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1869, Jeremiah Griffiths - Unfit For Publication
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Empire, Mon 18 Oct 1869 1

WATER POLICE COURT.—SATURDAY.
(Before Mr Cloete, WPM, and Messrs Breillat and Chapman.)


    Jeremiah Griffiths was charged with having committed an unnatural offence. Prisoner was the cook of the brig Lady Alicia, and the informant is a South Sea Islander employed on board the vessel. The details of the case were disgusting in the extreme. The charge, however, appeared to be substantiated by the evidence, and the prisoner was committed for trial at the next Criminal Sessions.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 18 Oct 1869 2

WATER POLICE COURT.
SATURDAY.

Before the Water Police Magistrate, with Messrs Breillat and E Chapman.

    Jeremiah Griffiths, cook and steward of the brig Lady Alicia, was brought up on remand, charged with committing an unnatural offence upon a South Sea Island boy, named Johnny, and was committed to take his trial at the next sitting of the Criminal Court.

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Evening News, Sat 13 Nov 1869 3

PROROGATION OF PARLIAMENT.
————


    CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.—The following are the cases set down for trial at the sittings of this court which commences on Monday, the 15th instant—His Honor Mr Justice Cheeke presiding:—1. John Mason, murder. 2. John Clark, murder. 3. Robert Harvey, manslaughter on the high seas. 4. Henry Redgrath, [sic–Redpath], attempt to commit unnatural offence. 5. Thomas Patterson, using an instrument to procure a miscarriage. 6. John Thompson, larceny. 7. Denis Mackinlay, Patrick Mackinlay, George O’Brien, James Rogers, James Bourke, and Alexander Shaw, conspiracy. 8. Denis Mackinlay, fraudulent insolvency. 9. Alexander Shaw, setting fire to a ship. 10. James Andrews, perjury. 11. Joseph Salisbury, libel. 12. D’Arcy Murray, libel. 13. Arthur Gore, Burglary. 14. Jeremiah Griffiths, unnatural offence. 15. Martin Kelly, burglary. 16. John Henry Schryver, forgery. 17. Emile Buzine, bigamy. 18. Nicholas Stapleton, Fraudulent insolvency.

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Depositions for Jeremiah Griffiths 17 Nov 1869 Sydney trial 4

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Depositions of Witnesses.

New South Wales, City of Sydney,
TO WIT:                                       }

The examination of Thomas Scollen of Sydney in the Colony of New South Wales, Police Sergeant; Henry Atkins of Sydney, aforesaid, Mariner; William Webb, of Sydney aforesaid, Mariner; and Johnny of Sydney, in the said Colony, Mariner; taken on Saturday, the sixteenth day of October in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty nine, at the Water Police Court, Sydney, in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned, two of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony, in the presence and hearing of Jeremiah Griffiths who is charged this day before us, for that he, the said Jeremiah Griffiths, on the fourteenth day of October 1869, at Sydney, in the said Colony, in and upon one Johnny aforesaid, in the peace of God, and of Our Lady the Queen then being, feloniously did make an assault, and then feloniously, wickedly, and against the order of nature, had a venereal affair with the said Johnny, and did then feloniously, wickedly, and against the order of nature, with the said Johnny did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable crime of buggery. 

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Jeremiah Griffiths, charged with feloniously, wickedly, and against the order of nature, with Johnny, did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable crime of buggery, at Sydney; 14th October 1869.

    Thomas Scollen, on oath states, I am a Sergeant in the City Police, about half past 1 o’clock this morning Friday, the 15th day of October 1869 from information received I arrested prisoner on board the brig Lady Alicia [aka Elicia] at Towns Wharf in this port charged with committing the crime of buggery upon a South Sea Islander named Johnny. The shirt produced was worn by prisoner when I arrested him and had stains upon it. In reply to the charge he said “all right”. He appeared to be under the influence of drink, but was perfectly sensible when I arrested him. He is the cook on the vessel I believe.
[Signed] Thomas Scollen.

Sworn at the Water Police Court Sydney this 15th October 1869 before.
[Signed] Peter Lawrence Cloete, Sydney Water Police Magistrate and Edward Chapman, JP, and HC Burnett, JP. 

