"John Fowler Smith, a farm servant with no fixed place of residence, was examined in chambers in Aberdeen yesterday before Hon. Sheriff-Substitute James Murray of North Inveramsay, in connection with a series of charges. Smith is alleged to have stolen 30s. from the dwelling house on the croft at Hill of Bandode, Midmar, on 1st of September last; a quantity of clothing from a shed at Whinnypark Cottage, Birse, on the 8th or 9th inst., and a jacket from a shed at Marywell Cottage, Birse, and a quantity of clothing from the bleaching green adjoining. The offences were denied and Smith was remitted for further examination".
Frustratingly, the results of this "further examination" do not appear to have been reported in the press. However, on searching the Perth Prison Registers (which have recently been made available through Scotland's People) we find that John Fowler Smith was admitted as a prisoner there nearly two years later, on the 9th May 1906 following a trial for theft by house breaking at Kinross. For this crime he was given a 12 month sentence. He was 25 years of age, with his birthplace listed as Buckie. His height was 5 feet 7 inches, his occupation given as a "labourer" and was in good health with 20 previous convictions.
Although liberated from Perth on the 21st May 1907, Smith found himself back inside the same prison later that year, being incarcerated on the 28th December 1907. On this occasion he had been sentenced to 18 months at Forfar Sherriff Court for theft by housebreaking. The Perth Prison Register further reveals that he was liberated to Bridge of Allan on the 26th June 1909.
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