Ultimately the defendants (the crew of another ship) came up with the whale, struck, killed, seized, and finally appropriated it before the very eyes of the plaintiffs.
Mr. Erskine was counsel for the defendants; Lord Ellenborough was the judge.
Now the defendants afterwards took the fish; ergo, the aforesaid articles were theirs.
And when those defendants were remonstrated with, their captain snapped his fingers in the plaintiffs’ teeth, and assured them that by way of doxology to the deed he had done, he would now retain their line, harpoons, and boat, which had remained attached to the whale at the time of the seizure.
…Judge in set terms decided, to wit,—That as for the boat, he awarded it to the plaintiffs, because they had merely abandoned it to save their lives; but that with regard to the controverted whale, harpoons, and line, they belonged to the defendants; the whale, because it was a Loose-Fish at the time of the final capture; and the harpoons and line because when the fish made off with them, it (the fish) acquired a property in those articles; and hence anybody who afterwards took the…
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The defendant is confident she will be found innocent.
The jury did not know about the defendant had a long criminal history.