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1897, John Walters - Unfit For Publication
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 4 Feb 1898 1


Tenterfield, Thursday.

    Much dissatisfaction was expressed this afternoon when Judge Coffey was obliged, owing to having to open the quarter sessions at Glen Innes to-morrow morning, to postpone till next court an important trespass case. Twenty-seven witnesses had been in attendance for two days, and as many of them had come long distances the adjournment of the case means inconvenience and loss to them.

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Evening News, Sat 5 Feb 1898 2


    GLEN INNES, Friday.—At the quarter sessions this morning, before Judge Coffey, John Walters, a youth of about 18, charged with an unnatural offence, was discharged.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 5 Feb 1898 3


Tumut, Friday.

    A largely-attended public meeting held last night resolved to urge the Government to submit the Tumut railway to the Public Works Committee. It was decided to ask the member for the district to interview the Premier with reference to the matter. Mr Travers Jones, MLA, was present, and pointed out the efforts lately made by him in advocating the construction of the railway.


Glen Innes, Friday.

    The Quarter Sessions were held to-day before his Honor Judge Coffey. Mr Browning was the Crown Prosecutor. John Waters, charged with a criminal offence, was acquitted. A cattle-stealing case was adjourned, owing to the absence of a material witness. There were no Civil cases of any importance.


Bathurst, Friday.

    At the Quarter Sessions to-day, before Acting-Judge Merewether, Thomas Rushton, indicted for assaulting a young woman, was convicted of common assault, and was remanded for sentence. Robert Dunn and John Ryan, found guilty of burglary at Lithgow, were sentenced—Dunn to two years and six months’ hard labour, and Ryan to three years’ hard labour, each term to commence at the expiration of a sentence which the prisoners are now undergoing. Ernest Leech, Thomas Bischell, and Herbert Thomas (boys) were convicted of wilfully damaging insulators, the property of the Railway Commissioners. Bischell and Thomas were sentenced to one months’ hard labour, the sentence to be suspended under the First Offenders’ Act ; Leech to three days’ gaol, to take effect at the expiration of a sentence he is now serving.

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Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser, Tue 8 Feb 1898 4

Friday, February 4.
(Before His Honor Judge Coffey.)

    Barristers present:—Messrs RJ Browning and C Garland; Solicitors: Messrs MH Fitzhardinge, PP Abbott, JF Thomas (Tenterfield), H Weaver (Armidale).


    John Newby and Richard Newby, on bail, were charged with killing a beast belonging to D Ballard, with intent to steal.
    Mr Garland (instructed by Mr Weaver) appeared for the accused.
    The Crown Prosecutor stated that he was not prepared to go on with the case that day, as a witness was not in attendance, and asked that it be postponed till the following day.
    His Honor: How long will the case last?
    Mr Garland: More than a day.
    His Honor: Well, unless you can get the witness this afternoon Mr Browning, I will not take the case this sitting. I will not begin a case on Saturday when there is a prospect of keeping the jury locked up here, in the small room, all day Sunday. Make enquiries if your witness can arrive this afternoon, and we will adjourn this case for the present.
    (At this stage His Honor requested the contractor for improvements to the Court House to suspend work during the sitting of the court, as the noise interfered with the progress of business.)


    John Walters, a youth of 18, on bail, was charged with the committal of an unnatural offence, [bestiality with a mare], at Deepwater, and pleaded not guilty.

    The following jury were sworn:—H Pilkington, EA Hartigan, William Scott, James Cramsie, R Ruming, WF
Ogilvie, Robert Chard, A Macgillivray, W Kennedy, RJ Davidson, P McMorrow, W Woollings (foreman).

    Isaac Dickson, carrier, residing at Deepwater, deposed he knew accused for about two years; on the 14th November he was in the bush with his step son and saw the accused along near a causeway about 9 or 10 o’clock, about a mile from Deepwater; he pushed Mr Hogan’s saddle mare against a log; she had no bridle or halter on; the mare seemed to stand quietly as she was hobbled; prisoner committed an offence; after prisoner got off the log he saw them looking; they were about 100 yards away; accused afterwards mounted his own horse and rode away; witness then left, and about ¾ of a mile away met Mr Cox, the postmaster, and afterwards saw Constable Steele, but did not speak to him; his step son is about 10 years of age.

