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1873, John Knight - Unfit For Publication
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Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tue 4 Feb 1873 1

GRAFTON POLICE COURT.
TUESDAY.

Before Mr T Fisher, JP.

UNNATURAL OFFENCE.

    John Knight was brought before the Court, in custody, having been arrested at the Australian Meat Company’s Works, Ramornie, where he was employed, charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence upon one John Henry Turbett, [sic] Charles Cundy, and Robert John Cundy. The case was heard with closed doors, when the evidence of these lads was taken which disclosed sufficient to establish a prima facie case against the prisoner, who declined to ask the witnesses any question, or to make any statement. Knight was then committed on three separate charges of sodomy, at the Central Criminal Court, Sydney, to be held on the 17th of February, the witnesses being bound over to appear.

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Depositions for John Knight 17 Feb 1873 Sydney trial 2

(M., 11 & 12 Vic., Cap. 42.)
Depositions of Witnesses.

Grafton,
TO WIT      }
The examination of Charles Henry Hughes of Grafton in the Colony of New South Wales, Constable, John Henry Turbitt, Charles Cundy and Robert Cundy of Ramorine [correct name most likely is Ramornie] in the said Colony, Labourers, taken on oath this 28th day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy three, at Grafton, 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 Knight   who is charged this day before me, for that he the said John Knight, on the 22nd day of January at Ramorine,  in the said Colony, feloniously attempted to commit sodomy  with John Henry Turbitt,   Charles Cundy   and Robert Cundy 

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28th January 1873

Court House Grafton

BEFORE Thomas Fisher Esquire, JP
John Knight Attempt Sodomy, 3 charges

    Constable Charles Henry Hughes on oath states. I am stationed at Grafton. I arrested the prisoner at Ramorine on the 25th of January between 2 and 3 o’clock on a charge of attempting to commit an unnatural offence on John Henry Turbitt, Charles Cundy and Robert John Cundy, he said he was innocent of the charge, I then brought him to the lock up at Grafton and confined him [Signed] Charles H Hughes, Constable.

Sworn before me at Grafton this 28th of January 1873.
[Signed] Thomas Fisher, JP.

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    John Henry Turbitt on oath states, I am working at the Ramorine Meat (Preserving ?) Company’s works, I remember on Monday night 2 Mondays since last Monday but I don’t recollect the date. I went to bed with the prisoner Knight. We slept in the same bed, I had my trousers on I never took them off. Towards morning about two hours before daylight I was awake. I had been awake all night as he was very fidgety trying to take down my trousers and he got them down about 2 hours before daylight. He then tried to put his privates up my bottom. I then got up and I said “What the devil are you doing?” He pretended to be asleep and gave a groan. I left the tent, I came back again to the tent. I only came back to get my hat. He had made a previous attempt during the night but I was half asleep and half awake and I was not sure. I therefore remained awake. In the morning when I got up I found something like grease all over my trousers. I told all the men of the place but they would not believe it. The prisoner was not present when I told the men. I did not tell the police until the other day. I was afraid. And the men told me to say nothing about it because if he did it once he would do it to others. And to wait and see. When he tried to take this liberty with me he did not effect his purpose. On the first occasion

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when I awoke he had his leg over me and his privates near my bottom. He was trying to get them in and it was this that awoke me. Prisoner did not speak to me after this. I was present when he was charged.

    Questioned by Bench: I did do not recollect the names of the persons I told but one man’s name was Drumy and he is a painter working at Ramorine. I then went and told the next man who was near him. Prisoner was not there at the time.

    Prisoner asks no questions:

    I always go to bed with my trousers on when I am sleeping anywhere from home.

[Signed] John H Turbitt.

Sworn before me at Grafton this 28th January 1873.
[Signed] Thomas Fisher, JP.

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Second Charge

    Charles Cundy on Oath states: I am working at the meat company at Ramorine. Previous to this I lived down at the Macleay. I remember last Wednesday night the 22nd instant I slept at Ramorine under a bit of a “fly” with the prisoner. My brother was also with me, Robert John Cundy. We went to bed about 7 o’clock. I had my trousers and shirt on. I generally sleep in my trousers when I sleep out in the bush. After having been in bed some time he put his hand over me and began feeling my privates. I made a move away from him, he did not say anything to me. He came up to me closer again. He tried Put his arm over me and pulled me closer towards him and pulled my trousers down. He did not say anything to me whilst he was doing this. I did not say anything to him; he then tried to put his privates up my bottom. My brother was in this bed at the time. I did not say anything to him until the morning after he had to take liberties with on the last occasion. I rolled over onto my back and he turned away from me. I never mentioned anything about this except to my brothers. Until one morning the “super” called me on one side and asked me about this. The reason I slept with the man was

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because he asked me to come in and I had no other place to go to.

[Signed] Charles (his X mark) Cundy.

