266 THE DIAMOND MINES OF SOUTH AFRICA
Underneath the notice was a schedule showing — The number of carats. From whom recovered. How acquired.
number of carats ranged from half a carat to 6375 carats, which were
found in the possession of one man. The total number reached 8443
carats, which were recovered from fifty persons. Two days later a
similar notice appeared stating that 1573-1/2 carats had been
recovered, having been found in the possession of a well-known dealer
in illicit diamonds. The total value of these two lots would amount to £ 30.000 or .£40,000.
practice of illicit diamond buying was so persistent and obnoxious that
it was curtly styled I. D. B., and the strictest possible regulations
were made to check it and punish offenders. A Special Court was
established in 1880x to try cases of this kind, and a
special police force formed with warrant to make the most rigorous
search of suspected thieves and receivers. Under the Diamond Trade Act
every parcel of diamonds taken from the Fields must be formally
described and registered, and every transfer recorded from the date of
discovery till the final shipment from the Cape Colony. No person was
permitted to deal in diamonds unless he held a formal license, and his
record books of purchase and sale were always open to police
inspection. Thefts of diamonds and illicit purchasers were punished
with all possible rigor.
A Special Court was established under ordinance No. 8 of 1880. A
barrister was appointed as Special Magistrate to act with the Resident
Magistrate and the Additional Resident Magistrate. Under Act No. 48 of
1882 the Special Court for mining offences consisted of three persons,
of whom at least one was a judge of the Supreme Court. The other two
were usually the Resident Magistrate and the Civil Commissioner. By
proclamation No. 144, dated September 1, 1882, the districts of
Kimberley, Herbert, Hay, and Barkly were within the jurisdiction of the
Special Court. Act No. 34 of 1888 provided that the Special Court
should consist of three members, two of whom must be judges of the
Supreme Court. Persons convicted by the Special Court might appeal to
the Supreme Court.