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    Henry Atkins, on oath states, I am Second Mate of the brig Lady Alicia, prisoner is the cook, and Johnny the complainant in this case is one of the crew. I was awoke between 10 and 11 o’clock last night by prisoner who I believe had just come aboard, calling for Johnny, I could see him with a lamp lighter in his hand looking amongst the bunks in the forecastle, and when he found Johnny’s bunk, in which Johnny was lying, he blew the light out. I then heard a kind of whispering conversation by both Johnny and prisoner and lighted the forecastle lamp. I found both the prisoner and Johnny in the one berth Johnny was lying nearest to the side of the vessel with his face towards the side, and the prisoner was lying behind him with his face to Johnny’s back; both their backs being

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towards me and I told one of the Crew William Webb who was in his berth in the forecastle Webb pulled prisoner out after I had consulted him as to what we ought to do, as I had heard complaints or rumours of his having been guilty of this crime before and he had no business in the forecastle, his sleeping berth is in the cabin. He was dressed with all his clothes on, but on Webb pulling him out I noticed that his trousers were open and his person was then exposed both to me and Webb. Webb told him to go out of the forecastle into the cabin, as he had no business in the forecastle, he went on deck saying in a threatening tone that he would take out of Webb in the morning no matter how big he was. Then Johnny got up and complained that prisoner had been ill using him in the same manner for some time. But Johnny had not told me about it before but I had heard as I have previously stated that prisoner had been in a habit of committing this abominable crime.

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Both on Johnny, and also on Jimmy another South Sea Islander and also one of the crew. I sent Webb for a Constable as the Master of the vessel was not on board. When Webb pulled prisoner out he asked prisoner what he was doing there he said he came there to sleep because thought the Master was on board. Johnny stated that prisoner had pulled his trousers down, Johnny had his trousers on in the berth but I did not notice if they were down when prisoner was pulled out. [Signed] Henry Atkins.

Sworn at the Water Police Court Sydney this 15th October 1869 before.
[Signed] PL Cloete, WPM and Edward Chapman, JP, and HC Burnett, JP.

6

    William Webb, on oath states, I am a seaman on the Lady Alicia, I went on board last night with the Second Mate and we both went to our berth into the forecastle, I was asleep and was awoke by last witness who took me on deck, and told me that prisoner was in one of the berths with one of the Kanaka boys. I went to the berth and found prisoner lying on his right side behind Johnny whose face was to the ship’s side, I pulled prisoner out and found that his trousers were open from the waist band down, and his person exposed, he buttoned up his trousers and I told him he had no business there, he asked me what business it was to me and on going out of the forecastle he said he would hammer me or take it out of me for disturbing him.

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Afterwards I returned to the berth where Johnny was but he had covered himself with the blanket again, and when he got up he had his trousers and shirt on, his trousers were buttoned then and I asked him what the person had been doing and he said “He was no good, he came there too many times.” I asked him what prisoner had been doing and he replied telling me what had taken place but prisoner was not present and he repeated the same to the police when they came but prisoner was not present then but he was subsequently arrested.
[Signed] William Webb.

Sworn at the Water Police Court Sydney this 15th October 1869 before.[Signed] PL Cloete, WPM, Edward Chapman, JP, HC Burnett, JP.

    Prisoner stands remanded till tomorrow, 16th inst.
[Signed] PL Cloete, Edward Chapman, HC Burnett.

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    Saturday, 16th October 1869. Jeremiah Griffiths brought up on remand.

    Johnny, on oath states, I am a native of Rotumah, I left there 6 months ago. I belong to the Tyra before I joined the Lady Alicia, and so did the prisoner also belong to the Tyra. I believe that a good person will go to heaven, and a bad person to Hell. I was taught that by the Reverend J Fletcher, a Wesleyan minister at Rotumah he told me about Jesus Christ and God Almighty and that the Bible mentions them. And Mr Fletcher used to read from Matthew, Luke and John. I know that if I am bad I shall go to hell which is a bad place, and if good to heaven which is a good place. I have been 2 months on board the vessel Lady Alicia the prisoner on Tuesday night, the night before last, I heard prisoner on deck call out “Johnny

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Johnny”, but I did not go to him, but stopped in my bunk, he came down and had some matches and made fire and lighted the lamp, and saw me in my berth, and then he got into the berth, and pulled my trousers down, and then he fucked me up my arse.

    He did the same to me many times before that both on the Tyra and the Lady Alicia. I felt him inside me, and he hurt me and I screamed and I told him I didn’t like it it was his cock that he put inside me. When I told him I did not like it and that missionary did not, he, the prisoner replied, missionary no good, bugger the missionary. I did tell some white man on board what prisoner did to me.

    By Prisoner: You had no grog but you plenty fuck me on that night.

    By the Bench: Prisoner told me, “if you do not let me fuck you I’ll not give you anything to eat.”
[Signed] Johnny (his X mark).

Sworn at the Water Police Court Sydney this 16th October 1869 before.
[Signed] Edward Chapman, JP, and HC Burnett, JP.

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Statement of the Accused.

