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1868, John White - Unfit For Publication
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Depositions for John White 17 Oct 1868 Bathurst trial 1

Francis Smith, JP, Police Office,
Molong 30 May 1868

James Martin QC, Attorney General, Sydney

Sir,
    In forwarding the Depositions in Regina vs John White [aka William Tanner, et al], charged before me with sodomy, I have not bound over Dr Ross to give evidence.
    I now do myself the honour to request you will inform me whether it is necessary that I should do so.
    I have the honour to be,
      Sir,
   your most obedient servant.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Depositions of Witnesses.

New South Wales, Molong,
TO WIT                              }

The examination of Thomas Wallings [aka Warren] of Molong in the Colony of New South Wales, Senior Constable and Thomas Hodgkinson of Molong – Painter and John Wynne of Molong, Publican and Andrew Ross of Molong, Doctor and Edward Wright Moon of Molong, Publican in the said Colony, taken on oath this twenty second and twenty third days of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty eight, at the Police Office Molong in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony, in the presence and hearing of John White who is charged this day before me for that he the said John White on the 21st day of May 1868 at Molong, in the said Colony, did assault and commit an unnatural offence on the person of one Thomas Hodgkinson. 

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Police Office Molong
May 22nd 1868

Before Francis Smith Esq. JP.
    John White is placed before the Court charged with assault with intent to commit an unnatural offence. 

    Thomas Wallings having been sworn saith: I am a Senior Constable in charge of the Police Station at Molong. About 2 o’clock in the morning of the 21st of May instant I was called up by Thomas Hodgkinson who told me that a man whom he did not know, but describing him, had painted his room where he was sleeping and attempted to commit an unnatural offence upon his person while asleep. Hodgkinson lives at John Wynne’s public house in Bank Street Molong. I sought for the person described and found the prisoner lying against a fence in Bank Street, without a hat. I asked him his name, he said after some hesitation, “My name is White.”, I told him that I was a police officer, and charged him with having attempted, to commit un–

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unnatural offence on Thomas Hodgkinson. He made some reply which I could not understand, when I told him, he would have to go to the lock up with me, he became rather violent. I had to throw him and handcuff him. I asked him where his hat was. He said “I do not know” – the hat which I now produce was handed to me by Mr Hodgkinson as being the one, which he found on his bed after wrestling with the person who, he said, had committed the offence. At the Lock up I asked the prisoner, if this was his hat, and he said “yes” I took possession of it. I found some property on the prisoner when I searched him in the lock up, viz. one graven, one package of tacks, two boxes of matches and a piece of Moroccan leather. The prisoner was identified by Mr Hodgkinson as the person who had committed the offence at the time I arrested him.

    By the Bench By the prisoner: I believe you had had some drink you were lying down and I thought you were asleep when I first saw you – I should think you were capable of taking care of yourself. The hat I believe was given to me at my house by Hodgkinson I don’t remember ever seeing you before.
[Signed] T Wallings.

Sworn before me at Molong this 22nd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

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    Thomas Hodgkinson having been sworn saith: I am a painter and reside in Molong at Wynne’s Hotel. I slept at Wynne’s on the night of the 20th of May instant. My bedroom is a verandah room with the door opening onto the verandah – the door was not locked.

    Trial for prisoner 17/10/68 [Init.] CBS: I went to bed about 11 o’clock on the night of the 20th between the hour of 1 and 2 I was awoke in my bed by the prisoner now before the court laying in my bed forcibly holding me, and committing an unnatural offence on my person. I struggled with him and released myself, and held him till I could gain assistance, he was too powerful, I had to let him go and I then went for the police. I reported what had happened to Senior Constable Wallings. I found a hat on my bed which I afterwards gave to Mr Wallings, The hat produced is the same. There is only one bed in my room. I was awoke by the fearful sensation of the prisoner using his privates on me about my fundament. The prisoner’s face was towards my back. I was lying on my side, with my face towards the door – the prisoner was between me and the wall. I felt something penetrating my body when I woke – it was the prisoner’s penis – I found

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the prisoner lying in the street when I was in company with Mr Wallings. I gave him in charge – I said “That is the man.” I never saw the prisoner before. My door was closed but not locked. The prisoner in trying to get away from me tore part of my shirt sleeve off. I have no hesitation in identifying the prisoner.

