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1868, William Purcell - Unfit For Publication
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Empire, Wed 12 Aug 1868 1

(Before his Honor Mr Justice Cheeke.)



    William Purcell was charged with this offence. William Purcell, 1868  

    The prisoner asked to be allowed counsel. There being no professional gentlemen present to undertake prisoner’s case, his Honor said he had no power to postpone the trial, it must go-on. (The evidence given was unfit for publication).

    The jury returned a verdict of guilty.

    His Honor directed sentence of death to be recorded against prisoner, his sentence being in effect imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life.

    The Court then adjourned until 10 o’clock on Wednesday (this day), when the prisoners committed in the silk robbery will be tried.


The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 12 Aug 1868 2


BEFORE his Honor Mr Justice Cheeke.


    William Purcell was indicted for that he did on the 17th May last, at Port Macquarie, commit an indecent and capital crime.

    The prisoner, who pleaded not guilty applied to the Court for professional assistance in conducting his defence. His Honor would have acceded to the application, but as there was no professional gentleman within the precincts of the Court, and the case could not be postponed, the prisoner’s request could not be complied with. Mr Isaacs conducted the prosecution.

    The details of this case are utterly unfit for publication. It appeared from the evidence that the prisoner arrested on the beach at Port Macquarie in the very act of committing a disgusting offence.

    The jury, after consulting for twenty minutes, returned a verdict of guilty.

    On being asked if he had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon him, the prisoner said he was not guilty.

    His Honor said that according to the existing law of the colony the prisoner was liable to the punishment of death, but as the law in England had been altered, he would direct judgment of death to be entered instead of passing sentence of death. The prisoner’s life would be spared but he would be imprisoned for the whole natural term of his life. He sentenced the prisoner therefore to be imprisoned for life, having directed judgment of death to be entered.

    The Court adjourned until 10 o’clock to-morrow (Wednesday).


1  Empire, Wed 12 Aug 1868, p. 5.

2  The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 12 Aug 1868, p. 2.