No. 56
3rd June 1868
My Lord Duke,
I have the honor to forward an authenticated and two plain copies of an Ordinance of the recent Session of the Legislature of this Colony, entitled; No. 6. An OrdinancerespectingManuscript image respecting the investigation of Accidents by Fire. I add the report of the Attorney General.
2. This measure appears to be a useful one, and I beg to recommend it for allowance.
I have the honor to be,
My Lord Duke,
Your Grace's most obedient,
humble Servant
Frederick Seymour
Minutes by CO staff
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CC 16 July
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Sir F. Rogers
Ordinance to empower investigations into fires.
The enquiry by the Stipendy Magistrate who is to examine witnesses upon oath & to return their depositions to the Col. Secrety, may be a useful measure and may facilitate prosecutions for arson by securing the testimony of witnesses directly after the fire.
But IManuscript image do not like Sect 4 which provides for an enquiry before a Jury & a Verdict by them; a proceeding in short something analogous to a Coroners inquest in cases of death. I see no advantage to be gained by such a verdict, as the Ordinance does not provide that—as in the case of the finding upon a coroners inquest—a person may be prosecuted upon the inquisition. The coroners inquisition, which is the record of the finding of the Jury, amounts to an indictment, & a person is arraigned upon it in the same way as upon an indictment.
Nothing is provided in the Ordinance with respect to the effect of the Jury's verdict or the mode of dealing with it. Is it to be returned to the Col. Secrety?
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Sanction with an obsn to this effect.
The object of the Ordinance viz to get a speedy mode of ascertaining the origin of Fires, is really secured by the enquiry by a Stipendy Magistrate or Justice of the Peace under the earlier sections of the Ordinance.
I should be disposed to point this out to the Govr & to desire a repeal
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I think I shd not interfere so far. They know what they want—& if this provision does not give it them that, it will teach them how to get it.
FR 16/7
CBA 17/7
or at all events further consideration of sect 4 & those sections which depend upon it.
HTH 16/7
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The ordinance seems as near as circumstances admit to the form of proceeding by Coroners in case of fire in England—a proceeding not often adopted now—but perfectly well understood. Sanction.
B&C 18/7
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Three printed copies of ordinance not on microfilm.
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H.P.P. Crease, Attorney General, to Seymour, 25 May 1868, reporting on the ordinance as per despatch.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Buckingham to Seymour, No. 54, 23 July 1868 conveying “Her Majesty's Gracious confirmation and allowance of the British Columbia Ordinance No. 6 of 1868, entitled "An Ordinance respecting the investigation of accidents by fire."