    By the Bench: My fundament was penetrated. My bed touches the back wall of the room – my room was entered by the door. I retired to bed at 11 o’clock I was sober – I’m a very sound sleeper – mine is a double bed – no-one went to bed with me that night – I would have believed before that a person could have got into my bed without waking me – I would not have believed before that a man could have put his penis into my fundament without waking me.

    I sometimes get groggy like other people. I have never drunk to that excess as to be carried to bed.

    I have lived at Dandolow [NSW] on the Bogan river. I don’t remember seeing you there. When I left Dandolow I came to Molong to Mr Wynne’s.

    I don’t remember seeing you at Mr Wynne’s after leaving Dandolow.

    I might have described to you a picture of mine behind the bar at Wynne’s separating kangaroos and emus but don’t recollect it. I don’t remember drinking with you at Wynne’s and telling you that Mr Bartell had defrauded me out of my wages.

    There was a difference about wages

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between Mr Bartell and me. I never recollect drinking or quarrelling with you.

    I raised an alarm when the alleged offence occurred – no-one came to my assistance.
    I called for help.
    It was dark and I could not see what clothes you had on.
    I found you myself when I was in company with the police officer.
    I found your hat on my bed.
    We left the bedroom together.
    I was struggling with you 5 or 6 minutes this was between 1 and 2 in the morning.
    It was about a quarter of an hour after this that I pointed you out to the police officer It was dark then.
    I lost sight of you between the time of the trouble and when I found you.
    I found you about a hundred yards from where the struggle took place.
    I don’t know whether you were drunk or sober.
    You were lying by the side of the fence I don’t know whether you were asleep or awake.
    I don’t know whether you were drunk or sober when you arrived at the watch house. No-one but you would have entered my room at that time. Any other person could have entered the room the door not being locked. I was very much flurried when the attempt was made on me.
    My excitement would not have caused me to mistake you for any other person.

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It was light enough in the room for me to trace your features so as to know you again. I told the people in the inn in the morning what had happened.

  I first saw the landlord Mr Wynne in the morning – I spoke to him – I complained to him that he did not come to my assistance. He replied “I thought that you were putting the drunken man Crabtree out of your room.” 
    Crabtree had not been in my bedroom I left him in the billiard room at 11 o’clock at night.
    Crabtree could not get out of the billiard room and into my bedroom.
    Drunken men are not in the habit of going into my bedroom.
    No men are in the habit of going into my room it is my private room.

    By the Defendant Prisoner: No moon on the Wednesday night it was cloudy.
    It was light enough for me to tell the difference between two men and when I saw the prisoner lying on the ground I told Mr Walling that is the man.
    The prisoner had not taken off his clothes when he came into
    The prisoner had his clothes on when he was in my bed.
    No conversation took place between the prisoner and myself. He was too anxious to get away.
    There is a wash stand and utensils in the room – I was undressed when I was in bed.
    I could not discern any colours it was too

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dark. I don’t recollect giving any description of the prisoner to the police. I might have said he is a strong powerful man. I was determined to find him myself. I don’t recollect seeing the prisoner before.

    By the Bench: You had your boots on when you were in my bed.

    By the prisoner: Yes that is the prisoner and I fell out of the bed together and struggled to the verandah and in the verandah.
[Signed] Thomas Hodgkinson.

Sworn before me at Molong the 22nd of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

    Thomas Wallings having been resworn saith: The prisoner had his boots on when I arrested him, no hat, he was dressed as he is now, I noticed when I apprehended the prisoner that his trousers were open in front and his shirt torn and disarranged.

    By the Bench: Your clothes were disarranged before I knew you – I did not tear your shirt. It was dark but light enough to see your clothes.
[Signed] T Wallings.

Sworn before me at Molong this 22nd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

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    Andrew Ross having been sworn saith: I am a duly qualified medical man and reside at Molong. On Thursday the 21st instant I was requested by Senior Constable Wallings to visit the prisoner in the lock up at Molong and to examine his person. I did so and examined him in the lock up. I examined his penis and the clothing he then wore but I could detect no disease or spermatic fluid on the clothing. The organs appeared healthy and apparently free from any symptoms of venereal. I also examined the prosecutor in the case on the same day, I could detect no trace or mark of violence on his person nor that he had been violated in any way. The anus appeared in its natural state.
[Signed] Andrew Ross, MD.

