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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 22 Dec 1877 1


    CHARGE OF BESTIALITY.—Francis B Randall was committed to take his trial at the next sittings of the Circuit Court, at Maitland, by our bench on Monday last, on the charge of having committed a crime of bestiality at Gresford on the 6th December instant. The hearing of the case occupied the bench the whole day. Mr RW Thompson appeared for defendant. Defendant was admitted to bail, himself in a bond of £200, and two sureties of £100 each.

    Patterson, 18th Dec, 1877.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 18 Apr 1878 2


    The Circuit Court commenced its sittings at East Maitland on Tuesday morning, before his Honor Acting-Judge Mr H Stephen. Mr HF Barton was the judge’s associate; Mr FE Rogers Crown Prosecutor; Mr JJ Lee Crown Solicitor. Mr Addison, PM, acted as Sheriff. The members of the bar present were Mr R Wisdom and Mr WC Windeyer.

    The Associate read the Letters’ Patent appointing his Honor to be the judge at the present court. His Honor then took the oath as prescribed.

    The Associate read her Majesty’s proclamation against vice, immorality and crime.

    Mr Rogers handed in his commission as Crown Prosecutor, and Mr Addison his appointment to act as Sheriff.

    The list of jurors was then called. Medical certificates were handed in in the case of DF McKay, John Mayo, and R Blair, and a certificate from Mr Darley, in the case of Thomas Brooks, who was engaged at the torpedo works at Newcastle. These jurors were excused on those grounds.


    Francis Leopold Britten Randall   [aka Francis Brition Randall], on bail appeared to answer the charge that he did, near Gresford,  on the 6th December, 1877, commit an unnatural offence, [bestiality with a mare, ]. Prisoner pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr WC Windeyer, instructed by Mr PW Thompson.

    The Crown called Sergeant Thompson, Ann Herbert, Richard Herbert, and Constable Forrest.

    According to the evidence of Ann Herbert and her son, they were going to Gresford on the day named when the accused came riding along the road on a mare; he turned off the road to a log, and committed the offence. It was an open place, and the prisoner was about 30 to 40 yards from them. The constable measured the distance, and found it 60 yards. Both the police said the witness Ann Herbert did not bear a good character.

    Sergeant Thompson also stated that on the evening of the inquiry at the Paterson, Ann Herbert was under the influence of liquor at a public house in the Paterson, and said she would swear a child on one of the men there; she was also dancing, and Sergeant Thompson threatened to lock her up if she did not go off to bed. In cross examination, Ann Herbert admitted that there was a dispute between the Randall’s and her son; she denied that she had ever threatened to “lag” one of them; she also denied that she had threatened to bring a similar charge against another man on a previous occasion. The place where the offence was alleged to have been committed was open bush land, and the prisoner could have seen the Herberts had he looked round. Both swore that the offence was committed, though the elder prisoner admitted that she was near sighted; the elder witness said that her son cracked his whip twice before the defendant took any notice of them; but the son said that when he cracked the whip the first time, the prisoner got down off the log, and on the second he cracked it he rode away.

    On the case for the prosecution being closed, the jury intimated that they considered that there was no case against the prisoner. They then brought in a verdict of not guilty, and the defendant was discharged. His Honor said he quite agreed with the decision of the jury.


1  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 22 Dec 1877, p. 7.

2  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 18 Apr 1878, p. 6. Emphasis added.