Thirty two prisoners were examined in London, from 2nd April 1725, as a preliminary to see who was to be committed, who the principal offenders were and who would be best to give evidence against the rest.
Twenty nine of them appeared at the Old Bailey on 26th or 27th May 1725. It was clear that John Gow was the instigator of the mutiny on board the George on 3rd November 1724. He remained silent, knowing that he there was no possibility of acquittal.
The object of pleading neither "guilty" nor "not guilty" was usually to cheat the Government out of property which might otherwise be forfeit to the Crown. The alternative was, by statute, to be pressed to death. It is thought that Gow's purpose of remaining silent was to avoid the disgrace of hanging in chains.
The order made by the judge was brutal in the extreme. On seeing the preparations being made, Gow was persuaded by the prison chaplain and admitted to plead and be tried with the rest of the crew. He had little to say in his defence and was quickly found guilty of murder. In the circumstances, the other charges were not brought.
Gow as taken to Execution Dock, where he was hanged.