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1894, Arthur Roberts - Unfit For Publication
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The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, Fri 27 Jul 1894 1


    At Wardell Police Court on Saturday last before the Police Magistrate, Arthur Roberts on remand, charged with an unnatural offence, was committed for trial to the Circuit Court Grafton on 16th October next. Bail allowed self £100 and 2 sureties at £50.

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Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Tue 31 Jul 1894 2


    Arthur Roberts has been committed by the Wardell Police Court to the Grafton Assizes for bestiality.

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Clarence and Richmond Examiner, Sat 20 Oct 1894 3


THE Assizes opened on Tuesday, before his Honor Sir Frederick Darley, Chief Justice. The members of the legal profession present were Messrs HE Cohen (Crown Prosecutor), JH Want, J Garland, RB Browning, and GF Conroy. The local solicitors were in attendance, also Mr JF Thomas, solicitor, from Tenterfield. Mr McArthur acted as Judge’s Associate, and Mr Parkinson attended from the Crown Solicitor’s office.


(Continued from page 3.)


    Arthur Roberts was arraigned for having, at Broadwater, Richmond River,  on 12th July last, committed the above offence. Accused pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Garland, instructed by Messrs Norrie and McGuren.

    Jury—Albert Eggins, Chas Matthews, Joseph Geary, jun, Chas Crowther, Joseph Bailey, Geo Crispin, Chas E Campbell, Michael O’Connor, Chas Jordan, Wm H Waterhouse, John T Mulquinney, John E O’Keeffe. Accused challenged one juror.

Boys and females were ordered out of court.

    The details of the case are unfit for publication. One of the principal witnesses was Billy Kelly, aboriginal king of Broadwater, and another was a groom at the hotel near where the alleged offence took place.

    Accused said that for a time he was fireman on the Kallatina, and afterwards in the employ of the CSR Company, at Broadwater. He totally denied the charge.

    Thomas McFadden, licensee of the Royal hotel, Broadwater, gave evidence for the defence.

    The court adjourned from 10.20 to 9.30 am next day.

    (Continuation of our report will be found on page 8.)


    The case against Arthur Morris [sic] for this offence at Broadwater was resumed by his Honor summing up, which pointed to a conviction. He referred to the evidence of accused being so contradictory of the statements of the witnesses for the prosecution, King Billy, Henry Baker, and Constable Stackpool.

    After retiring for several hours the jury were called in, and asked if there was any probability of their agreeing, his Honor asking them also if he could afford them assistance by explaining any of the evidence. The foreman said they were not likely to agree, but said they did not require any of the evidence explained. His Honor said that he could not discharge them till they were locked up a certain time. After being locked up 12 hours, they were again brought in, and the foreman said there was not probability of their agreeing. His Honor then discharged them, and remanded accused to next assizes. In reply to an application for bail, his Honor said, if made at all, it must be heavy. He would, however, defer the matter at present.

    We are informed that 11 of the jury were for an acquittal.

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Northern Star, Wed 24 Oct 1894 4


October 20.

THE sittings of the Circuit Court occupied the greater portion of the week, and though the calendar was longer than usual, there was a small proportion of convictions. The ES and A Bank robbery case occupied an entire day, and resulted in the acquittal of the accused teller, Smith. There was a pronounced attempt at applause at the announcement of the verdict, which elicited a strong rebuke from the Chief Justice. A large amount of evidence taken at the Police Court was disallowed, and this materially weakened the case against accused. There are rumours of further proceedings being taken in connection with the case.

*        *       *        *

Before commencing the business of the Court, His Honor passed a high eulogium on Sir Alfred Stephen. Before concluding his observation, Sir Frederick Darley was quite overcome, and there and there were few in the crowded Court who were not sympathisers in the event that occurred the day previous. Sir Alfred Stephen, [a former Chief Justice, 7 Oct 1844–6 Nov 1873 5], opened the first Circuit Court in Grafton in April, 1875, under a special commission, so that his name is linked in a judicial sense with the history of the Clarence.