    By Mr Thomas: Had been two years living in Deepwater district; he had had some court work with Mr P Hoare, in whose employ the accused was; have had litigation with him; he got bark for Cox, but Cox did not pay in advance; he did not tell Cox that Hoare burnt his bark; he did not know that Hoare had threatened to prosecute him for saying he burnt the bark, nor that the accused was a witness against him; Hoare did not pay in advance for getting timber; he was not aware that the dispute originated over timber; Hoare sued him for a deficiency of timber; the boy saw him when he had committed the offence.

    Mr Thomas: In the Police Court you said he possibly saw you.

    His Honor: Do you mean to say that you did not call out or warn the young man, but stood there and never made any attempt to check the laid. You stood by whilst the young man prepared to commit the offence?

    Mr Thomas here read portions of the witness’ depositions given at the Police Court, which did not correspond with present evidence.

    By Mr Thomas: He did not recollect seeing Mr Cox, but did not tell him that he saw the boy keep looking back; he did not say at the Police Court there were bushes in between; he didn’t know whether the horse accused was riding was a black, white or chestnut; it had no saddle on; he did not notice whether the mare had a bridle on, but the horse the boy rode had a bridle on; the horse stood quietly and the mare without a bridle stood quietly; he (the witness) stood there eight or nine minutes without doing anything, but looked at accused now and again; he didn’t take any particular notice; he never spoke to him.

    His Honor: Don’t you think it was your duty to call out?

    Witness: I was going to tell his parents.

    His Honor: That isn’t an answer to my question. Don’t you think it was your duty as an old man and a married man to warn the boy or prevent him?

    Witness: I did not rightly know what to do.

    By Mr Thomas: He saw Mr Cox about five minutes after and told him ‘he had seen the horriblest crime he ever did see, he had heard of the like before but never did see the like before’; whilst there Constable Steele rode up behind; Mr Cox did not suggest or advise him to tell Mr Steele; he did not tell Constable Steele.

    (Mr Thomas: Although you were so indignant about this horrible crime you never said a word to a constable.) He saw the boy passing some little time after; he took Mr Hogan out to the place and showed him some marks of nails on the log; he also thought he pointed out marks of horses.

    (Mr Thomas: You had hob-nailed boots on that day.) He did not take much notice of the height of the log; the boy did not gallop away, he rode away quietly; he had a conversation with accused’s young brother; he did not ask what his brother was doing; he did not say he saw his brother (the accused) on a chestnut horse.

    By the Crown Prosecutor: He did not examine the place before he went with Hogan; one limb of the log was sticking up about a foot; he noticed tracks of horses at the spot.

    Henry Hogan, laborer, living at Deepwater, swore he had a mare running on the flat; he remembered the 14th November; Dickson came to his place before dinner; in consequence of what he (Dickson) had told him he went up to a log; Dickson pointed out marks on the log which appeared to be impressions of nails of boots; the log was about nine inches high; he noticed marks of horses feet without shoes; it appeared as if a horse stood backed up to the log; after he looked at the log he went over and got his mare, which was feeding about 20 or 30 yards away; his mare was quiet to ride, was six years of age, and under 14 hands; the mare was heavy in foal at the time.

    By Mr Thomas: The mare was rather touchy when groomed; she was not the quietest; he wouldn’t care to go touching her about the hind legs; the log was only a branch broken off a tree; he could pick it up and put it into a dray; Dickson did indicate that the marks were made by hobnailed boots; the branch was close to the creek; there were many other tracks of cattle about there; Dickson pointed out the hoof marks and told him the way the mare was standing.

    Senior-constable Steele, of Deepwater, stated he first received intimation of the charge on Tuesday, 16th November; he went with Hogan to a log; he did not see accused but met Dickson who joined them; he did not see the accused until the 22nd November; he did not try to find accused before as he (witness) was away too busy; in answer to the charge accused said ‘I never did it’; he asked accused was he at the creek on Sunday, the 14th, and he replied ‘Yes, I went down for a bull, and had seen some horses there that day; he then arrested accused, and on the way to the lockup they had to pass the log, and accused said he had seen his mare and some other horses close by, he examined accused’s boots and found they were hobnailed; in reply to a question prisoner said he had the boots on on that Sunday as they were the only boots he had; the nails corresponded with the holes on the log; the log was dry, though soft and may have been damp; he also saw marks of horses feet at the log, the heels being up against it.