Sworn before me at Grafton this 28th of January 1873.
[Signed] Thomas Fisher, JP.

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Third Charge

    Robert Cundy on Oath states: I am the brother of Charles Cundy the last witness. I live at the meatworks at Ramorine. I am working there. I slept with the prisoner last Wednesday night at the meatworks under a “fly”. My brother was under this “fly” also. I went to bed with my trousers on. I don’t know of I had not been in bed very long when prisoner commenced pulling my trousers down. I moved away a bit. He did not say anything he had his leg over me and tried to put his privates up my bottom. He did no do so. I got up and walked outside. I said to him before I got outside “Can’t you leave me alone?” I came outside, I put my trousers on again, he did not take them off altogether. When he was trying to take my trousers off I was half asleep. I did not tell anything to anybody I was afraid.

    Questioned by Bench: I am quite sure that I did not mention this to anyone until I was called in to the office at Ramorine. I told Mr Page the Superintendent of the Works what this man had done to me. The prisoner and the Constable were present at the time. The prisoner did not say anything at this time. I am 15 years old.

    Prisoner asks no questions:

[Signed] Robert (his X mark) Cundy. Witness, Becker.

Sworn before me at Grafton this 28th of January 1872 [sic–1873].
[Signed] Thomas Fisher, JP.

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    The prisoner having been duly cautioned on each charge separately makes no statement.

    Prisoner stands committed to take his trial on each charge separately to the Central Criminal Court to be holden at Sydney on the 17th February next.

[Signed] Thomas Fisher, JP.

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[On the cover sheet of the above (1-7) is the following]

28th January 1873
No. 74
Depositions.
Regina v. John Knight
Attempting to commit Sodomy
73, 132, 142
Sydney Gaol Delivery 17 February [1873]
Grafton is in the Armidale Circuit District see 73, 142, 132
Attempt to commit sodomy
EB, 5/2/73
Guilty. Sentence. 2 years in Darlinghurst Gaol 17/1/73
Grafton

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    The evidence of the second and third witness is not admissible on the charge (preferred ?) of the first. But it seems information may be prepared for the attempt upon the second witness. It need not perhaps, be proceeded with but the Judge may be (informed ?) of it.

5/2/73

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Justice JF Hargrave’s Notebook 3

50

[Sydney, 17 February 1873]
Q v John Knight

on 13th January 1873    attempt to commit sodomy
at Ramorine }  on body of John Henry Terbutt

 

    (1) John Henry Terbutt work (at anything ?) – knows prisoner – remembers Monday 6th January at night. I was sleeping with prisoner – did not know him before. He was a stone mason on (?) Clarence River. I had my trowsers on in bed with prisoner – buttoned – prisoner went to bed first – I found him taking my trowsers down – went to bed about 9. Half asleep & half awake – prisoner was not asleep. He tried to take down my trowsers about 2 hours after in bed. I asked him. He groaned – & never touched me again till (2 ?) hours before daylight – I had not gone to sleep I laid awake – He tried to put his privates in my bottom. I did not feel him unbutton my trowsers ½ asleep & ½ awake – he was pulling my trowsers down. I felt his private parts against me – against my bottom. I got up & went away. I said nothing to him. He was awake but pretended to be asleep. I got up & went away when I found him so. He was trying to put his privates up my bottom – at 6 (o’clock ?) I told the

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men. I found a lot of grease all about my trowsers, not there when I went to bed – was present when he was arrested by Constable Hughes. Never slept with a man before that night. His leg was across mine over my two with his front towards my back.

    No questions to ask prisoner:

    (2) Constable CH Hughes stationed at Grafton 10 miles to Ramorine. Arrested prisoner on 25th January at Ramorine, told him the charge as given by 3 boys of unnatural (offence ?). He said he was innocent – J.H.T. – Robert ( ) & Charles ( ). Made no attempt to escape.

    Prisoner never slept with the boy at all.

    Never saw him before at Ramorine knew him since Friday before.

Verdict  not guilty

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Q v John Knight

on 22nd January/73    attempt to commit sodomy
at Ramorine }  on body of Charles Cundy

     

    (1) Constable CH Hughes at Grafton near Ramorine on 25th January – told him the charge – boys (2 ?) Cundy & T had charged him with attempt & he said he was innocent.

    (2) Charles Cundy labouring boy at Ramorine on 22nd January. Robert John C. Known prisoner 3 weeks before 22nd January – I was lying out on grass at Ramorine. Prisoner said come & sleep under fly with me – we went there. We did not take off trowsers – when we got to bed a little while, he had caught hold of me across my chest. He had put his hand over me & began to feel my person. I turned away & he followed me up again. He got my trowsers down & tried to put his privates up my bottom. I resisted & prevented him. I felt his private parts, am sure it was prisoner at bar – no one else. I gave information. I complained to my brother & he to me.

