Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Prostitution in Christchurch - 1870

Star , Issue 772, 14 November 1870, Page 2


"— Joseph Cripps, A. P. Tower, W. Elliott, J. Smith, and W. Ford were jointly charged with having been concerned in a disturbance in a public thoroughfare yesterday morning.

Constable Wilson said, at half-past two o'clock on Sunday morning, he was informed there was a fight in Colombo street south, and on proceeding there he found the prisoners outside a brothel in Evans' paddock.

The door of the house was open, and Cripps was fighting with another man named Perryman, who managed to make his escape. The place was upset, the door of the house and other things, inside and outside, being broken.

There was a great noise; so much so, that it could be heard from the Railway gates. Cripps and Perryman were the worst, although the rest were very rowdy.

Ford, being drunk, was arrested, and becoming violent, had to be handcuffed before he could be got to the Depot. Phoebe Chadwick, owner of the brothel, corroborated the evidence about the row, adding that the door of the house was broken.

Detective Feast said the accused Elliott, Smith, and Ford were constantly hanging about brothels. Elliott had lived some time with the proprietress of a brothel at Bricks wharf, and was the constant associate of thieves. Not long ago, a man was robbed in the house under very suspicious circumstances.

Power and Cripps "were employed at the Theatre, and Elliott, he further stated, had resided for some time with a convicted thief.

His Worship said the affair was a very disgraceful one. Four of the accused had not been charged before, but Cripps had been twice fined during the present year, and each time for a breach of the peace. The Bench would warn the whole of them that if they went on in this way they would get into considerable trouble, for, if again brought up, the present case would be a mark against them, and they would be severely dealt with. The accused Cripps said he intended to leave for Dunedin at once. His Worship said Cripps, as evidently the worst character, of the five, would be fined 60s, and the others 20s each.

Anonymous Letter.— His Worship said he desired to state publicly that he had received an anonymous letter, complaining about a particular hotel in the city, and also
about riots at other such places of entertainment. All he could say in reference to it was that if the person who wrote the letter would lay an information, the matter would be looked into, but the police could not act upon communications of such a nature. It was the want of information which, as a rule, was the great difficulty with the police in such cases. The letter was then handed over to the police, with instructions to endeavour to find out who was the writer of it."

One wonders what the good citizens of Dunedin would have thought of the imminent arrival of Mr Joseph Cripps in their fair city after his Christchurch misdemeanors.

Of course, after the legalisation of prostitution in New Zealand in 2003, none of this public disorder and criminal activity occurs around prostitution in Christchurch today, right? Well, sadly, no. Streetwalkers in particular are occasionally found murdered at the back of car parks, floating down the Avon River and the like.

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