Sworn before me at Molong this 22nd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

  The prisoner is remanded for one day.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

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Court House Molong
May 23rd 1868

Before Francis Smith Esq. JP.
    John White on remand is placed before the court charged with the before named felony.

    John Wynne having been sworn saith: I am a publican and reside in the town of Molong. I have seen the prisoner now before the Court before – about seven months ago – but have not seen him since, till now. I was at home on Wednesday night last and the morning of Thursday 21st May instant. Thomas Hodgkinson and a man named Crabtree were lodging with me on Wednesday night – Hodgkinson returned to bed, I believe, about half past 11 o’clock or 12. Hodgkinson was not drunk he had had some glasses of grog but was quite capable of taking care of himself – Hodgkinson occupies a verandah room – I heard some noise under the verandah, some time during the night. I am not certain about the time – I thought it was Crabtree’s voice calling out “Wynne”. Crabtree was sleeping in the Bagatelle Room, and I thought he had got into Hodgkinson’s room and that he was shoving him out. I heard a good deal of stamping under the verandah. I thought Crabtree had got his horse there. I had

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a light burning in my lamp. I believe the light was burning when I went to bed. The lamp is not far from Hodgkinson’s bedroom – I don’t know whether the rays of the lamp would throw any light onto the verandah. The lamp is about 8 or 10 yards from Hodgkinson’s room. I could discern the lamp close from Hodgkinson’s – there is no fastening to Hodgkinson’s room.

    By the prisoner: I asked Hodgkinson what the row was about the next morning. He told me some person had come into his room and taken away a paper of tacks and some leather and a graving tool and that the man was in the lock up. Afterwards he told me he was awoke by a man grasping him around the body. Hodgkinson asked me when he sang out why I did not come to assist him. I said, I thought it was Crabtree calling out.
    About some time afterwards Hodgkinson told me that the man was ramming away at him when he awoke.
    I asked Hodgkinson – was it not Crabtree who was singing out – he answered “no, it was me singing out.”
    Sometime afterwards Hodgkinson told me that the man was ramming away at me when he awoke.

    By the Bench: I remember the morning of the 21st of May. I went to bed the night previous about half past 11 or 12 o’clock.

    I was awoke by a noise under the verandah I heard a scuffling first, and then someone singing out stop I did not think it of sufficient importance to get up

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    By the prisoner: The noise appeared to me to be under the verandah. There is a brick wall between Hodgkinson’s bedroom and mine.
    I don’t know whether I could have heard any noise in Hodgkinson’s room.
    Hodgkinson’s room is nearer to mine than the verandah.
    I could have heard someone shouting loudly for help from the room if I was awake.
    I don’t know whether I should have got up.
    My first conversation with Hodgkinson in the morning was about half past 7 or 8 o’clock – it might have been an hour afterwards when he told me about the man ramming away at him.
    I asked Hodgkinson first what was the matter, and at last he told me about the man ramming away at him.
    The clasp has been off the bedroom door for some weeks.
    I don’t think the lamp can be seen from Hodgkinson’s room.
    I don’t know whether I could discern the visage of a man under the verandah by the reflection of the lamp – to the best of my opinion – I could not.
[Signed] John Wynne.

Sworn before me at Molong this 23rd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

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    Thomas Hodgkinson having been sworn saith – I was present on the morning of the 21st of May when the prisoner was received into the lock up. I saw the prisoner searched – by the lock up keeper – I saw taken from him a paper of tacks and an engraving tool and a small piece of Moroccan cloth and a box of matches – when I saw them I recognised them as my property. I can swear to the engraving tool produced and the piece of Morocco cloth and the package of tacks. I kept them on my dressing table in my bedroom. I last saw them about 5 o’clock in the evening of Wednesday the 20th instant on my dressing table. I never gave the prisoner authority to take these things or any one else.
    There were sheets, blankets and quilts on the bed occupied by me on the same night the offence was committed. The sheets only have been removed since by Mr Wallings. I should know them again the sheets produced are the same.

