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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Wed 14 Feb 1855 1

    PATRIOTIC FUND.—A meeting of the magistrates of the Maitland district was held in the court room, yesterday, at one o’clock, for the purpose of making preliminary arrangements for a public meeting of the inhabitants of the district, for the formation of a local committee for collecting subscriptions for the widows and orphans of soldier, sailors and marines killed during the present war, in accordance with the proclamation of her Majesty the Queen and the address of the Governor General. Major Crummer in the chair. After some conversation it was resolved that a public meeting should be held on Monday 19th instant, at twelve o’clock, at Mr Levien’s Rose Inn, West Maitland; that Mr Chambers should act as secretary pro tem; and that these gentlemen taking an interest in the matter should be invited to meet together one hour previous to the time fixed for the public meeting.

    POLICE BUSINESS.—Yesterday there were seventeen cases on the police sheet for hearing by the bench. At ten minutes to eleven o’clock the first case was called on before Major Crummer and Messrs Doyle and Davidson. During the morning Messrs Green and Lang joined these magistrates on the bench.

    ILL-TREATING A CHILD.—Eliza Sampson was yesterday charged before the bench with endeavouring to destroy her infant child by ill-treating and neglecting it. The witnesses called were James Quigan, Drs White and McCartney, and Peter Green. Mr Quigan stated that defendant had six children, five of whom were colored; that about three weeks ago his attention was first called to the youngest child, and he thought that it was dying; it was about ten months old; last Wednesday Mrs Winchester sent the child round to witness’s house, and at that time all one side of the face was black, as if severely bruised; the child was very much emaciated, but all the other children were healthy; her husband was a colored man, and had deserted her; she was a person of very bad habits. Dr White had visited the child on 17th January, and found it in a very emaciated state; defendant said she had no milk, and witness ordered the child to be fed with wine. Dr McCartney saw the child last Wednesday; it had severe bruises as if it had fallen from the bed; previous to her husband’s desertion Mrs Sampson was a most industrious woman, and had taken great care of her children, but since that time her habits had been very irregular, and she was unfit to take care of her child; the child was now much recovered. Mr Green saw the child last Wednesday; it was in a most emaciated state; some bread and milk was got which it took most ravenously; saw the bruises, and had been informed that they had been caused by the child being thrown out of bed by the man with whom the defendant cohabited. The bench committed the defendant to take her trial at the next Maitland Quarter Sessions.

    DISGUSTING CHARGE.—On Monday a man named Robert Head was charged before Major Crummer with assaulting Frederick Birgh, at Morpeth, on the evening of the 5th February, with intent to commit sodomy. After hearing the evidence of Birgh and Constable John Little, the bench committed Head for trial at the ensuing Circuit Court, but admitted him to bail, himself in £40, and two sureties in £20 each.

    FATAL ACCIDENT TO MR ARENDT.—On Thursday last, Mr Arendt, an agent of the firm Messrs Kellerman Brothers, and Falck, of Maitland, was returning from a visit to Armidale, and had reached Glennie’s Creek, near Singleton, when he found the creek very much swollen by the late rains. Nevertheless he attempted to cross, and his horse had nearly reached the opposite bank, when he stumbled, and in the struggle Mr Arendt was thrown off into the rapid current. Unhappily, Mr Arendt could not swim, and he was borne helplessly down, and soon sank. His body was not recovered till Sunday morning, when the sum of about £400 in cheques, &c, was found on his person. The body of the horse has not yet been recovered, we believe, nor the saddle bags.

