chapter  2
33 Pages

R v Coney, Gilliam and Tully 1881–2: Civilizing combatants and limiting lawlessness

The case of R v Coney and Others originated in what was apparently an organized fi ght between two men, which drew a large crowd. These events became the subject of a jury trial at the Berkshire quarter sessions. There, a number of men were found guilty of assault either as combatants or because they were deemed to be in some way liable as accessories to the assaults committed by the fi ghters. The case against three of the defendants ( John Coney, William Gilliam and Thomas Tully) proved controversial as there was no evidence against them, excepting they were amongst the gathering. The central issue in terms of the law was, therefore, whether they had done enough to be convicted of aiding and abetting the assaults. This question was reserved to the Court for Crown Cases Reserved (CCCR) for an authoritative legal statement.