New South Wales, City of Sydney,
TO WIT:                                       }

    Jeremiah Griffiths stands charged before the undersigned, two of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the Colony aforesaid, this 16th day of October in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and sixty nine, for that he, the said Jeremiah Griffiths on the 14th day of October instant at Sydney, in the said Colony, in and upon one Johnny feloniously did make an assault and against the order of nature and then feloniously wickedly with the said Johnny commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable crime of buggery and the examination of all the witnesses on the part of the prosecution having been completed, and the depositions taken against the accused having been cause to be read to him by us, the said Justices (by/or) whom such examination has been so completed; and we the said Justices have also stated to the accused and given 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 Jeremiah Griffiths and the witnesses for the prosecution Thomas Scollen, Henry Atkins, William Webb and Johnny being severally examined in his presence, the said Jeremiah Griffith is 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 Jeremiah Griffiths saith as follows:– “I have nothing to say.” Taken before us at Sydney, in the said Colony, the day and year first mentioned above.
[Signed] Edward Chapman, JP., HC Burnett, JP.

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    The prisoner Jeremiah Griffiths stands committed for trial at the next court of gaol delivery to be holden at Sydney on Monday 15th day of November next.
[Signed] Edward Chapman, JP., HC Burnett, JP.

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Justice JF Hargrave’s Notebook 5

1

[Sydney] Wednesday November 17th 1869
    Q v Jeremiah Griffith – Sodomy on 14th October 1869 at Sydney assault (to ?) carnally know Johnny against law of nature &c.
Butler for Crown
Dalley for prisoner    }

    1.  Constable [Thomas] Scollen arrested prisoner on 15th October at 1½ in morning onboard brig Lady Venetia [sicLady Alicia] at Town’s Wharf. Did him charge he said “all right”, had appearance of drink, but perfectly knew what he was doing. Shirt soiled – dirty – produced to Court.

    Cross-examined. Appeared to have been drinking.

    2.  Henry Atkins. 2nd Mate of brig [Lady] Alicia – prisoner cook – Johnny a native on (board ?) numbered (with ?) the crew – on 14th October night – between 10 & 11 at night. Cook came on board calling out “Johnny” – went round bunks & into bunk with Johnny. I was in (forecastle ?). He went into (Johnny’s ?) bunk & put light out.

2

A few minutes (after ?) I got a light & saw how he was lying – he was lying with his face towards port side of ship at Johnny’s back – quite close to him. Webb whom I had called came in few minutes, observed his trousers unbuttoned & person exposed to both of us – Webb told him to go out to his own place, what he was there for – He said he thought Capt. He said he came to sleep there. I did not say anything to him about at ¼ to 11 Webb sent for a constable. Prisoner usually slept in the cabin whether Master of vessel was there or not. No reason why he should not have gone there then.

    Cross-examined. Dalley. Each on his side. Johnny on inside. Might have been (a ? as ?) wide (?) – did not observe whether Johnny’s trousers were down – he had his trousers on at side of bunk. Can’t say whether buttoned or not or fastened. Nothing peculiar about him. Johnny made no noise except whispering. I was sleeping across the forecastle about (6 yds.) off – he was intoxicated not drunk altogether he walked (?). When Johnny got out he pulled the clothes off blanket

3

    3.  W [William] Webb. Seaman on Lady Alicia. About 10 o’clock called by last witness. I was asleep. I went on deck with him first – he told me something & we went together – I saw prisoner in bunk with boy with his back to prisoner, prisoner’s left arm & left leg over boy – could scarcely see boy. Went on deck again. We came down & all his trousers unbuttoned & person exposed – he said he (should ?) go aft when he liked – he fastened his trousers & went aft – when I hauled him out Johnny hauled the covers over him. It was the top bunk & two chests between me & prisoner & Johnny – I called him out of bunk & he had his trousers on him. Can’t say whether he had the trousers on before.

    Cross-examined. Dalley. Ten minutes elapsed before I called him. Prisoner a little worse for liquor but knew what he was doing. Johnny had his trousers on when he came out, fastened on all right.

    4.  Johnny. On board Lady Alicia – prisoner a sailor there, knows Mr Fletcher, missionary at Rotumah. Remembers (Charlie ?) getting into my bunk one night in forecastle – he came in. Sang out. I did not go – Charlie came down below (?) (?)

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he saw me & blew out on table candle, got & took off trousers &c. he said me (?) me speak – no – he fuck me arse. He said me speak to missionary. He said (----) the missionary. (----) interpreter sworn: After the prisoner got into bed, he took off my trousers & did me over – he did it – he fucked me. He put his person into my backside.

    Cross-examined. Dalley. Did it before two months 20 times, always resisted – there were sailors in forecastle – Webb & mate were sleeping in forecastle – on one side I (?) did not sing out, had a bad cough could not speak out – had it 2 months, got it now – can speak now – been telling all the truth – could speak but no one could hear me – he would have sung out if he could – If he had been well he would have had a row about it – he had trousers on that night, not these like these – a piece of string on – when prisoner came into bed that night

5

prisoner took the trousers off – down – he pulled the trousers up before he got out, all true –

    Cross-examined. (Webb ?). Johnny had a bad cold that night – couldn’t speak,

    Cross-examined. (Mate ?). never heard him cry out. 

