Convicted and imprisoned for an assault upon his Majesty, on the 20th of February, 1796
IN this case the indictment charged that on the 29th of October, 1795, as the King went in the state coach to the House of Peers to meet his Parliament, Kid Wake, and a number of other disorderly persons, made a great noise, by shouting, hissing, hooting, groaning and calling out, "No war, down with him," etc.; the same indecent behaviour was repeated on his Majesty's return, in which a window of his coach was broken.
Dr Wolford and Mr Stockdale were called on the part of the Crown, and proved the charge in the clearest manner. Mr Erskine made some observations on the defendant's character.
The Lord Chief justice said: "Gentlemen of the jury, I have nothing to sum up to you. The question is whether the law which protects every subject under the King's Government is sufficient to protect the King."
The jury returned a verdict of guilty.
When brought up to receive the judgment of the Court, Mr Justice Ashurst addressed the defendant. He said that he had been convicted, upon the clearest and most satisfactory evidence, of a crime of a most atrocious and, he was happy to say, almost of an unprecedented nature. He had experienced much mercy from those by whom he was prosecuted; for if the law had been stretched to its utmost rigour he might have stood convicted of a crime of a much higher nature. The present case afforded a very strong instance of the unequalled mildness of the laws of this country; for he believed this was the only country in the world in which, for such an offence, he would not have paid the forfeit of his life. The evidence adduced at the trial afforded the most convincing proofs that the defendant was a man of a bad and malignant heart, and the explanation which he had since attempted to give of his conduct, in the affidavits which he had filed, was by no means satisfactory. He had endeavoured to account for the contortions of his countenance by a defect in his sight, which always had the effect of producing a distortion of his features when he attempted to look particularly at any object; but if this could be supposed to account for the contortion of his countenance, it could not for the language he used, such as "no George," etc.
The sentence of the Court was that the prisoner be committed to the custody of the keeper of the penitentiary-house in and for the county of Gloucester, and be kept to hard labour for the space of five years; and within the first three months of that time that he stand in and upon the pillory for one hour, between the hours of eleven and two o'clock in the afternoon, in some public street in Gloucester, on a market-day; and that he give sureties in a thousand pounds for his good behaviour for the term of ten years, to be computed from the expiration of the said five years; and that he be further imprisoned till he find the said sureties.