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1885, Henry Wooten - Unfit For Publication


Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Tue 10 Feb 1885 1


Mr Mair PM, and Mr David Ludlow, JP, dealt with yesterday’s Police Court business.

    Henry Wooton [sic], a dirty-looking young fellow, residing at Adamstown Commonage, was committed for trial on a charge of having, on the 30th January, committed an atrocious offence. The case was heard with closed doors, and the evidence proved of a shocking character.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 17 Mar 1885 2


    Yesterday morning the March sittings of the Maitland Quarter Sessions began at East Maitland before his Honor Mr District Court Judge Wilkinson. Dr EE Wright, JP, acted for the sheriff, and the Crown Prosecutor was Mr WW Tarleton. The other members of the bar in attendance were: Messrs W Edmunds and R Colonna-Close.


    Thomas Pearce, of Newcastle, was fined 40s for non-attendance as a juror.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 19 Mar 1885 3

TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 1885.
(Before his Honor Mr District Court Judge Wilkinson.)

    The Court re-opened shortly before 10 o’clock. Mr WW Tarleton prosecuted for the Crown.


    Henry Wooten, aged 20 years, was charged with having on the 30th January last, at Newcastle,  committed this abominable crime. 

    The accused pleaded not guilty and was defended by Mr RW Thompson.

    The circumstances as presented to the jury shewed a case of shocking depravity. The case for the Crown mainly rested on the evidence of two little boys, Robert and David Waugh, who were subjected to a lengthened and sever cross-examination at the hands of the attorney for the defence. The offence was alleged to have occurred on the evening of the day named before dark. The accused, the lads alleged, had a goat secured, stabbed in three places, causing blood to flow from the wounds, and then defiled the animal. The boys, who were contradictory on some points, adhered to he story told by them. In cross-examination the elder had admitted that his mother had told him to say that the date of the alleged offence was the 31st January, and further that he had been chastised on more than one occasions for telling untruths. The boys were out shooting with catapults or shanghais, and their statements went to show that the offence took place on a pay Friday between 4 and 5 o’clock – one of the lads said that darkness was setting in. The goat was the property of a Mrs Butler, who saw a stab on the goat, but did not examine it closely, and in consequence of the injuries inflicted had it destroyed. Wounds were also seen upon it by a Mrs Jennings on the evening of the alleged offence. The accused, who has been deprived of his right arm through a gun accident, was arrested on the 7th February, about eight days afterwards, at his father’s residence, Hamilton, by Constable [James] Champion, who told him that he was about to arrest him on a charge of bestiality. Accused, who became excited, called his father, and said “Father, this fellow wants to say I have been over here with a goat,” at the same time pointing in the direction of the place where the offence was alleged to have taken place. The constable asked him if he thoroughly understood the charge, and he replied, “Yes, I never done it.” on the way to the lockup accused asked the constable if he thought he would be flogged, if found guilty.

    For the defence, the accused’s sister [Wooten] gave evidence. It was in effect that she and her brother were in a cart selling fruit, etc, on the day in question, and at four o’clock were between Dark Creek and Lambton, some considerable distance away. They did not reach home till nearly six o’clock. Witness arrived home at half-past five, and accused, who had a few articles to sell, came home about ten minutes afterwards. Her brother was very kind to the members of the family, and also to the animals about the place.

    Mr Thompson said that the circumstances, when carefully considered, went to show that the accused was not guilty of the offence with which he was charged.

    His Honor summed up, and the jury retired at twenty minutes past five o’clock. After seven minutes deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and the accused was discharged.

    The Court adjourned at half-past five o’clock till ten am yesterday.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 19 Mar 1885 4


    The sessions were continued this morning before Mr District Court Judge Wilkinson.


    Henry Wooten, twenty years of age, was charged with having committed bestiality at Newcastle on the 30th January last.

    Mr RW Thompson appeared for the defence.

    Constable [James] Champion deposed to arresting prisoner at Hamilton commonage on February 7th last, on a charge of having committed the crime mentioned; on the way to the station prisoner repeatedly said he did not commit the offence, and asked witness whether he would be flogged if found guilty.

    Two boys named David and Robert Wagher [aka Waugh] respectively, both nine years old, testified to seeing prisoner commit the offence.

    The evidence was of a disgusting character, and not fit for publication.

    Mr Thompson addresses the jury at some length, and said the case was a very painful one. There was a great discrepancy in both boys’ evidence, and he did not believe a word of it. They were only yarns, which they had probably concocted. There was not a particle of corroborative testimony as to the crime, and the boys had both told lies. The boys were twins, and there was always great affinity between twins, for it had often been noticed what one did the other would do from mere sympathetic action in the mind.

   His Honor summed up, and the jury, after a short retirement, returned a verdict of not guilty.


1  Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Tue 10 Feb 1885, p. 2.

2  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 17 Mar 1885, p. 4.

3  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 19 Mar 1885, p. 6. Emphasis added.

4  Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 19 Mar 1885, p. 8.