaded not guilty

the Attorney General appeared for the Crown, and there being no other Barrister in Court, the Chief Justice requested Mr. Courtney to act as Counsel for the prisoner and to consider him himself for the time being vested with all the power and immunities of a Barrister.

Wm., Bowden, Inspector of Police, testified as to the condition of the body when found and the arrest of the prisoner

R. McMillian, Police officer, who accompanied Bowden, gave the following contesaion of the prisoner, after the customary caution had been given him. The prisoner said that he went to the bush near Campbell's house to shoot grouse, leaving his canoe at the beach. When he returned he found his canoe had drifted away. He asked Campbell to assist him to recover his canoe, Campbell refused and ordered him out of his house. He(prisoner)did not go, and Campbell kicked him, and took up his gun and shot at him, the shot just passed his neck. Campbell commenced again to load the gun, which was a double barreled, and he (the prisoner) jumped and caught hold of the gun. A struggle ensued, and the gun wnet off accidentially and shot Campbell. Prisoner then threw Campbell's gun into the salt water. McMillian further testified that there was blood on the floor from the bed where the dead body of Campbell was lying. There was no blood on the bed nor was there any indication that he was shot in the bed. Deceased was dressed in working clothes and had his boots on.

Dr. Helmeken testified on having held a post mortem examination on the body of the deceased, and that he had found three bullets in the body-- two had passed through the abdomen into the back, and one passed from the right cheek bone to the skull above the left temple, either of which would cause death, From the appearance of the would in the abdomen and the direction taken by the bullets it was not impossible that both bullets were shot from the same gun at the same time. the shot could not have been fired within a distance of less then two feet from his body. The three wounds could not have all been made at the same discharge from one gun.

Mr Courtney made a very able defense for the prisoner and was complimented by Chief justice.

His lordship charged the jury at great length, pointing out to them that the only evidence of the killing was the confession of the prisoner, and if that was taken for truth entire, the prisoner could not be found guilty of murder but of justifiable homicide, but that they were at liberty to accept a part of the confession as evidence and reject the rest, provided it was not consistent with the other facts in the case.

the jury returned for a short time and returned a verdict of willful murder.

The prisoner on being asked if he had anything to say, repeated almost verbatum his former confession, adding that he had no bad feeling against Campbell, and that he was very young, and begged to have his life spared, and be kept as a prisoner all his life.

The Chief justice then passed a sentence of death wit the assurance to the prisoner that he would intercede to have the sentence commuted to life imprisonment