    (Prisoner ?) No white man when first done great many times – plenty –

    Dalley Manner & demeanour. 

1.  Not to be (relied ?) on for capital charge
2.  As to intent – so drunk as not to know what he did. –
1.  Law clear – no (consent ?) nor acquiescence nor (?)
2.  Witnesses not impeached as (?)
1=Constable – arrested
2=Atkins Mate
3=Webb
4=Johnny
Jury retired at 23 minutes to 12.
returned – 10 – 12 (10 past 12 ?)
Guilty of the attempt to commit
Sentence imprisonment & hard labour 2 years in Darlinghurst Gaol.

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Evening News, Wed 17 Nov 1869 6

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.—THIS DAY.
———•———
FIRST COURT.
(Before his Honor Mr Justice Cheeke.)

ADMISSION TO THE BAR.

    On the motion of Sir James Martin, David Buchanan, Esq, of Middle Temple, was admitted to the bar of New South Wales

————
SECOND COURT.
(Before his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave, and a jury
of twelve.)

UNNATURAL OFFENCE.

    Jeremiah Griffiths was charged with the commission of an unnatural offence upon the person of one Johnny, a native of Rotumah; the offence of which prisoner was charged having been committed on board the brig Alicia in Sydney harbour.
    Mr Butler prosecuted for the Crown.
    Mr Dalley, instructed by Mr Leary, defended the prisoner.
    The particulars of this case, as revealed in examination of witnesses, are unfit for publication.
    The jury found the prisoner guilty of an attempt to commit the offence charged against him.
    His Honor sentenced the prisoner to two years’ hard labour in Darlinghurst gaol.

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Empire, Thu 18 Nov 1869 7

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT
WEDNESDAY. [16 NOVEMBER 1869]
————
FIRST COURT.
(Before his Honor Mr Justice Cheeke.)

ADMISSION TO THE BAR.

    On the motion of Sir James Martin, David Buchanan, Esq of the Middle Temple, was admitted to the bar of New South Wales.

SECOND COURT.
(Before his Honor Justice Hargrave, and a jury of twelve.)

UNNATURAL OFFENCE.

    Jeremiah Griffiths was charged with the commission of an unnatural offence upon the person of one Johnny, a native of Rotumah; the offence of which prisoner was charged having been committed on board the brig Alicia, in Sydney harbour.
    Mr Butler prosecuted for the Crown.
    Mr Dalley, instructed by Mr Leary, defended the prisoner.
    The particulars of this case, as revealed in examination of witnesses, are unfit for publication.
    The jury found the prisoner guilty of an attempt to commit the offence charged against him.
    His Honor sentenced the prisoner to two years’ hard labour in Darlinghurst gaol.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 18 Nov 1869 8

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT
WEDNESDAY.

SECOND COURT

    Before His Honor Mr Justice Hargrave.
    Mr Butler prosecuted for the Crown.
    Jeremiah Griffiths was charged with having, on board the ship Lady Elicia [sicAlicia], committed an offence against nature. The principal witness for the prosecution was a native of the island of Rotumah; and his evidence had to be taken trough an interpreter. The jury after returning for a short time, returned a verdict of an attempt to commit the offence. Prisoner was sentenced to two years’ hard labour in Darlinghurst gaol.

    Mr Dalley, instructed by Mr Leary, defended prisoner.

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The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, Sat 20 Nov 1869 9

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT
WEDNESDAY [16 NOVEMBER 1869]

SECOND COURT

    Before his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave.

UNNATURAL OFFENCE.

    Mr Butler prosecuted for the Crown.
    Jeremiah Griffiths was charged with having, on board the ship Lady Elicia [sic–Alicia], committed an offence against nature. The principal witness for the prosecution was a native of the island of Rotumah; and his evidence had to be taken through an interpreter. The jury, after returning for a short time, returned a verdict of guilty attempt to commit the offence. Prisoner was sentenced to two years’ hard labour in Darlinghurst gaol.
    Mr Dalley, instructed by Mr Leary, defended prisoner.

 


1  Empire, Mon 18 Oct 1869, p. 3.

2  The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 18 Oct 1869, p. 2.

3  Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Sat 13 Nov 1869, p. 2. Emphasis added.

4  SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6519], Supreme Court, Criminal Jurisdiction, Sydney, 1869, No. 835. Emphasis added.

5  SRNSW: NRS6032, [2/4389], Judiciary, JF Hargrave, J. Notebooks Criminal Causes (Darlinghurst), 1865-78, pp. 1-5. Emphasis added.

6  Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Wed 17 Nov 1869, p. 3.

7  Empire, Thu 18 Nov 1869, p. 3.

8  The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 18 Nov 1869, p. 2.

9  The Sydney Mail and NSW Advertiser, Sat 20 Nov 1869, p. 2.