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1872, James Piper - Unfit For Publication
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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 26 Oct 1872 1

(From the “Herald’s” Associated Press Telegrams,
and from other Sydney papers.)



    Evening News.—The Circuit Court opened this morning, his Honor Sir Alfred Stephen presiding. The barristers present were Messrs Innes, Dalley, Buchanan, Belinfante, Davis, and Pilcher. The following is the calendar. It is the heaviest here known, seven of the accused having to answer charges of murder:—
    Charles Edward Stewart, murder;
    William Bristow, accessory to murder;
    James Piper, unnatural offence;
    Edward Macarthy, indecent assault;
    Peter McGee, murder;
    Richard Spencer, murder;
    Elizabeth Jane Watson, murder;
    James Thompson, stealing from the person;
    John Moletti, cutting and wounding;
    James Shelley, false pretences;
    George Graham, murder;
    John Hughes, stealing saddle, &c;
    Ho Sue, murder;
    Sarah Thomaslaw, neglectfully causing death.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Evening News, Tue 29 Oct 1872 2




    At the Circuit Court, on Friday Richard Spencer was tried for murder at Ophir, and found guilty. Sentence  was recorded, but not passed. The trial lasted all day, and created great interest.

    At the Circuit Court to-day, Thomas Monaghan and Timothy Monaghan were tried for cattle stealing, and acquitted. Eliza Jane Watson, tried for child murder, was found guilty of concealment of birth and sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment. James Piper, placed in the dock, was found imbecile, and ordered to be kept in custody during her Majesty’s please.—Herald.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 29 Oct 1872 3

Australian Associated Press Telegrams.



    At the Circuit Court, on Friday,

    James Piper, placed in the dock, was found to be an imbecile, and ordered to be kept in custody during her Majesty’s pleasure.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Western Independent, Tue 29 Oct 1872 4

FRIDAY, OCT 25th, 1872.

    His Honor [Sir Alfred Stephen, CJ] took his seat at 9.30 am.

MONDAY, OCT 28th 1872.

    His Honor took his seat at ten o’clock.


    James Piper, an idiot, was arraigned and pleaded to a charge of beastiality [sic–with a mare ]; his plea was afterwards withdrawn, and the jury tried whether he had sufficient intelligence to comprehend the charge. A verdict of insanity or imbecility was returned, and prisoner will be sent to a lunatic asylum for treatment, and be detained there, or in gaol, during the Governor’s pleasure. It transpired in evidence that neither prisoner, his father, mother, sisters, or brothers know how to read or write, or had ever been to church.

    The Court adjourned till 9.30 this morning.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Parramatta admission register, 1871-79 5   6

QP [Queens Pleasure]
James Piper

FOLIO. 81 
ADMITTED. April 26, 1873

No. In order of admission 1245
Name of the Patient’s escort Hans Thompson Warder Bathurst Gaol
Authority for admission Colonial Secretary’s Warrant 22-4-1873
By whom is the Medical Certificate signed Drs Morgan and Machattie.
What is  
Age 22
Religion Church of England
Native place ------
Late residence Carcoar
Previous occupation Laborer
Condition A QP [Queens Pleasure] Colonial Lunatic
Is single, married, or widowed ------
The number of children. ------
Age of the youngest child ------
What is the form of the mental disorder ------
What is the supposed cause “Congenital causes – neglect.”
How long has it existed “His mental faculties are exceedingly weak he appears destitute of reasoning powers – his manner of replying to questions is that of a perfect idiot – for instance he has no idea of the Value of a sixpence or how many sixpences make a shilling, he says his brother is 25 years old but has lived 30 years he has no idea of a future State – has not the slightest idea of his responsibility, they could not make him understand anything, he is very childish, but dangerous and not to be trusted, has been kept at the prison school for four months, without any result cannot recollect letters.”
Has its approach been sudden or slow ------
Has any personal restraint been employed ------
Has the patient been insane before ------
State the number of attacks, and the distance of time between each ------
Have there been any lucid intervals; if so, how long in duration ------
Is the disease hereditary, constitutional, or casual ------
State what peculiarity you have observed in habit lately ------
Has shewn any disposition to refuse food ------
Is disposed to injure self or others ------
In what way or by what means ------
Have any medical means been employed ------
Has ever been in any Asylum for lunatics; if so, where ------
Is the patient’s bodily health good; if not Good
Describe the particulars of the disease ------ 
Has ever had palsy or convulsions of any kind, gout,
            rheumatism, disease of the heart, or syphilis
Crime or offence Unnatural Offence
When and where tried 28th Oct 1872 Bathurst Circuit Court
Verdict of the jury Not in a fit state to take his trial
Sentence Remanded till Queens Pleasure
What property has with Two pairs of Trowsers (But not there) 
Give the address of the patient’s friends ------


[There is a marginal note, above, as follows] Totally unfit to be at large and would be dangerous

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Parramatta admission registers (Criminal Division), 1872 7



No. on
Date of
Name at
Age Social
Nativity Profession
of Religion
20 26 Apr 1873 James Piper 1 22 Single NSW P



of Mental

Bodily Disorder,
Suicidal, &c
Congenital mental
2 February 1905 Yes 3 years, 9 months
7 days
QP Unnatural
offence, Transferred
to Free division



1  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 26 Oct 1872, p. 2. Emphasis added.

2  Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Tue 29 Oct 1872, p. 2.

3  The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 29 Oct 1872, p. 5.

4  The Western Independent, Tue 29 Oct 1872, p. 2.

5  SRNSW: NRS5092, [6/5323], Parramatta admission register, 1871-79, p. 81.

6  Mn: “Totally unfit to be at large and would be dangerous”

7  SRNSW: NRS5097, [3/7057], Parramatta admission registers, 1872, n.p. Note:– Only the columns containing text in the register have been transcribed here.