The Crown vs William Simpson

A court case involving the Crown: Queen Victoria against William Simpson, 1853 (KB 31/1)

Regina V William Simpson
[A court case involving the crown, Queen Victoria against William Simpson]

William Simpson was tried before me at the Sessions of the Peace for the County of Middlesex in July last upon an Indictment [crime] which charged him with having stolen from the person of Michael Mapper a gold watch and his property.

The watch was carried by the prosecutor in the pocket of his waistcoat and the chain which was at one end attached to the watch was at the other end passed through the button hole of his Waistcoat where it was kept by a watch key turned so as to prevent the chain slipping through. The prisoner took the watch out of the prosecutors pocket and forcibly drew the chain out of the button hole, but his hand was seized by the prosecutor’s wife and it then appeared that although the chain and watch key had been drawn out of the button hole the point of the key had caught upon another button and was thereby suspended- It was contended for the prisoner that he was guilty of an attempt only but I thought that as the chain had been removed from the button hole, the felony was complete not withstanding its subsequent detention by its contact with the other button.

The Jury found the prisoner guilty of the felony and a former conviction having been proved he was sentenced to penal servitude for Four years. The execution [carrying out] of the sentence [punishment] was respited [delayed] and the prisoner was committed [sent] to the House of Correction, [a prison for lesser crimes] Cold Bath Fields where he now is. I have to pray the judgement of this Honorable Court whether the facts above stated justified the conviction in the point of Law.

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