    By the prisoner: I did not miss the engraving tool, tacks and leather till they were found on your person. I last saw them when I went to bed at 11 o’clock.
    I did not give those things in to you possession pockets.
    I do not keep all my tools on my dressing table but the engraving tool and tacks were left on my dressing table ready to go to work with me in the morning. When I said I last saw them at 5 o’clock in the evening I meant that I had bought the tacks as then.
[Signed] Thomas Hodgkinson.

Sworn before me at Molong this 23rd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Statement of the Accused.

New South Wales, Molong
TO WIT.                             }

    John White stands charged before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the Colony aforesaid, this 23rd day of May in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty eight for that he, the said John White, on the 21st day of May 1868 at Molong, in the said Colony, did assault and commit an unnatural offence on the person of one Thomas Hodgkinson and the examinations of all the witnesses on the part of the prosecution have been completed, and the depositions taken against the accused having been caused to be read to him by me, the said Justice, (by/or) before whom such examination has been so completed; and I, the said Justice, having also stated to the accused and given to him clearly to understand that he has nothing to hope from any promise of favour, and nothing to fear from any threat which may have been holden out to him to induce him to make any admission or confession of his guilt, but that whatever he shall say may be given in evidence against him upon his trial, notwithstanding such promise or threat; and the said charge being read to the said John White and the witnesses for the prosecution being severally examined in his presence, the said John White is now addressed by me as follows:– “Having heard the evidence, do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire to do so; but whatever you say will be taken down in writing, and may be given in evidence against you upon your trial;” whereupon the said John White saith as follows:– On the night of the 19th being a very wet night I remained at one of Mr Rites sheep stations the next morning I started for Molong

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distant 9 miles. The roads were wet for travelling. I stopped for the night at Cotter’s public house till half past 7 pm. I then borrowed a coat and took a walk down the town, as far as Moon’s public house. I had drunk 4 glasses of rum at Cotter’s – and 7 or 8 more at Moon’s. The last man I saw drinking with me at Moon’s was Bennett the pound keeper. To the best of my belief he walked away with me towards Cotter’s where I intended to stay for the night, this must have been between 12 and 1 o’clock. Where he parted from me I know not. To the best of my opinion I fell asleep somewhere on the road by some fence. I then had some money in my possession and a half a gutta percha comb. I have no recollection of entering any dwelling – nor contending with any individual, until aroused by the police. I wish to call Bennett the pound keeper and Mr Jones at Isaac’s store – to the best of my opinion I never was at Mr Wynne’s on the night or morning in question, and I think it impossible for me to enter any man’s bed with my boots and clothes on, much less commit an unnatural offence on him without wakening him. The goods found in my possession I believe to have been placed in my possession by some evil disposed person, my hat I lost, and in my drunken stupor, I claimed a hat through having none, which, I believe, not to have been my own, as mine was a much better one, it was a similar

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hat, but with ventilating holes on the side.
[Signed] John White.

Taken before me at Molong this 23rd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

    William Howard Bennett having been sworn saith:– I am pound keeper and reside at Molong. I was at Moon’s on Wednesday night last and saw you there. I left when the mail came in about 10 or half past 10 o’clock that night. You did not ask me to accompany you as far as Cotter’s. I had a glass with you and Mr Jones. I treated you before I left. We did not leave Moon’s together. I did not see you after that. I do not know when Moon’s closes.
[Signed] WH Bennett.

Sworn before me at Molong this 23rd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

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    By the prisoner: Edward Jones having been sworn saith:– I remember seeing you at Cotter’s on the night in the evening of the 20th of May instant. I saw you afterwards at Moon’s between 10 and 11 o’clock. I remained up till half past twelve o’clock, but I was at home I don’t know when you left Moon’s.
[Signed] Edward Jones.

Sworn before me at Molong this 23rd day of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

    By the prisoner: Edward Wright Moon having been sworn saith:– I am a publican and reside in Molong. I remember you being at my house on the night of Wednesday last. You came about 10 o’clock. You left between 1 and half past 1 on Thursday morning. You went down the street towards Blakefield’s Mill. You was capable of walking – but was intoxicated.

    By the prisoner: I know the time was between 1 and half past 1 by my clock.

