The Bathurst Times, Wed 30 Apr 1879 1
BATHURST CIRCUIT COURT.
SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 1879.
(Before his Honor Acting Judge Davis.)
His Honor took his seat at 10 o’clock.
Peter Irvin [aka Irving], a young looking man, was indicted for that he did, on the 24th March, 1878, at Limestone station, [near Toogong], attempt to commit an offence on a ewe sheep.
Plea: not guilty.
The prisoner was defended by Mr Want, instructed by Mr West.
The Crown-Prosecutor having stated the case, called the witnesses. These were – Daniel Birkenshaw, an ex-member of the police force, who had arrested prisoner at the court house Brewarrina, and to whom prisoner said he knew nothing of the affair; James McKinnon, farmer, of Little River, who saw prisoner at Limestone, between Cowra and Toogong, and swore that he witnessed the attempt made; Nicholas Cashin, farmer, of Bowen Creek, who saw prisoner, but he could not say when, though he was travelling with Mr Wall’s sheep, and he remembered seeing prisoner near the sheep; Norman McKinnon, farmer of Little River, who gave similar evidence; and Henry C Wall, JP, who said prisoner was in his employ as a drover to drive sheep from Davies’ Plains to the Bogan in March 1878. The three men who had said they had seen prisoner did not agree in the circumstance alleged to have occurred.
In reply to Mr Want, James McKinnon, the principal witness, said that he had never seen the prisoner on any but the occasion in question, and that he did not see him again till twelve months afterwards, when he failed to recognise him in Orange gaol, until he was pointed out by the gaoler. Mr Wall also stated that there were several men in the party with which prisoner travelled.
Mr Want in addressing the Court urged that it was a case of mistaken identity, and that horrified at the nature of the offence, the witnesses had fixed upon the prisoner as the guilty person, and being unable to remove the impression from their minds, had given their opinions that he was the man. The case was surrounded with considerable doubt, and if the jury believed that, they must acquit the prisoner.
His Honor summed up, and the jury retired at twenty minutes to 4. At this hour they returned, and found the prisoner not guilty.
The prisoner was discharged.
1 The Bathurst Times, Wed 30 Apr 1879, p. 2. Emphasis added.