    CHARGE OF ROBBERY.—Henry Nichols was on Friday, 9th February, and by postponement yesterday, charged before the bench with feloniously and assaulting and stealing from the person of David Sloan, on Tuesday 6th February, in the back yard of the prisoner, a pocket book containing certain moneys. Mr Mullen appeared for the complainant, and Mr Chambers for the prisoner. Adam Stout, police constable, apprehended the prisoner, on warrant on the evening of the 7th inst, in East Maitland, and stated the charge against him; prisoner denied having robbed Dr Sloan, but stated that the pocket book had been found on the ground, near to the spot where the scuffle had taken place, and had been handed over by prisoner to Mr Lonsdale to give to Mr Sloan; prisoner further stated that there were four half sovereigns, some silver, and two papers in the pocket-book. On prisoner’s being searched a five pound note, a crown piece, and two shillings were found on his person. Edward McLean, constable, went to Mr Lonsdale’s for the pocket-book, and was told that it had been returned to Mr Nichols, and on going to prisoner’s house received the pocket-book now produced, containing four half sovereigns, some silver, an American coin, an account for books, and a draft in favour of Messrs Waugh and Cox, Sydney, for £9 18s 6d; witness also received a straw hat and riding whip, both now produced, which were said to be the property of complainant. David Sloan saw prisoner on 6th instant, at the back of his own house; witness had been told at home, by his housekeeper, that he was wanted at Mr Nichols’s house, and proceeded there; as the door was open witness walked in; the party whom he expected to see was in the room, and walked out by the back door, and witness followed; did not then see her, and on coming back to the house for the purpose of making enquiries saw Mr Nichols coming round the corner of the house, armed with an iron bar; seeing from prisoner’s manner that he might be injured witness went away, when prisoner rushed at him, struck a violent blow on the back of his head, which knocked him down; prisoner then sat on his body, planted his knees on his shoulders to keep him down, took hold of him by the throat with one hand, and with the other grasping the iron bar inflicted many sever wounds; witness struggled, and got away, and fearing another attack got hold of a stick, when he was again laid hold of, knocked down, and received many blows, his whole body being covered with blood. When witness went to prisoner’s house he had a pocket-book with four half-sovereigns, some silver, and a draft in favour of a firm in Sydney, but on reaching home the purse and money were gone. The pocket-book was inside of his breast coat pocket, and the silver inside of his waistcoat pocket. Witness could not say whether when he came to his senses he had his coat buttoned or not; saw prisoner pick up his hat and whip; identified the pocket book, hat, and whip. Yesterday this case was resumed: David Sloan was re-sworn, and produced the coat he had on when the assault took place; there were stains of blood visible on the coat; they were caused by witness having been beat by Mr Nichols over the head with an iron bar; the coat was now in the same state as when it was worn on the night of the assault. At the request of the bench Mr McManus examined the coat, and found no part of it torn; there was only one small cut near the pocket in the inside. Mr Sloan did not miss his pocket book and money till about ten o’clock next morning. This closed the case for the prosecution. For the defendant the following witnesses were called: Isabella McDonald, Sarah Farrell, Hannah Walsh, and George Lonsdale. Isabella McDonald, who was at Mr Nichols’s on the evening in question, saw Mr Sloan enter and Mrs Nichols rise and run out by the back door, followed by complainant; Mr Nichols followed them, and met Mr Sloan returning, when some words took place and witness went into the kitchen; they went pretty quick down the yard and witness saw Sloan with a long stick in his hand, and Nichols trying to take it from him; Nichols’s mouth was bleeding; they both fell on the ground; and Nichols took the whip from Sloan and struck him with it; there was no iron bar near the place; he never put his hands into Sloan’s pocket, and could not have done so without witness seeing it; prisoner had nothing but the whip which he had taken from Mr Sloan; prisoner did not pick up a hat.

    Cross-examined: The night was neither dark nor light; it would be about twenty yards from the back door that witness went and saw the struggling; witness was then about five yards from the two parties.—Sarah Farrell was at Nichols’s on the night in question, when there was a quarrel with Mr Sloan; about thirty yards from the back of the house Mrs Nichols picked up a purse, and brought it into the house; it was opened in the presence of witness, and others; there were four half sovereigns in it, a crown piece, and a foreign coin; Mrs Nichols handed the whole to the servant to keep till morning; the hat was found by Mrs Nichols previously; witness stopped all night in Nichols’s house. Mrs Nichols and witness, about four o’clock next morning, went into the paddock, and found the whip which Mrs Nichols had thrown away the night before. Mr Nichols did not know that these things were in the house that night.

    Cross-examined: the purse and money now produced are the same as what was picked up, and so are the two papers — Hannah Walsh received the different articles from Mrs Nichols, and kept them till the next morning, when she gave them back; Mrs Nichols was then making them up into a parcel, to send to Mr Sloan by the child, when Mr Nichols interfered, and would not allow any of his family to go on any such message. George Lonsdale saw Mr Nichols on the morning of the 7th last, and was aware of the disturbance on his premises on the previous evening; Mr Nichols brought a hat, whip, and purse, and desired witness to keep them till he (Nichols) returned from East Maitland, as he was going to the Court-house; he thought he would require the assistance of witness in drawing out an advertisement for the Mercury, in regard to the ownership of the property; Mr Nichols borrowed a £5 from witness, having to be over at East Maitland before bank opened; thought the note now produced was the same as the one lent, from a portion of it being torn; would not swear to it; witness returned the articles to the prisoner in the afternoon, and the constable called for them in the evening. Another witness for the defence was about to be called, when the bench stopped the case and discharged Mr Nichols.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Wed 21 Feb 1855 2

(Before his Honor the Chief Justice.)
(Concluded from our last number.)



    Robert Head was indicted for an attempt to commit an unnatural offence on Frederick Birgh, at Morpeth, on the 9th February.

    The prisoner was undefended.

    The witnesses called were Frederick Birgh, and John Little.

    The evidence given was of a character which prevents its publication.

    The jury retired for fifteen minutes, and returned a verdict of guilty of a common assault, and the prisoner was sentenced to twelve calendar months imprisonment in Parramatta gaol, and thereafter to give surety personally in £100, and two sureties in £50 each, for good behaviour for the period of two years.

    The court then adjourned till Tuesday morning.

1  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Wed 14 Feb 1855, p. 2. Emphasis added.

2  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Wed 21 Feb 1855, pp. 6, 7. Emphasis added.