    The prisoner asked me for a bed, but I could not accommodate him – he then went away. No-one left with him. The prisoner was dressed as he is now. I never saw the prisoner before. The hat produced is similar to the one he had on when he left my house.
[Signed] Edward Wright Moon.

Sworn before me at Molong this 23rd of May 1868.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The prisoner John White is committed to take his trial at the next assizes to be holden at Bathurst on Monday the 12th day of October 1868 or such other Court as the Attorney General may name.
[Signed] Francis Smith, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[On the depositions’ cover sheet is the following]

23rd May 1868
No. 461
Depositions.
No. 5
Regina
v.
John White
Sodomy
Next Bathurst Circuit Court (?) (?) 21 August 1868
Sodomy
[Committed at:] Molong

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Justice A Stephen’s Notebook 2

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[Bathurst, Saturday 17 October 1868]

John White. Sodomy with Thomas Hodgkinson 21st May last [1868].
(Molong)

    Thomas Warren. [aka Wallings] On H’s [Hodgkinson] information I went in search of the person described. It was 2 in the morning. Found prisoner in about ½ hour lying against a fence with his hat off. 3 After some hesitation he said that his name

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was White. I charged him with an attempt to commit an unnatural offence. His trowsers were unbuttoned – At the lock-up I asked prisoner if this hat produced: what H had got to say was his: and the prisoner said that it was … & put it on.

    Cross-examined. I had only 5 minutes to walk. The prisoner was lying about 100 yards from the Freemason’s Hotel & ¼ (mile ?) from [Edward Wright] Moon’s public house – You said before I took you to the watch house that you did not know where your hat was (I had it on my head but the night was dark and it may not have been observed) – I took these things from the prisoner in the watch house & they were claimed by H

    Thomas Hodgkinson. A painter Lodging at the Freemason’s Hotel in Molong. I have been a lodger there off and on for 2 years. This was my room (on plan produced). About 10 on the night of 21 May, I mean the 4 20th the landlord

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asked me to let one Crabtree share my bed as he wished to clear the bar. I refused. We put him in the billiard room and I went to bed at about 11 – At about 2 in the morning 5 I was awoke by the prisoner who had his penis in my fundament.

    The moment I felt this I tried to release myself. He held me by my arms … round my chest – and we struggled longer. The room was quite dark and I could not know but was determined to find out who the man was. 6

    He (was ?) a stronger (person ?) dragged me to the verandah … a few yards. I there by the light of the lamp was able to see that he did not belong to the town and I was obliged to let him go.

    My strength gave way 7 and he went away – in (a ?) direction from the lamp post. On my way (?) return to my bedroom found this hat on my bed. I went to the

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Police Sergeant … & he accompanied me in search of the prisoner – We went in a direction round the block of land & in our way towards the hotel met (met with) [sic] the prisoner – We were 100 or 120 yards from the hotel. Found the prisoner lying on the ground close to the fence. The constable asked his name and I believe took him in charge. Also asked if this was his hat though I don’t know if it was before or after telling prisoner of the charge. His trowsers were unbuttoned in the front. At the watch house these were taken from the prisoner, these things. This graving tool, this piece of morocco, this packet of matches, & this packet of tacks, are mine and were on my dressing table. I was perfectly sober. Don’t know that the prisoner was otherwise.

    Cross-examined. My room was not secured. The lock was gone. Some person while I was away had broken it.

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  I told the constable that the man had committed the act. You went round by the right. I went for the constable round by the left. (Deposition read.) Don’t believe that a person could have got in bed with me [without ?] my 8 knowing. I am a sound sleeper.

    Prisoner had his trowsers on and his boots. If it had been Crabtree who had entered my room and asked to lie down on my bed I would have let him. I know him well. We came from the same town. 9

    The Lock up Keeper searched you. No conversation but a question about the hat. Can’t say if you were asleep or awake when (?) came up. May have feigned to be asleep. As you were on the ground you were asked if that was your hat and you said that it was. I had no conversation with you in the bed; but I may have used expressions of disgust. 10

  I am sometimes intoxicated I admit. No one

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is dependent on me. Did not tell the Landlord till after coming from the PO [Police Office ?] that this offence had been completed [sic].

    I told him of the things which had been taken. I did not know till reminded by yourself that I had ever seen you before.

