Henry Sutton, 18, marine, was charged with shooting a comrade named Davis. The prisoner, who had been in the service a year, was on sentry duty on a bright moonlight night. On the guard coming to relieve him he fired at them four shots, one of which hit Davis. When arrested he was sober, and said that he did not know why he fired the rifle, nor even how he came to load it. He had no right to load the rifle without orders. At the trial he gave evidence that a day or two after the event all recollection of the details had left his memory, and he still remembered nothing about it. For the defence it was suggested that there had been a story current in barracks about a ghost, which was said to have been seen near the place where the prisoner was stationed, and that when he saw the guard he fired the rifle in terror, thinking that he saw the ghost. The judge pointed out that although the prisoner immediately after the act said that he knew he was firing at the relief party, but did not know why he did so, no plea of insanity was raised nor any such defence set up. The jury found the prisoner guilty, but recommended him to mercy on account of the ghost scare, and the prisoner was released upon his own recognisances.—Winchester Assizes, June 27th, Mr. Justice Wright.—Times, June 28th.
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