    Cross-examined. On 22nd January it happened. I let it be known on the following Saturday – we came home & came back again – we never made nothing up – 

    It happened about 9 or 10 o’clock. I rolled away. Am sure he was trying to put his privates into my bottom – not between my legs.

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    (3) Robert Cundy brother of last witness at work there. Seen him a few times before – we slept at Ramorine close to meatworks close to S. (Owen’s ? Cohen’s ?) hut – me & prisoner & my brother under a fly – 

    He pulled down my trowsers & tried to put his privates up my bottom at same time & place – on 22nd January – I told people next morning.  No quarrels with this man, nor my brother. He never struck me – nor said anything to me.

Verdict of guilty 

Sentence 2 years imprisonment with hard labour in Darlinghurst Gaol.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 17 Feb 1873 4

    criminal sessions.— The following prisoners are for trial at the Criminal Sessions, Darlinghurst, this day:– James Clancy, murder; James Henderson, fraudulently receiving portion of an insolvent’s estate; William Bennis, burglary; William Coxe and Thomas Hobbs, rape; John Lucas, bestiality; William M’Crow, murder; James Moon and Anne Pontifex, assault and robbery; Richard Miffin, rape; John Webb Hill, wounding with intent; John Thompson, alias Thunderbolt, shooting with intent to murder; Thomas Baxter, William Smith, and John Thompson, burglary; George Morris and Robert Young, burglary; John Mullins, indecent assault Michael Ryan, assault with intent; Peter Laplane, manslaughter; John Thompson, shooting with intent to murder; William Terry and Henry Allen, assault and robbery; William Gay, assault on the high seas; William B Hennessy, embezzlement; Timothy Hanneg, obtaining money by false pretences; William Strachan, forgery and uttering (two charges); John Priestly, assault and robbery, John O’Neil, attempt to rob; Nicholas Punch, assault with intent; Thomas Dowling and George Smith, stealing from the person and receiving; John Knight, attempting to commit sodomy; Bridget Peisley, perjury; Ernest Henry Dowling, burglary; Michael Finn, alias Patrick Finn, burglary; Edward Witherington, Robert McDougal, Frank, John, and Thomas Newton, assault upon the high seas; John William, obtaining a transfer by false pretences; John Daly, assault on the high seas; Thomas Scource, murder.

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Empire, Tue 18 Feb 1873 5

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
MONDAY.

    The Criminal Court opened at Darlinghurst yesterday morning, before his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave.
    The Solicitor-General prosecuted on behalf of the Crown.

ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE.

    John Knight was charged with having on the 13th January, 1873, at Ramornie [sic], committed an unnatural offence upon one John Henry Turbot. [sic]

    Prisoner pleaded not guilty, and was undefended.

    John Henry Turbot and Const Hills were examined on behalf of the Crown, Turbot stating that the offence was committed while he was in bed with the prisoner.

    The prisoner called no witnesses, and merely stated that he did not know the prosecutor at all, and had never slept with him.

    The Solicitor-General did not address the jury, and his Honor summed up, remarking that the evidence against the prisoner was very slight, there being only the evidence of one witness against him, without any collateral evidence whatever.

    The jury after a short deliberation, returned a verdict of not guilty.

    The same prisoner was then further charged with having attempted to commit an unnatural offence upon one Charles Candy, on the 22nd day of January, at Ramornie.

    The case was a very simple one, and the jury, after a very short consultation, and without leaving the box, found a verdict of guilty.

    His Honor sentenced the prisoner to two years imprisonment in Darlinghurst gaol.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 18 Feb 1873 6

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
MONDAY.

BEFORE his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave and a jury of twelve.
    The Solicitor-General prosecuted on behalf of the Crown.

ARRAIGNMENTS.


    John Knight, charged with intent to commit an unnatural offence, was found guilty, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 20 Feb 1873 7

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
(From the SM Herald.)
MONDAY.
(Before his Honor Mr Justice Hargrave and a jury of twelve.)


    John Knight, charged with intent to commit an unnatural offence, was found guilty, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

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Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tue 25 Feb 1873 8

LATEST INTELLIGENCE.
———•———


    John Knight, charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence at Ramornie, was tried at the Central Criminal Court and sentenced to two year’s imprisonment in Darlinghurst Gaol.

 


1  Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tue 4 Feb 1873, p. 2.

2  SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6558] , Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, Sydney, Feb 1873.

3  SRNSW: NRS6032, [2/4394] , Judiciary, JF Hargrave, J. Notebooks Criminal Causes (Darlinghurst), 1865-78, pp. 50-3. Emphasis added.

4  The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 17 Feb 1873, p. 4. Emphasis added.

5  Empire, Tue 18 Feb 1873, p. 3. Emphasis added.

6  The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 18 Feb 1873, p. 2.

7  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 20 Feb 1873, p. 2.

8  Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tue 25 Feb 1873, p. 3.