    John Wynne. Landlord of the Freemason’s Hotel at Molong. Remember Crabtree being put to bed in the bagatelle room. Sometime in May. Remember H going to bed that night. He was sober. He had had something to drink. In the night I heard someone calling out my name & I thought that it was Crabtree … stamping of feet on the verandah.

    In the morning I had a conversation with H – I knew that a man was apprehended, on this charge, that same morning.

    Cross-examined. Saw Crabtree some time on the day about the town. Can’t say if you ever wore a

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hat like that. I doubt if my lamp could enable any person to see the features of a man on the verandah. It is 12 or 14 feet above the floor. The witness H is eccentric; and tells a good number of extraordinary stories … fabulous tales. I know of his often complaining of his being robbed. Don’t believe that it was true. He is not a sober man. He will drink till his money is all gone. I once pulled you (prisoner) out of one of the verandah rooms … about 6 months previous to this.

    Edward W Moon. Innkeeper about 200 yards or more from Wynn’s. Saw prisoner on the evening before he was apprehended at my place & went away between 10 and 11 at night – I observed your hat. It was like this.

    Cross-examined. You paid for what you had. You had several glasses 11 but were able to walk.

  Told you that I could not give you accommodation at my hotel.

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    The Your hat was very similar to the one produced.

    Prisoner: makes an inflated address. Says that he had had a lamp on his breast: that his feelings “cannot be expressed; to think of a charge like this being preferred against me.” My boots were covered with sheep dung. I was very drunk indeed … and fell down; and was robbed of 25/- and of a hat. “I admire everything in nature which is grand and noble.” – (by me. In the course of his cross-examination he had said that the hat was not his … that he never had one so bad.)

    Surgeon’s evidence. [Dr Andrew Ross] At request of the prisoner & by consent of (Butler ?) for the Crown is read. He discovered no marks on the prisoner or on prosecutor.

Guilty of the Attempt. 

    Note I have not the smallest misgiving as to the prisoner’s guilt. For the prosecutor’s calling out in the night 12 & the finding of the prisoner’s hat on the bed, & the prosecutor’s property on the prisoner’s person,

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  13 together with the fact of his arrest so soon after the act done, or attempted, & the fact that the prisoner was drunk on the evening, and turned out of Moon’s public house a few hours before, cannot be explained on any other supposition than that of his having been the man who entered the prosecutor’s verandah room and escaped from it. That room being accessible from the street which indeed it adjoined … the verandah being only elevated a few inches above the level of the road, & the door of the room being at the time unfastened.

Tuesday 20th

Five Years Hard Labour Roads or Public Works

    See the prisoner’s remarkable Police History post (propter ?) 60. And, as I have read this to the man in open Court, I promise that if the facts be in any respect incorrectly stated, I will do my best to procure a remission of one half.

60

John White’s Case; Ante 12-20
    This man, under 7 different names, 14 has been 7 times convicted of Larceny, Vagrancy, or Attempt to commit Burglary. His real name is William Tanner: in which name he was transported to Tasmania in 1842. He escaped to London (as it is supposed) & arrived here by either the Navarino, or the General Hewitt, in or about the year 1847 – though he … to escape identification … says that it was in 1843. His principal convictions in NSW are the following. May 1850 QS 4 years. Having got a TL [ticket of leave ?] in 1851, he was again convicted the same year in the QS & sentenced to 5 years. His last known conviction was October 1861 QS 12 months. (all in Sydney). One sentence in Bathurst, for Vagrancy, 18 months in October ’61.
(He is identified by very remarkable tattoos on arms)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Bathurst Times, Wed 21 Oct 1868 15

Saturday 17th October 1868 Bathurst Circuit Court

    His Honor [Justice Stephen] took his seat at a few minutes past 10 o’clock.

UNNATURAL OFFENCE

    John White, who had pleaded Not Guilty to an indictment, charging him with sodomy, was now brought up for trial.
    The Crown Prosecutor opened the case and called evidence, which disclosed the most disgusting facts – utterly unfit for publication.
    The jury found the prisoner Guilty of an assault with intent to commit an unnatural offence.
    His Honour remanded the prisoner for sentence, pending inquiries into his character, as it was stated he was an old offender.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Empire, Fri 23 Oct 1868 16

BATHURST CIRCUIT COURT.—
FRIDAY.
————

(Before his Honor Sir Alfred Stephen, Chief Justice.)

