From GDP/52 GF
GF (1901-1982) was a young barrister in 1926. In the summer of that year, he was a marshal (assistant) to a judge riding a circuit of assize courts in the South-West of England. Here, he describes a murder trial in Winchester. This entry is unusual in that the diarist does not often go into detail about his legal work in his diary.
7 July 1926
This is very nearly the end of Winchester, and very very sorry am I. We go to-morrow. There are three more cases left but they will be over by lunch time and we shall be free. The S [family, that of one of the judges on the circuit] and marshal will motor to Crowborough: my judge will proceed to Oxfordshire and I back to the Temple.
The last three days have been uneventful except for a murder trial – as a matter of fact the first I have witnessed from end to end. A particularly wanton murder of a boy of 15 by a young man (unemployed) who wanted 3/- the boy had on him. Found guilty and sentenced to death by RJ [the judge for whom the diarist worked]. All the evidence was circumstantial but there was no doubt of it. Several witnesses were called upon to identify the prisoner in court and one of them picked on ME, which cause mirth! He then corrected himself. The case lasted 2 days and the atmosphere was pretty tense – crowded court & so forth. Prisoners [sic] wife broke into loud sobs when the verdict was returned and wailed all the time the sentence was being pronounced. A defended – his first murder and did it exceedingly well.
The other marshal and I went into the cathedral this evening as he had not seen it properly – and then walked through the school grounds and across meads.
This place has greatly taken my fancy. As a matter of fact I shall be down again for a brief period next week as the R [family] have asked me down for a dance on the 15th and I am coming.