“Yesterday afternoon at three o’clock, Mr. Crerar renewed his application to Judge Patterson to have the McConnell trial postponed to the next assizes. He read extracts from newspaper articles, both in the Times and SPECTATOR and argued that they tended to prejudice the public mind against his client. The papers had repeatedly said that McConnell had left his stall for the purpose of committing the deed. This, Mr. Crerar said was an unjust accusation and one he did not believe.”
Spectator January 25, 1876
The efforts of Michael McConnell’s lawyer to defend his client in a seemingly indefensible case were for naught, other than to delay the trial for a few days.
As expected, Lawyer Crerar argued that inflammatory accounts of the incident and his client’s motives had so affected public opinion in Hamilton that a fair trial was impossible.
The presiding judge, Mr. Justice Patterson was expecting such an argument to be so he had asked a fellow member of the bench to assist him by also reading the affidavits presented and by conferring with him before a decision was made.
The Spectator delineated the result:
“Their Lordships retired from court to confer together and read the affidavits, and after a short absence, Justice Moss returned and said it would be quite impossible to grant the postponement. He believed that justice should be sure, but also speedy, and the trial would have to go on.
Mr. Crerar pleaded the poverty of his client to get witnesses. His Lordship said he felt sure the Crown would bring the defendant’s witnesses here at its own expense, and that the prisoner would not have an unfair trial because of the want of a little money.
Mr. Crerar then applied to have the trail postponed till next Monday, which, after considerable argument, was granted.”
In another case, evidence against the the notorious Mary Anne Bowes was presented :
“The prisoner was charged with having fired a revolver at a Police Constable when in the proper discharge of his duty on the 12th of October last. It will be remembered the prisoner was tried at the last assizes before Judge Burton but the jury failed to agree and the trial was postponed.
JOHN LITTLEHALES, sworn : Am a Police Constable of the city of Hamilton; was appointed eight months ago; in October last was with a constable who had a warrant for the arrest of Frank Moore; had reason to believe that Moore was at the house of the prisoner; went to her house between 10 and 11 o’clock, and demanded admittance; Con. Griggs who was with me demanded entrance; the prisoner within replied that she would not let him in no matter who he was; Griggs then left to get further instructions from the Chief Constable; John Armstrong, the man who got out the warrant, watched it in front and I went into the back yard; I stood at the letter C in the plan of the premises produced; I was only there a few minutes, when prisoner came to the door on the verandah and told me to get out of the yard; I replied that I would not, as I had a warrant for a party who was inside; I then tried to get in the house, but she told me not to try it or she would blow my b-----y brains out; she then went up to the window and fired a revolver out of it; the shot was fired at me; I did not see the flash; other constables now arrived and the door was burst open, when the woman was found to have revolver in her possession, one of the chambers of which was discharged; she appeared to be very much excited; she told me I had been there before; I should have said that when the shot was fired, a man escaped from the window; I could not see who it was who fired the shot; I had visited her house before in my capacity as police constable.
Cross-examined by Mr. Carscallen : The night was dark; you could see across the street; I heard the bullet whiz through the bushes near me.
(The case would continue another day)
On James street north, the huge stone building at the northwest corner of James and Merrick streets had a festive appearance on January 25, 1876, the 18th anniversary of the hotel’s operations:
“Today the Union Jack was hoisted over the Royal Hotel in honour of the Eighteenth Anniversary of its opening. The foundation stone of this most imposing building in the city was laid in the summer of 1854, and was completed and thrown open to the public on the 25th of January 1858 by its proprietor, the late Thos. Davidson. The day the hotel was opened was very rainy and wet, and the crowds of people who flocked through the saloons and corridors are said to have ruined several hundred dollars worth of property with the mud they carried in on their feet. After Mr. Davidson relinquished the proprietorship, the Hotel fell into the hands of the Administrators of the Fisher Estate who handed it over to Dr. Taylor in whose hands it remained for some time, when he leased it to Mr. Charles Muggridge. The Hotel remained under the able management of this gentleman for some years when it was purchased by Mr. J. M. Williams from the Fisher Estate. Col. Irving was the next manager of the Hotel, and this gentleman conducted it in a first class style for a period of nearly five years. Messrs. Case and Strong came next into possession and conducted it for about two years when it passed into the hands of the Hood Bros., the present young and popular proprietors. The past history of the Royal Hotel, could it be published here, would be a very chequered one; and although there have been several incidents in that history which have served to detract from its deserved popularity, still today on entering its eighteenth year of its existence, it is hoped it will commence a new era of success and prosperity, and continue to be, as it now is, one of the best conducted hotels in America.”
In other news, the Spectator reported that a beginning had been made on a new railway line to connect Hamilton with points northward, as far as Collingwood :
“This morning at half past seven o’clock, the engineers of the Hamilton and North Western Railway commenced a survey of the proposed road, and will continue their labours until the survey is completed.
Active operations are now in progress for the construction of the line between Hamilton and the Beach, the intention being to complete this portion of the road by the 1st of June, so as to be in time for the summer excursion travel.”
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