Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /nfs/c07/h03/mnt/178353/domains/unfitforpublication.org.au/html/plugins/system/gantry/gantry.php on line 406
1887, Billy Edwards - Unfit For Publication
Text Size

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 1 Dec 1887 1


    His Honor, Mr District Court Judge Wilkinson will preside over the sittings of the Maitland Quarter Sessions, which begin at East Maitland this morning at ten o’clock. Following is a complete list of cases for trial:–

    William Edwards (aboriginal), unnatural offence.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 3 Dec 1887 2

(Before his Honor Mr District Court Judge Wilkinson.)

    The Court re-opened at ten o’clock.


    Messrs Edward Dixon, Greta; Charles Thomas Norton, Singleton; Vincent Carlton, Brookfield, and Dr A Bowman, of Singleton, were sworn in magistrates of the colony. His Honor congratulated these gentlemen on their appointment to the commission of peace.


    Messrs John Hart, West Maitland; and William Milham, Ash Island, were fined 40s for non-attendance as jurors. The fine imposed on the previous day upon Thomas Mullen and Joseph Phillips were remitted.


    William Edwards, an aboriginal, was charged with having at Minimbah, on the 22nd October, committed an abominable offence upon Ernest [aka Edwin] Gardiner [aka Gardner].

    Mr W Blacket, barrister, who as is usual in cases against aboriginals, was retained by the Crown, appeared for accused, who pleaded not guilty.

    The Crown Prosecutor said that he was not prepared to proceed with the case, owing to the absence of a material witness for the Crown, through indisposition.

    Accused was remanded to the next Court of Quarter Sessions to be holden at Singleton in March next.

    The Court adjourned at ten minutes past five o’clock until this morning.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Sat 3 Dec 1887 3

(Before His Honor Mr District Court Judge

THE Court resumed at 10 o’clock, when the first case taken was one of


    William Edwards was arraigned for unnatural offence at Minimbah, on October 22nd last.

    Mr Wilfred Blackett defended.

    The Crown Prosecutor stated that one of the principal witnesses was absent, and he asked for a remand until the Court of Quarter Sessions, to be held at Singleton in March next.

    Mr Blackett agreed, and

    Accused was remanded until the holding of the Singleton Quarter Sessions.

    The Court then rose until to-day, when the following cases will be tried:—

    William George David, uttering a forgery; and Joseph Nesbitt, disturbing the Salvation Army.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Singleton Argus, Sat 17 Mar 1888 4


    The Singleton Quarter Sessions open on Monday next before his Honor Mr District Court Judge Dowling. There are only two cases set down for trial, that against William Edwards (an aboriginal) for sodomy; and against Alfred Taylor, alias James Crotty, for forging and uttering.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Singleton Argus, Wed 21 Mar 1888 5

(Before His Honor Mr District Court Judge Dowling).

    The Court opened at ten o’clock; Mr WR Beaver acting as Clerk of the Peace. The following members of the bar were present:– Mr GH Fitzharding[e] (Crown Prosecutor), Mr AB Shand, and Mr W Blacket.
    The following solicitors were in attendance:– Mr AJ Gould, Mr HV Howe, and Mr WW Robinson.
    Mr W Dudding sat with the Judge as Deputy Sheriff.


    William Edwards was indicted for te above offence, at Minimbah, on the 22nd December [1887] last. There was a second count for assault.

    Mr Shand conducted the case for the Crown; and Mr Blacket appeared for the accused.

    The following jury was empanelled:– Joseph McAlpin, John Miner, John Fernance, David McDougall, Harry DeCourcy, Timothy Moroney, George E Bloomfield, Charles H Durham, Henry Eagle, William Holmes, Robert Faulkner, and Charles Gould.

    Mr Shand having opened the case for the Crown, called:

    Senior-Sergeant [Michael] Moylan said that on the 22nd October last a man named Gardner came and made a complaint to him; in consequence of that complaint, he went and made search for accused, whom he found near Whittingham at about one o’clock on Sunday morning; witness charged him with the alleged assault; asked him if he understood the nature of the charge, and he muttered “yes”; then arrested him and brought him to the lockup; next day he went to Mr Gardner’s place at Dulcalmah, and in consequence of what he was told he returned to the lockup and charged accused with sodomy on a little boy about four years old; witness asked accused if he wished him to explain the nature of the charge; accused replied, “Oh, yes”; he then explained the charge to accused; two days after the assault Mrs Gardner gave him certain clothing that had been worn by her little boy. (Witness here described the state of the child’s clothes.) Witness was not present when Dr Read examined the child.

    Jane Gardner stated that she resided with her husband at Minimbah; she remembered the 22nd October last; accused came to her place at about nine o’clock on that morning, and her child was then about the place; accused remained there for some time; after her children had dinner, one of them (the child in question) went away with accused on a pony; that was at about one o’clock; the accused and the child went up the yard, and witness did not see them again for some time; the child was riding in front of accused; she saw accused coming back with the boy about an hour and a-half afterwards; witness had washed her boy at about seven; o’clock on that morning; after accused and the boy returned, the latter made a complaint to her, and in consequence of that complaint she examined him, and found certain marks on him; she also examined his trousers, and found certain blood stains on them; after washing the boy she saw a man who was at work near, and she sent him for her husband, who came and brought the boy to Dr Read; witness did not go with her husband; accused frequently went about where she lived doing work for Mr Mackay; the place where she lived was open.

    Cross-examined: There were some men working a little distance away from where she lived on the day named.

    Dr Richard Read deposed to examining the child in question on Saturday, the 22nd October last. (The nature of the injuries found on the child were here stated.) He did not think the injuries found could have been inflicted with a stick, or that they could have been inflicted by the boy himself.

    Cross-examined: He examined the child again on the 25th October, but not afterwards.

    Patrick Wheeler remembered the date in question; on that day Mrs Gardner gave him a message to take to her husband, who was some distance away from his house; she saw accused and the child on that day; they were both riding on a pony—the child in front of accused.

    Cross-examined: It was a part of the accused’s duty to go working about Mr Gardner’s place; the 23rd October was harvesting time, and there were several men about the place beside accused.

    Edwin Gardner, farm laborer residing at Minimbah, knew accused; he had been at Mr Mackay’s place for about three years; on the 22nd October last he was working about a mile away from his residence; some time during the afternoon of that day a message was brought to him by last witness; in consequence of the message he received he at once went to his house, where he saw his child, and from what he was told, and also from what he saw, he brought the child to Dr Read; before leaving he saw accused, but did not speak to him; accused frequently went to witness’s place on his master’s business.

    This was the case for the Crown.

    Mr Blacket addressed the jury, contending that there was no direct evidence to connect accused with the crime, and also that there was no doubt but that the injuries could have been inflicted by other ways than that alleged.

    His Honor summed up, pointing out that the accused was an uneducated black, and could not, when apprehended, have understood the nature of the charge. His Honor also pointed out that there had been neglect on the part of the police to have accused examined. He then went through the evidence, giving the various points of law on the subject, and directed the jury to give the accused the benefit of any doubt.

    The jury retired, and after an absence of a quarter of an hour, returned into court with a verdict of not guilty.

    The accused was then discharged.


1   The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 1 Dec 1887, p. 4.

2   The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 3 Dec 1887, p. 4.

3   Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Sat 3 Dec 1887, p. 6.

4   Singleton Argus, Sat 17 Mar 1888, p. 2. Emphasis added.

5   Singleton Argus, Wed 21 Mar 1888, p. 2. Emphasis added.