Centenary 2022

OUR HISTORY – UNUSUAL COURT SITTING AND OATH

It was the beginning of a long night in July 1930 when a squad of 10 police gathered in Auckland’s Chinatown at eight o clock to raid a Greys Avenue restaurant suspected of being illegally used for gaming. In the end, they had arrested 41 Chinese men. It was then a marathon session to process them at Central Police Station, and as midnight approached Justice of the Peace, John Fenwick arrived and convened an improvised Court in the police gymnasium. He remanded them all on bail for £5, until the Magistrate’s Court later in the morning. Each man then attested that the signature, or mark, on the bail bond was his. Each swore by blowing out a match, the oath used being: “As you have here blown out this match, so may your soul forever be in darkness if you do not tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”, and he was then released, awaiting the next court appearance. The organiser of the gambling was subsequently fined £75, all the others £2 – which then caused a queue as each rushed to get the £3 refund remaining from the bail bond.

Researched and compiled by Ric Carlyon