Mama Always Said Be Kind, Queen vs Corby Court Case

Gosh, darn! I have a feeling Jason Miller Mack used some more expressive words than gosh darn when speaking about Premier Rhodes of Nova Scotia. I like the sound of his name especially saying Miller Mack, maybe because the ways M and M sounds on my lips. And when I add the title of Honorable to his name, it sounds very impressive.

Momma’s let them be lawyers and doctors and such. I’ve been blogging and podcasting the story of Uncle Jacob Miller, Irish-Palatine, then about his son, Garrett Miller, merchant and privateer, then his son named Garrett Nelson Trafalgar Miller. Back in 1805 when Augusta Miller toddled in to announce to her father, that she, Augusta, was having a baby that day, when Garrett Nelson Trafalgar Miller was born, she couldn’t know she would have children of her own: Azubah, would die young, but Augusta saw her boys grow up, one to be a lawyer, The Honorable Jason Miller Mack, and one a doctor, Dr. Joshua Newton Mack.

It is the life of Jason Miller Mack that I sketch out. He was born i Mill Villages, Queen’s County, between Lunenburg and Liverpool, Nova Scotia, March 17, 1843. Jason would be my 3rd cousin, removed on my paternal heritage. Jason graduated from Kings University at Windsor, and was called to the bar. He rose quickly and became a barrister acting for the Queen in the court. Jason entered politics in the House of the Assembly and was made Superintendent Magistrate with a reputation for clear thinking and a keen sense of justice. After four years here, he was appointed Legislation Council for Queen’s County, made leader and then the head position of President. Jason Miller Mack was a Liberal appointee, acting as a representative for the Attorney General conducted on behalf of the Queen in the Province of Nova Scotia.

When cousin Jason was 54 years, he was the Barrister Acting for the Crown, in a court case. At the October term of the Supreme Court at Liverpool, Nova Scotia, His Lordship, Mr. Justice Henry presiding, the grand jury preferred an indictment against the defendant in these words:

in the Supreme Court, The Jurors of our Lady, the Queen present that on the first day of October in the year 1897 at Liverpool in the Court of Queen, John Corby unlawfully stole a quantity of pine oil, the property of James C. Innes.”

I am no lawyer, but the court case should have been an easy one to prove, which it was and the jury came back with a guilty verdict. I found the name of my subject on page 330 in a report of cases argued by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and it was cited over many times in many law journals across North America, as what not to do in a court of law. What went wrong?

The verdict was thrown out on a technicality. The court case of theft was appealed as a judge called the circumstances peculiar and in his opinion there should be a new trial and the first conviction quashed. What went wrong I ask again? At the closing arguments, the Honorable Jason Mack addressed the jury, on behalf of the crown and made Mrs. Corby’s failure to testify the subject of comment unfavorable to the prisoner. Counsel for the defendant should have raised his objection at the time. In 1893, there was a statue that read you could not comment on someone not testifying while addressing the jury. Oops! I wonder what he said about Mrs. Corby? He maybe just forgot that day the advice his mama gave him, if you can’t say anything kind, don’t say anything at all!

Oh, to have heard the conversation when the Premier of the Province called on him at the age of 83, on January 17, 1927. I do love straight forward people and can imagine Jason Miller Mack saying, “g.d”. I mean gosh darn, “No, not over my dead body.” The next I find our esteemed cousin lawyer, in the headlines when he died the next day. The headline in the paper reads:

Sudden Death of Honorable Jason Mack

President of Nova Scotia Legislative Council Had Recently Refused to Resign, when requested by Premier Rhodes.

Since the Honorable Jason Mack never died until January 19, 1927 at the age of 83, still working for the government, what did he do for the Premier to ask for his resignation? Whatever it was, his death was not anticipated, and so my research leaves more questions.

My final thought for today; Remember to say only kind things! An innocent remark from the tongue of the Honorable Jason Miller Mack got his court case quashed and debated in the law journals and referenced there for many years. And he must have been some riled up to probably die of a sudden heart attack. The arguments are way above my knowledge of the law but certainly entertained my mind that we had such a lawyer in the family tree worthy to called Honorable.

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