The Green Bag
The prosecution objected to this procedure. _____ "I have," said Hamilton, "special reasons, deep reasons, reasons that I dare not express, reasons that, when the real culprit is detected and placed before the court, will then be under stood." The court overruled the objections, and the candles remained. Hamilton then fixed a piercing gaze on the wit ness, and amid breathless silence said, without turning: — "The jury will mark every muscle of his face, every motion of his eye. I conjure you to look through that man's countenance to his conscience." Then began a cross-examination, which caused the witness to stumble, to contradict himself, and finally to break down. The jury acquitted the prisoner without leaving their seats. The subsequent career of Croucher justified Hamilton's dramatic device. After committing several crimes, he fled to England, where he was hanged for a heinous offence.
COURT-ROOM DEVICES MANY devices have been employed in the court room productive of an effect far more telling upon the jury than mere words. A suit was brought some years ago by the people of a certain quarter of Montreal against a manufactuing com pany. The vile odors of the chemicals used in the works, they alleged, had made the neighborhood untenantable, and seriously lessened the value of their property. The judge and the jury were disposed to turn a deaf ear to the complaint. The company was rich and powerful, and "an alleged smell," as their counsel
declared, "was too intangible a griev ance to grasp." One of the opposing counsel was seen to go out and not long after returned with two glass retorts. "Here," he said, in the course of his plea for his clients, "are the offending subjects of our contention." He passed them to the judge and then to the jury, who smelled them and smilingly de clared them pure and odorless. "But," said the counsel, "the com pany mixes them!" He suddenly poured the contents of one of the retorts into the other, and the nauseous fumes of hydro-sulphuric acid or sulphuretted hydrogen filled the air. Judge, jury and spectators choked for breath. It was necessary to adjourn court until the next day, when heavy damages were at once awarded to the plaintiffs. In a murder trial before a western court, the prisoner was able to account for the whole of his time except five minutes on the evening when the crime was committed. His counsel argued that it was impossible for him to have killed the man under the circumstances in so brief a period, and on that plea largely based his defense, the other testimony being strongly against his client. When the prosecuting attorney re plied, he said, "How long a time really is five minutes? Let us see. Will his honor command an absolute silence, in the court room, for that space?" The judge granted this request. There was a clock on the wall. Every eye in the court-room was fixed upon it as the pendulum ticked off the seconds. There was breathless silence. We all know how time which is waited for creeps and halts and at last does not seem to move at all. The keen-witted counsel waited until the tired audience gave a sigh of relief at the close of the period, and then quietly asked : —