Murderer Released

Ah You was released from the Geelong Gaol in January 1913, after serving only 6 years for the murder of a fellow countryman, for which he was originally sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. So it was with some alarm that his arrival back in Castlemaine was met.

An explanation was sought from the Government as to why Ah You had been released. It was explained that as he was 74 years old when sentenced to death and so had therefore served his sentence. It was recommended on his release that Ah You seek the assistance of a Benevolent Society but he did not do so, preferring instead to be sent to Melbourne, from where he made his way to Castlemaine with the help of the Prisoner Aid Society.

The expectation of life, in the prison regulations is based upon the Carlisle actuarial tables, which apparently assumes that men cease to murder over the age of 59 years and that a convict will not attain four score years (80). Ah You was 73 years of age when convicted of murder, so his expectation of life in the regulations eyes was just 7 years. So by serving these 7 years, Ah You was considered to have served his sentence and was entitled to gain his liberty.

In February 1913, Ah You had shot a fellow Chinamen by the name of Ah Cheong (or Tong) and then battered his brains out with a piece of quartz and his body then thrown down a shaft near the Eureka mine. The two men had been living together and were known not to be on friendly terms, said to be because the deceased owed Ah You money. The two men left to go to Castlemaine together on Saturday 9th of February, 1907 and that was the last time Ah Cheong was seen alive. On police searching their hut, they found a blood stained shovel and other items with blood on them. Ah You was sentenced to death in March, 1907 with a recommendation of mercy given his age and infirmity.

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