[From High Bailiff Laughton's Recollections, 1911]
I remember a very painful case, many years ago, in England, when a friend of mine, in consequence of financial losses brought himself within the meshes of the Criminal Law. By request of his family, I went over to examine the circumstances, and to consult, with is Solicitor and Counsel. The case was not difficult the poor fellow had given way to temptation under terrible stressand I did not see that any defence could successfully be made.
Bv my advice and that of other friends, he retained the services of Mr. Hawkins (afterwards Mr. Justice Hawkins, and now Lord Brampton), whose fee was three hundred guineas, as he had to come off his own circuit.
Having failed in elaborating any reasonable answer to the indictment, I was extremely anxious to see whether Mr. Hawkins would be able to discover one, for I knew what a high reputation he had as a brilliant and experienced criminal lawyer.
Our consultation with him was a curious experience. The Assizes opening at ten, we arrived, by appointment, at the hotel shortly before nine. Mr. Hawkins was not yet out of his room, but presently in he came. I had previously only seen him in his robes, in which he made a rather imposing appearance; but in his ordinary dress I was surprised by his smallness of stature, and except for his fine head and face, his personality was certainly not striking. He hurriedly saluted us, and sat down to breakfast, to which he politely invited us, but we had anticipated this ceremony. The consultation was after this fashion:Mr. Hawkins, " Well, gentlemen, I've read the evidence" (to the waiter, "'the sugar, please,") " and I must say that " (" a little chicken and ham,") " I cannot see a single point that can be " (" the muffin, thank you") " made in defence you see " (" another cup of tea, please,") " the evidence is all in writing, and there is no room for" (" a little more ham, thanks ") " the cross-examination of witnesses as to memory " (" what's the time ? ") It was about half-past nine. We then, after some further discussion of a like character for another ten or twenty minutes, decided, as I had thought, that the wisest course to pursue, would be for my unhappy friend to plead guilty and for Mr. Hawkins to address the Bench in mitigation of punishment. This was done; Mr. Hawkins making a most powerful and telling appeal upon behalf of the prisoner. The Court, having commented upon the evidence, pronounced sentence, and all was over.
Sometime in the summer of 1873, a gentleman entered my office to consult me. He told me that he had received an English writ, summoning him to appear as a witness, at the suit of Roger C. Tichborne, that it would be extremely inconvenient for him to obey the summons as he had hired the Victoria Hall in Douglas for three weeks, and had otherwise incurred heavy expenses in connection with such engagement, and therefore he wished for my opinion as to whether such document extended to the Isle of Man, and whether he would be compelled to obey it.
I examined the writ, and advised him that it did not extend to the Isle of Man, and that he was at liberty to stay where he was, and to carry out his engagements. Having paid my fee, he rose to depart; but my curiosity was aroused. and I asked him whether he had any objection to inform me what he was expected to prove in the case, which was then creating intense excitement throughout the kingdom.
He then related a story, which even at this day may interest many. He was Mr. Anderson, commonly called "The Wizard of the North," and his tale was as follows
At one period of his travels. he found himself at; Castlemaine, in Australia, where he was prepared to give one of his entertainments, entitled " Rob Roy." On the morning of that day, two men had been tried in the Castlemaine Court House for horse-stealing, the names they were respectively tried by being Thomas Castro and Arthur Orton. They were acquitted, and came to the hotel where Anderson was staying; and they spent several hours together. First one and then another " shouted," by which term, Mr. Anderson explained, was meant what in England would he called " standing drinks." Anderson was in want of a drover's whip for his performance, and the man who went by the name of Thomas Castro presented him with one as a memento of their meeting.
Years passed and the circumstance was forgotten. Upon his returning to England, the great " Tichborne " case was before the Criminal Court, when the claimant was being tried for perjury. Professor Anderson, as he called himself, continually heard and read the names of " Arthur Orton " and " Thomas Castro," in connection with the case, and his memory at last recurred to the Castlemaine episode, which he mentioned here and there in casual conversation. After some time he received a letter from the claimant's solicitors, asking him if he could call on them upon special business, which he did. The solicitors thereupon submitted for his inspection a photograph of a gentleman, clean- shaven, without whiskers or moustache, also without a hat, and in fashionable black frock-coat and waistcoat, black silk necktie, white collar and shirt. After carefully inspecting it he was asked whether he recognised it. He replied in the negative, but requested that he might be allowed to deal with' the photograph as he liked' and permission being given, he, with Indian ink, sketched on it a rough sort of " Sombrero " hat, a moustache and heavy whiskers and beard, and a rough dark coat, showing no shirt front, necktie, or white collar. That being completed, he then expressed his opinionmost confidently-that the photograph, so altered, was the man who, at Castlemaine, was tried and acquitted as Thomas Castro; and certainly was not the person who was tried at the same time as Arthur Orton.
It will be remembered that the whole force of the case against the Claimant was concentrated in the affirmation that he was Arthur Orton, the butcher from Wapping whereas the Claimant's whole case was that he had when abroad, changed his name from Tichborne to Thomas Castro, although he had become well-acquainted with Arthur Orton.
The Professor had no object to serve in the matter Had he consented to go to the trial and give evidence it might have been insinuated that he had either been well-paid, or had been, in some way or other, influenced to swear a falsehood; but he refused to go; and, in point of fact, never was examined at the trial.
I retain the two photos, which were presented to me by Mr Anderson; and the actual features of the two were identical; whilst the very marked difference between the two, the one fashionably attired and clean shaven, and the other with the addition of the large hat, beard, and rough dress, would make the casual observer pronounce them to be two different individuals.