Rex vs. Edward Brian Briscoe


The LOI Research Team has flagged this record for containing sensitive information. This record contains the following sensitivities:

  • Details of potentially serious or violent criminal activity, especially violence.

Rex vs. Edward Brian Briscoe


Title Proper F0 GR0419 BOX 569 FILE 155A
Date(s) 1947
General material designation
This file contains a textual record.
Scope and content
Edison Brian Briscoe was charged on 26 July 1947 at Rivers Inlet with possessing a stolen boat, alleged to have previously been known as the "Rio II" and sold several times before being stolen from Matt Nybo and James Barnett and renamed "Guess Who." Briscoe was found guilty and appealed the case, claiming that new evidence would prove that the "Guess Who" and "Rio II" were different boats. File is relevant because the Rio II was originally named "S.N." under licence 3271 when it was purchased by British Columbia Packers Ltd. from the Japanese Fishing Vessels Disposal Committee on 11 May 1942. File is very disorganized, documents presented in original order. For the sake of clarity it is recommended that researchers begin by reading Appeal book beginning on page 124. See also bca_gr_0419_box_569_file_155b.
PDF Table of contents: Page 2 Radiogram from Vancouver Inspector Swanson to officers of the court in Revelstoke, 6 February 1948, regarding subpoenas for John Goch and sons and their travel to Vancouver for new trial. Page 3 Radiogram from Vancouver Inspector Swanson to officer of the court in Prince Rupert, 6 February 1948, requesting presence of witness Mr. Hicks. Page 4 Radiogram from Prince Rupert officer of the court to Vancouver counterpart indicating that McLean Shipyards served writ by Briscoe’s counsel Marsden regarding return of ‘Guess Who’. Page 5 Radiogram from officer of the court in Prince Rupert to Vancouver counterpart, 22 January 1948, regarding evidence from Mr. Barnett, and statements made by Briscoe that contradicted his trial testimony. Page 6 Radiogram regarding shipment of ‘Guess Who’ via C.N.R. 26 January 1948. Pages 7-8 Reports from Constable L.E. Faryon regarding Briscoe’s stay at Rodmay Hotel in Powell River in August 1947. Page 9 List of prisoners for sentencing. Page 10 Note describing Briscoe’s trouble with the Canadian Fishing Co., Clay’s Wharf, and the fate of Briscoe’s boat the ‘ Joker’, 20 February 1948. Pages 11-15 Examination of Crown witness Arthur Matheson, head of Service Department at Vivien Engine Works Ltd describing bill of sale to Mr. Wingen for a 15 horsepower 2-cylinder Vivien gas engine, serial number 1659 on 20 January 1936 and record keeping regarding change of ownership. Pages 16-17 Undated and unsigned notes regarding Briscoe’s evidence and visibility of the name ‘Rio II’ and carved initials ‘S.M.’ on ‘Guess Who’. Pages 18-22 Handwritten notes on boat measurements and witnesses. Page 23 Note listing Briscoe’s criminal record, 23 February 1948. Pages 24-57 Witnesses recalled 18 February 1948; all describe seeing ‘S.N.’ carved into port side of the hull. Pages 58-62 Crown counsel Russell Twining’s copy of crime report from Sergeant J.W. Hooker, with evidence. Point 13 indicates that boat ’S.N’ Licence 3271 “was purchased by the British Columbia Packers Ltd., ex Japanese Fishing Vessels Disposal Committee” on 11 May 1942 and lists subsequent transfers of the vessel. Pages 63-64 A letter from Counsel J.T. Harvey to the Deputy Attorney General from 9 January 1948 describing context of Briscoe’s appeal. Pages 65-69 Crown counsel H.R. Bray’s copy of crime report from Sergeant J.W. Hooker, with evidence. Pages 70-72 Oaths from Dennis Harley, Bert Harley and Paddy George describing two separate boats named Rio II, ’both Japanese built’. Pages 73-80 Examination of BCP officer John Melville Hicks on 18 February 1948 in which he describes the carving on the hull. Page 81 Letter from Deputy Attorney General to H.R. Bray describing Justice Sidney Smith’s opinion that Briscoe was ‘guilty as could be’. Pages 82-83 Jury list for winter assizes. Page 84 Handwritten memo to Inspector Swanson from crown counsel regarding witnesses. Pages 85-90 Affidavit from Helmer Miller Hanna, 2 December 1947, swearing that he witnessed previous owner John Goch’s sons remove ‘Rio II’ from Seacraft Marine, Coal Harbour in December 1946. Lists alleged differences between the ‘Rio II’ and ‘Guess Who’; with attached photo of ‘Guess Who’. Pages 91-92 Exhibit four, photo of ‘Guess Who’. Pages 93-95 Order to change venue of trial from Prince Rupert to Vancouver. Page 96 Letter from Crown Counsel F.D. Pratt enclosing copy of order to change venue of the trial, 9 January 1948. Page 97 Letter from Deputy Attorney General E. Pepler to H.R. Bray commenting on new evidence transportation of Guess Who from Prince Rupert to Vancouver, 10 January 1948. Pages 98-101 Affidavit from John Gould, Marine Surveyor, 10 December 1947 describing alleged differences between ’Rio II’ and ‘Guess Who’. Pages 102-107 Notice of motion and Affidavit from Marsden on new evidence. Pages 108-110 Order allowing Appeal and directing a new trial. Pages 111-112 Affidavit from Harvey Roy Hurst, 2 December 1947. Pages 113-114 Affidavit from Edison Brian Briscoe’s father Brian Briscoe, 17 October 1947, describing need for his son’s help at his mine. Page 115 Notice of Appeal, 27 October 1947. Page 116 Notice of Motion for Leave to Appeal, 27 October 1947. Page 117 Notice of Application for Leave to Appeal from Sentence, 27 October 1947. Page 118 Letter from Briscoe’s father’s physician, Dr. A.J. MacLachlan regarding his health preventing manual labour, 17 October 1947. Pages 119-121 Letter to Deputy Attorney General Pepler from F.D. Pratt, 7 January 1948 describing application for change of venue and transportation of ‘Guess Who’ to Vancouver with enclosed copy of letter from Marsden. Pages 122-123 Letter to Deputy Attorney General from Counsel Pelton listing enclosed documents. Pages 124-391 Appeal book; includes index, exhibits, charge and proceedings at trial. Owner James Barnett describes paying $3350 for the vessel in August 1946, the carving on the hull and conditions of purchase. Owner Matt Nybo describes the carving and notably admits that he did not have a profitable fishing season. Philip Goch, son of previous owner John Goch, describes Japanese Canadian provenance of the vessel. The Defense’s opening address acknowledges sale of Japanese Canadian vessels and the worth of the boat in question. Boat builder Moses Alex North discusses the Custodian of Enemy Property and price range for vessels. Fisherman Montague Sladen Smith describes the boat being built “after Japanese lines.” The boat’s Japanese Canadian provenance is raised in the Charge to the Jury. Exhibits include the Registry of shipping, licence for the ‘Guess Who’, and affidavit from Briscoe claiming to have built the ‘Guess Who’ in 1946, a declaration from Briscoe which includes measurements, Briscoe’s receipt from the Canadian Fishing Company, and a chattel mortgage with B.C. Packers Ltd from 5 June 1947.
Name of creator
Immediate source of acquisition
The digital copies of the records were acquired by the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective between 2014 and 2018.
This record was digitized in full.



Rex vs. Edward Brian Briscoe
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