This case excited great interest throughout the British territories in the East Indies; while the infamy of the attempt, added to its containing the mode of punishment for such a crime in that distant part of the globe, much concerned the reader, in his native land.
Mr. Osborne was Sub-treasurer of Bombay, who finding frauds practised upon the East India Company, he diligently sought to detect the offenders. To prevent a discovery, the peculator determined upon murdering Mr. Osborne!
From the evidence of many witnesses who were called, it appeared, that the prisoners had been in employments in the Treasury—that they had for a length of time carried on the most flagrant system of dishonesty and peculation. These practices not continuing to be as secure as they were profitable, the best plan which suggested itself for establishing the safety of the prisoners, and retaining them in their situation, was the murder of the Sub-Treasurer, who alone had the means of detecting their villainy. They accordingly promised a large sum of money to a man who undertook the task, but who, repenting the iniquitous design, gave every information against the offenders.
The Recorder, in summing up the evidence, dwelt with peculiar energy upon the deadly malice which had prompted the prisoners, day and night, to seek the destruction of an excellent unoffending man. They were all found guilty. Two of them were condemned to be imprisoned five years, to be placed once a year in the pillory, with labels descriptive of their offence, during their imprisonment to be twice publicly whipped, to be fined ten thousand rupees each, and to be further imprisoned till they pay the said fine. Upon the other two prisoners, sentence of two years' imprisonment was passed, they having been only regarded as wretched tools. The two former were pilloried and whipped the day after the trial, in the presence of twenty or thirty thousand spectators.