SATURDAY.

    John White was convicted of having attempted to commit an unnatural offence, and remanded for sentence.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Bathurst Times, Sat 24 Oct 1868 17

Thursday 21st October 1868
SENTENCES

… 

UNNATURAL OFFENCE

    John White, who on Saturday last was found Guilty of an attempt to commit an unnatural crime, was brought up for judgment. The sentence had been deferred pending on enquiries into the prisoner’s previous carreer, [sic] and his Honour the Chief Justice said he was now prepared with his character for the last twenty years. The prisoner in his defence had indignantly repudiated that idea that he could be guilty of anything so abominable as the crime of which he was convicted. He professed loftiness of soul and love of the good and beautiful; but, from the first, he (the Chief Justice) felt convinced that he was a very bad man; it was singular that he generally formed an opinion of a man as soon as he saw him; but God forbid that he should allow any such opinion to influence him in any way on the trial of a prisoner. He had had a very long experience [since 1840] in the trial of remarkable criminals, and he found that generally the opinions he formed from prisoners demeanor were correct. As an instance of this he might mention the case of a man named Courtnay whom he tried at Bathurst two years ago for stealing 11 yards of cloth. This man told the most plausible story, cross-questioned the witnesses with considerable ability, professed his abhorrence of crime, and love of everything that was good an honourable. He declared—like the present prisoner—that that was the first time that he had ever been suspected of dishonesty, and so unblushingly averred that he was innocent that the jury were almost shaken in the face of a case incontestable clear against the prisoner. Notwithstanding his protestations of innocence he (the Chief Justice) felt convinced that he had seen the prisoner before, and that he was not the innocent man he professed to be.

    Inquiries were made and it turned out that he had tried the prisoner twenty two years before for felony; twice after that he was convicted for larceny in Sydney, and three times he had suffered various punishments in Victoria for larceny there. When Courtenay [sic] found out that his previous career had become known his assumed character of innocence gave way to one of threatening insolence, and as he was being removed from the dock he declared he would be revenged upon him (the Chief Justice) when he came out of gaol, which he would now do in a short time. The prisoner White had addressed the jury in a similar strain, and when reference was made to his having been sentenced to eighteen months’ hard labour in Bathurst as a vagrant, and sent back to Van Dieman’s [sic] Land for being a runaway convict, he told the jury he had been apprehended illegally, that he had been discharged immediately on his arrival in Hobert [sic] Town, and that he had returned to Bathurst with the intention of prosecuting Captain Battye for false imprisonment. Now, the fact was that the prisoner was a runaway convict from Tasmania, but his sentence of seven years’ transportation had expired when he was sent back, and according to the law of that colony, he was a free man then, and could not be punished for having run away before the sentence expired. His Honour said that he had now the prisoner’s police character before him, and it showed that, for the last twenty years, his life had been a series of crimes, such as thefts, larcenies, burglaries, and the like. He had passed a considerable period of that time at Cockatoo Island and in various gaols, as well as at Pentridge Stockade in Victoria. He had been convicted in no fewer than seven different names—namely, those of John White, Roland White, Thomas Rooke, Henry Roose, Coleman Simmons, William Holmes, and William Tanner; his real name was Tanner.

    His Honour said he was about to pass a very severe sentence on the prisoner, but if the prisoner could prove that he (the judge) had been misinformed in any one single point with reference to the prisoner’s character, he would at once see that at least one-half of the present sentence should be remitted. The sentence of the Court was, that the prisoner be kept to hard labour, on the roads or other public works of the colony, for five years.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 27 Oct 1868 18

