File No. 342.112Sm6/19.
Consul Goodier to the Secretary of State.
Niagara Falls, March 3, 1915.
Sir: I have the honor to report that I attended the opening of the March assizes at Welland, Ontario, yesterday. It was at this term of court that the peace officer Thomas Delaney, and the Canadian soldiers Kayo, Macintosh and Kinsman, were to have been tried on a charge of manslaughter for having caused the death of Walter Smith, an American citizen. * * *
Under Canadian criminal procedure, persons accused of crime are presented to the grand jury, and if indicted are tried immediately, or at least almost invariably at the same term of court. The case is not sent on for trial to another court or another term of court, as is usual in most of our State courts in the United States.
Accordingly upon the convening of court at Welland yesterday, the grand jury was empanelled and charged shortly after 1 p.m., the hour of opening the session. Thirteen grand jurors were drawn and sat, and as a grand jury were charged by Chancellor Sir John Alexander Boyd, K. C. M. G., who presided over the court.[Page 421]
Among other things the judge instructed the jury as to the number (7) necessary to concur in an indictment, and stated to the jurors that they should take into consideration the fact that some $16,000 had been paid by Canada because of the shooting; and that in so far as money could compensate in a matter of this kind, a just compensation had already been made to the victims of the occurrence. Their verdict showed the effect of the judge’s charge.
How such a verdict as “no bill” could have been reached by any intelligent and fair-minded jury on the evidence adduced before it, I cannot imagine.
The evidence taken upon the coroner’s inquest is convincing to a degree as to the criminal negligence and utter disregard of human life evidenced by the officers in attempting these arrests. Reinforced as this evidence was by the stories of two disinterested eye witnesses (Mr. Sheridan and Mrs. Carlton Wilson, the former of whom describes the shooting most minutely, as does also the latter with a positive assertion that she saw the two soldiers kneeling on firing the last and fatal volley, evidently taking deliberate aim) it is inconceivable that a fair minded jury attempting to do substantial justice could fail to indict, that the truth might be brought out upon a trial.
Charles Dorsch, the man who was wounded, appeared before the grand jury and gave his testimony. He did so at the special request of Crown Attorney Cowper.
I have [etc.]