16 September 2012

Trial of Alexander Thomson


Monday came on, before the High Court of Justiciary, the trial of Alexander Thomson, alias John Laurie, a private in the Aberdeenshire regiment of militia, accused of uttering bank-notes, knowing the same to be forged notes.  He was indicted on five separate charges, but evidence was only adduced in support of four of them.  After examination of a number of witnesses, two declarations were read, which he emitted after being apprehended; in the first he said he was a drover of cattle, and got the notes at Berwick; in the second he said that he was a soldier in the Aberdeenshire militia, and that he found the notes, with a pocket-book, near Dalkeith.  He was apprehended in the house of a Mrs Dudgeon in Edinburgh, and when searched (besides those above charged) there were found in a small pocket-book, concealed between his foot and stocking, six one pound notes, which were all forgeries. - The Solicitor-General addressed the jury, in a very able manner, for the Crown, as did Mr John Wood, in an excellent speech, for the prisoner.  The Lord Justice-Clerk then summed up the evidence with his usual ability and candour.

The Jury returned their verdict next day, by a plurality of voices finding the libel NOT PROVEN; and after a very suitable admonition, the prisoner was dismissed from the bar.  The Lord Justice-Clerk said, that he did not usually animadvert on the decisions of juries, but he could not help in this case, saying, if he had been one of the Jury, he certainly would have been one of the minority, as he never saw a clearer proof in that Court; in this opinion Lord Hermand concurred.

Counsel for the Crown, Mr Solicitor-General and William Boswell, Esq.; agents, Messrs James and Charles Bremner, writers to the signet. - Counsel for the prisoner, John Wood, Esq. and Samuel McCormick, Esq.; agent, John Tait, tertius, Esq. writer to the signet.

Published in the Aberdeen Journal, Wednesday 16th September 1812.

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