    THE DISADVANTAGE OF BAD CHARACTER.—His Honor the Chief Justice, who is not to be deceived by the professions of innocence so vehemently indulged in by many criminals brought before him for trial, on Thursday last sentenced a man named John White, who had been convicted of an attempt to commit an unnatural offence. As White had protested his innocence and immaculate character, sentence was deferred by the learned Judge, pending inquiries into the previous career of the prisoner. On reference to the report of the proceedings at the Bathurst Circuit Court, on Thursday last, we find that, in passing sentence on White, his Honor said:—“He was now prepared with his (White’s) character for the last twenty years. The prisoner in his defence had indignantly repudiated the idea that he could be guilty of anything so abominable as the crime of which he was convicted. He professed loftiness of soul and love of the good and beautiful; but, from the first (the Chief Justice), felt convinced that he was a very bad man. It was singular that he generally formed an opinion of a man as soon as he saw him; but God forbid that he should allow any such opinion to influence him in any way on the trial of a prisoner. He had had a very long experience in the trial of remarkable criminals, and he found that generally the opinions he formed from a prisoner’s demeanor were correct. As an instance of this he might mention the case of a man named Courtenay, who he tried at Bathurst two years ago for stealing 11 yards of cloth. This man told the most plausible story, cross-questioned the witnesses with considerable ability, and professed his abhorrence of crime, and love of everything that was good and honourable. He declared—like the present prisoner—that that was the first time that he had ever been suspected of dishonestly, and so unblushingly averred that he was innocent that the jury were almost shaken in the face of the case incontestably clear against the prisoner. Notwithstanding his protestations of innocence he (the Chief Justice) felt convinced that he had seen the prisoner before, and that he was not the innocent man he professed to be. Inquiries were made, and it turned out that he had tried the prisoner twenty-two years before for felony; twice after that he was convicted for larceny in Sydney, and three times he had suffered various punishments in Victoria for larceny there. When Courtenay found out that his previous career had become known his assumed character of innocence gave way to one of threatening insolence, and as he was being removed from the dock he declared he would be revenged upon him (the Chief Justice) when he came out of gaol, which he would do now do in a short time. The prisoner White had addressed the jury in a similar strain, and when reference was made to his having been sentenced to eighteen months’ hard labour in Bathurst as a vagrant, and sent back to Van Diemen’s Land for being a runaway convict, he told the jury he had been apprehended illegally, that he had been discharged immediately on his arrival in Hobart Town, and that he had returned to Bathurst with the intention of prosecuting Captain Battye for false imprisonment. Now, the fact was that the prisoner was a runaway convict from Tasmania, but his sentence of seven years’ transportation had expired when he was sent back, and according to the law of that colony, he was a free man then, and could not be punished for having run away before the sentence expired. His Honor said that he had now the prisoner’s police character before him, and it showed that, for the last twenty years, his life had been a series of crimes, such as thefts, larcenies, burglaries, and the like. He had passed a considerable period of that time at Cockatoo Island and in various gaols, as well as at Pentridge Stockade in Victoria. He had been convicted in no fewer than in seven different names—namely, those of John White, Roland White, Thomas Rooke, Henry Roose, Coleman Simmons, William Holmes, and William Tanner; his real name was Tanner. His Honor said he was about the pass a very severe sentence on the prisoner, but if the prisoner could prove that he (the Judge) had been misinformed in any one single point with reference to the prisoner’s character, he would at once see that at least one-half of the present sentence should be remitted. The sentence of the Court was, that the prisoner be kept to hard labour, on the roads or other public works of the colony, for five years.

 


1   SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6511] , Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, Bathurst, 1868, No. 461. Emphasis added.

2   SRNSW: NRS7701, [2/7094] , Judiciary, A Stephen, CJ. Notebooks Circuit Courts, 1841-75, pp. 12-20, 60. Emphasis added.

3   Mn: Asked him his name

4   Mn: Wednesday the 20th night

5   Mn: It was the night of 20th – or morning of the 21st

6   Mn: I called out for help

7   Mn: I described you as a strong powerful man

8   Mn: “Did not think it possible.”

9   Mn: I consulted a surgeon being afraid that the prisoner was diseased

10  Mn: I complained to the Landlord next day that he had not come to my aid

11  Mn: You were not sober

12  Mn: heard by Mr Moon

13  Mn: the prisoner this day at first denying the ownership of the hat.

14 Mn: Assumed names: John White, Rowland White, Thomas Rooke, Henry Roots, Coleman Simmons, William Holmes.

15 The Bathurst Times, Wed 21 Oct 1868, p. 3.

16 Empire, Fri 23 Oct 1868, p. 4.

17 The Bathurst Times, Sat 24 Oct 1868, p. 2.

18 The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 27 Oct 1868, p. 5.