9 April 1880
At WORSHIP-STREET, JACOB BARNETT, of Spital-street, Mile-end, appeared to an adjourned summons which charged him with having made a false declaration in order to procure his marriage with one Kate Rosenblatt. Mr. Bevan (for Mr. Frank Safford, barrister) appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. B.J. Abbott, solicitor, for the defence. The case was before the court three weeks ago, when the facts were opened by Mr. Safford. It may be remembered that the defendant was said to have entrapped the young woman, who was 17 years of age, into marrying him before the registrar of the Whitechapel district. To get the ceremony performed in the absence of the girl's parents a declaration that she was of full age was necessary, and this the defendant made. The ceremony was performed according to the Church of England form, notwithstanding that the parties are of the Jewish faith, on the 28th of October. The girl, it was said, objected to the defendant for a husband, but he persuaded her to accompany him to the registrar's office on the representation that they could there go through a ceremony similar to the pledging among the Jews, and which would only bind her for a year. When, however, they had left the office and the defendant wished the girl to accompany him home, telling her that she was his wife and it could not be undone, she threw the paper she had received from the registrar at him and ran away, managing to escape home. Recently, it was said, the defendant had tried to abduct his wife when he met her one day in Whitechapel. For what happened on that occasion he was bound over at this court to keep the peace, and subsequently this prosecution was commenced by the father of the girl. On the first hearing Mr. Abbott called it a vindictive prosecution by the father, who, it was admitted, had been assisted by the defendant with money during business embarrassments. The father denied it, and said that he only wished to protect his daughter, who did not like the defendant, and whom he did not think suited to her because he was nearly double her age. The prosecution, it was admitted, had been taken up by the Society for the Protection of Women and Children (the Marquis Townsbend's society). On the last occasion Mr. Abbott said that, as the father persisted in the prosecution, he had to apply for a summons against the girl for making a false declaration as to her own age, it being shown on the register as 21, and her signature being appended to the entry as true. Mr. Bushby said that he was compelled to grant the summons in order that what looked like a breach of the law might be inquired into. The evidence was now gone into, John Rosenblatt, father of the girl, deposing that he lived in Fieldgate-street, Whitechapel, and that he had a daughter named Kate, who was only 17 years of age, she having been born in 1862. He knew the defendant, who first came about three years ago to witness's house as a stranger, and asked permission to pay attentions to witness's daughter. He admitted having followed her for some time before, and the girl also told him of the defendant's having done so. He asked to be allowed to keep company with her. Having questioned the girl, the witness told the defendant she was too young, and said that the manner in which he had followed her about was a liberty. His daughter afterwards complained that the defendant was still following her about. The witness then made some inquiries about the defendant, and found nothing against his character at that time. About last [year] witness got into difficulties, and was nearly ruined in his business. The defendant advanced money to witness, paid out the brokers, took up the liquidation, &c. During some of those matters the defendant expressed doubts as to the statement of the girl's age, which witness had told him was only 17. The witness then showed him the registration certificate, and then he said he was satisfied. The witness knew nothing of the defendant's giving notice of marriage to the registrar of the Whitechapel district. He had not given his consent to the marriage. There was a ceremony in the Jewish religion of betrothal. It was very like the marriage ceremony subsequently gone through. Cross-examined by Mr. Abbott, the witness said that the defendant some six or seven days after the first interview called again, and witness, who had made inquiries, did not deny him. It was not, however, true that the defendant and witness's daughter went out together or that they "kept company." The witness never gave his consent. The defendant lent him money, or rather paid money for witness, and that was only six or seven days after he was admitted to the house. Mr. Abbott put the register containing the entry of the marriage between the parties into the witness's hands, and asked him if it was signed by his daughter. The witness admitted the signature; and Mr. Abbott pointed out that the girl had there declared that she was of full age. In reply to Mr. Abbott he said that his daughter was a girl of sense and average intellect. She could read and write. He had seen his daughter teaching the defendant to read and write. He told his daughter that the defendant was a man of a little money, but a few years older than herself. She was not willing to receive his attentions, and he, witness, never gave his consent. Mr. Abbott asked the witness why he had allowed so long a time to elapse before taking proceedings, whereupon Mr. Bushby remarked that reasons for that were matters of comment for a jury, but nothing against the defendant being committed. In any case the defendant must be sent for trial, unless the defendant could show that he had no knowledge of the girl's age. Mr. Abbott pointed out that the declaration was made "believing the same to be true," and the defendant denied having seen the certificate which the father declared he had shown him. He could not, however, call the defendant to deny that it was shown him, but would call evidence to prove that the girl had many times represented herself as 21 years of age. Mr. Bevan submitted that in the father's evidence there was a prima facie case established, and Mr. Bushby agreed, remarking that Mr. Abbott's statements would be matter for a jury. Mr. Abbott then called Mr. William Vallance, superintendent registrar of marriage, &c., in Whitechapel, who produced the register of the marriage between the defendant, Jacob Barnett, and Kate Rosenblatt. In reply to Mr. Abbott, he said that he did not recall the circumstances of this marriage, but his invariable practice was when the parties appeared before him to put questions to each as to their ages and satisfy himself that they were over 21 years of age. The woman would sign a certificate as to what was stated being true. Joseph Barnett, general dealer, said that he was present at the marriage of his brother and Kate Rosenblatt on the 28th of October. She called on him on the night before, and told him to go the next morning to the registrar's office at the workhouse, and said that she was going to be married to Jacob. Witness went there, and another brother, George, came afterwards, and then Kate arrived. He heard her give her age as 21, in answer to a question from Mr. Vallance. George Barnett, another brother, deposed that he was fetched by Kate Rosenblatt on the morning of the marriage and asked by her to go to witness it. He heard her give her age as 21. Cross-examined, the witness said that they left the registrar's office together, and he saw them part in the street, the girl shaking hands with the defendant. The witness did not see Kate Rosenblatt throw the certificate given her on the ground and run way. The witness did not know that he had assisted in a criminal offence. Katherine Cohen, living in the same house as Joseph Barnett, in Old Castle-street, Whitechapel, deposed to being told by the girl about three weeks before that she was going to be married to Jacob Barnett, and that they were going to put up the bans. The witness asked her if her parents knew it, and she said, "Of course, or I could not get married." The witness saw her the same night, and knew that they had arranged that she was to live at home before going to the defendant, who was getting his things together. The witness denied that there was any ceremony of betrothal, such as was sworn to by Rosenblatt, among the Jews. The only betrothal was the giving of a ring by the young man, but that was not done before officers of the synagogue. Mr. Bevan, in cross-examination, read an extract from "Milman's History of the Jews," and asked the witness whether the statement therein as to the ceremony of betrothal and the signing of the articles under penalty before friends was true or not. The witness replied that it was not true, "unless the parties liked." At the conclusion of the defence the defendant was committed for trial at the Central Criminal Court, Mr. Bushby saying that he would accept two sureties of £20 each for his appearance.