*        *       *        *

A case, [Arthur Roberts], that gave much trouble was one of beastiality from Broadwater. The strongest evidence against accused was that of Billy Kelly, an aboriginal king over that portion of the Richmond territory. His Honor placed more reliance on his dusky Highness’ evidence than did the jury, for the latter with one exception were for acquittal, while the learned judges [sic] summing up was unmistakably clear towards conviction. The eleven jurymen made up their minds for as discharge within an hour, but the twelfth viewed matters differently, and a 12 hours lock up was the result. King Billy was accompanied by a stalwart interpreter, but with this auxiliary there was some difficulty in eliciting his testimony. The administration of the oath was not easily managed, and Billy with his companion were for some minutes with their right hands raised, reminding one forcibly of a strict Scotchman making the affirmation.

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The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, Fri 26 Oct 1894 6


At this Court last week before Sir FW Darley, Chief Justice, the following cases were dealt with:—

    Arthur Roberts was charged with, at Broadwater, committing an unnatural offence. The Jury after being locked up for a lengthy time were unable to agree and were discharged. The accused was remanded till the next Court.


1  The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, (NSW), Fri 27 Jul 1894, p. 2.

2  Clarence and Richmond Examiner, (Grafton, NSW), Tue 31 Jul 1894, p. 5.

3  Clarence and Richmond Examiner, (Grafton, NSW), Sat 20 Oct 1894, pp. 3, 8. Emphasis added.

4  Northern Star, Wed 24 Oct 1894, p. 2. Emphasis added.


5  Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Tue 16 Oct 1894, p. 4.

(By Telegraph).

       SYDNEY, MONDAY NIGHT.—Sir Alfred Stephen for some time past was so feeble that he had to be kept more and more secluded away from excitement or exertion. Deceased passed away in the presence of members of his family and Dr Scot Skirving. Although appearing to be in his usual health and spirits, it was obvious that during the past few days he was gradually failing, and his end was not far off. His custom, since he was confined to his house, was to spend several hours of the day in his drawing room, usually reclining on a sofa. Yesterday he followed his usual custom, and last night retired to bed at the usual hour. This morning, on awakening, he complained of general weakness, and it became apparent that he was dying. A short time afterwards he passed peacefully away. The funeral takes place on Wednesday.

       The Premier immediately communicated with his family, and offered, on behalf of the Government, to accord him a public funeral. It is understood, however, that the family prefer that the obsequies shall be of a private character. Under these circumstances, the idea of a public funeral has been abandoned. In honor of the memory of deceased a special issue of the [NSW Government] Gazette was published this evening, in which expression is given of the sense of the loss the colony has sustained, and of the great services of his lifetime.

       Deceased was born in the West Indies in 1802, and was fourth son of Mr Justice Stephen, a NS Wales Supreme Court Judge, who died in 1833. In 1823 he was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, and commenced practice as an equity draftsman. In 1825 he was appointed Crown Solicitor and Solicitor-General of Tasmania, and shortly afterwards Attorney-General. In 1839 he was appointed a Judge in this colony, attaining the position of Chief Justice in 1844, when he succeeded Sir James Dowling. In 1846 he was knighted; in 1856 was appointed President of the Legislative Council, but resigned the latter two years afterwards. In 186 he was made a CB. By both branches of the profession Sir Alfred Stephen’s indefatigable diligence and conscientious zeal, his unflagging intellectual activity and urbanity, have been subjects of general recognition. On the departure of Earl Belmore in 1872, he was administrator of the Government until the arrival of Sir Hercules Robinson. In 1873 he resigned the Chief Justiceship, was made a KCMG the following year, and 12 months later was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales, and the same year to a seat in the Legislative Council. This he resigned in 1879, in consequence of having entered upon the duties of Acting Governor. He was for many years member of the Council of Education, and had always been distinguished by his advocacy and support of benevolent and charitable institutions. Sir Alfred reached the ripe age of 92, was twice married, and leaves a large family.”

6  The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser, (NSW), Fri 26 Oct 1894, p. 8.