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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

A Ninety Per Cent. Lie

A Ninety Per Cent. Lie.

How was the case altered when, after eleven years more had passed, accuser and accused again confronted one another in a Court of law to stand what the Commissioners themselves ruled was practically a re-trial of them both? We may fortunately disregard a large quantity of evidence which was called on both sides as to the condition of the boundary fences, and of the cultivation on the two properties. The reason for calling this evidence was that at Meikle's trial and in Mr. Justice Ward's report it was contended that the Company's pasture was so much more attractive than Meikle's that sheep would never have deserted the former of their own free will, and that in any case the fences were good enough to stop them. After listening to evidence of this kind for hours, the Commissioners wisely ruled it all out, and declined to take any more, but not before it had been proved from one of the Company's own witnesses that the plan on which the Crown convicted Meikle lied to the extent of about go per cent. with regard to the cultivation on the Company's land. In this plan from 350 to 400 acres was given for the area in turnips, which was supposed to provide an irresistible attraction to the 646 sheep which had been feeding there for two months. But it was admitted by Mr. Troup, who was the manager of Islay at that time, that the actual quantity was about 30 acres, mostly eaten off. (C. 135/169 to 136/181.) The advisers of the Crown of course would not intentionally have inflicted such a monstrous injustice upon Mr. Meikle in 1887; but it is nevertheless a disgrace to the country that this false evidence was brandished before the eyes of the jury to the prejudice of the accused.