    By Mr Thomas: He thought Dickson showed him the log and marks on it; he saw the marks on the ground himself; he only saw the track of one horse near the log; did not see any other tracks; he examined the mare some days later, about the 23rd; it may have been a day after he arrested the accused, he wasn’t sure; on the previous Sunday he passed the spot and saw Dickson and Cox; he didn’t go near them but called out to Mr Cox; he didn’t speak to Dickson nor Dickson to him; he saw accused afterwards as he was riding with Cox; accused was proceeding at a walking pace on a fair sized horse; the log was only the branch of a tree, and there would be no difficulty in lifting it.

    By the Crown Prosecutor: The soil was a soft sandy kind near the log; the tracks were discernible on little grass; away from the log the grass was much thicker; he saw the front tracks as well as the heel tracks; near the fore feet he saw two or three hoof tracks about a yard from the fore feet tracks of a horse.

    Mr Thomas: You never said anything about the other tracks in the Police Court.

    By Mr Thomas: The tracks appeared as if the horses had stood quietly; he couldn’t see any other tracks at all; he did not notice which way the horses walked away.

    This closed the case for the Crown. For the defence,

    Patrick Hoare, farmer, residing near Deepwater, deposed he knew accused as he worked on his farm; he was a good hardworking boy, and had been living with him about 18 months, he recollected Sunday morning, 14th November; he sent accused away after a bull on a chestnut horse; it was a draught horse used for saddle purposes; the bull was running over a large stretch of country; knew Isaac Dickson; had a case in the Petty Debts Court with him; Dickson had to bring some timber; matter was in dispute before this prosecution; he had a conversation with Dickson with regard to the timber; the accused was no relative of his; he never knew anything immoral about the accused, who was 18 years of age; never knew him to associate with larrikins.

    Joseph Cox, post and telegraph master at Deepwater, took an affirmation, and stated that he knew the accused by sight, and knew Dickson to speak to; he recollected Sunday morning, 14th November; he met Isaac Dickson and asked him where he was going, and he answered he was going to get some bark for him (witness); Dickson said, ‘I have just seen the most horrible crime committed, old a man as I am, that I ever saw in my life, yes that boy of Paddy Hoare’s’; Dickson said the offence was committed near the crossing, and that the boy kept looking back at him; during this conversation he noticed the accused coming in an entirely different direction to that in which Dickson indicated the offence was committed; the boy was riding at a walking pace; the constable arrived almost simultaneously and witness said to Dickson, ‘Well, here’s the police’; Dickson stopped there and did not mention anything to the constable about the offence; there was no saddle on the horse the boy was riding; he understood from Dickson that he had just seen the offence; the accused could not have got round to where he appeared in the time; accused would have had to describe a large semi-circle, go up a hill, and down it again, to be in the position where the witness first saw him; this would have taken longer to accomplish than the time it took Dickson to walk from the spot where he said the offence was committed (400 or 600 yards away) to where he met him; he had had transactions with Dickson; Dickson had brought him some poles and bark; he also paid Dickson for some bark which he said was stripped, and a couple of days afterwards Dickson told him that Hoare was up where he had the bark, and must have accidentally thrown down a match and set fire to it.

    By the Crown Prosecutor: The constable was with him about an hour, and he did not mention what Dickson had told him because he did not believe one word of it; Dickson had told him too many falsehoods; a little boy was running after Dickson, he took him to be about six or seven years of age; this was the first time the committal of such an offence was ever made known to him.

    By His Honor: It would take Dickson about a quarter of an hour to walk from the spot where he said the offence was committed to where he met witness; the boy could not ride around and appear where he first saw him under 20 minutes.

    John Walters, a young lad, brother of accused, stated he saw Dickson on the following Tuesday after the offence was alleged to have been committed; Dickson said he saw his brother on a chesnut [sic] horse.

    By the Crown: Dickson said nothing about his brother’s conduct, he only asked what his brother was after; Dickson said nothing that would imply what accused was up to.

    Isaac Dickson (re-called) said, in answer to the Crown Prosecutor, that the time that elapsed between the committing of the offence and when he saw Mr Cox was about five minutes.

    By His Honor: If the accused had taken the shortest cut he could get to where Mr Cox saw him in four minutes.

    Mr Thomas: If he went by the quickest route you must have seen him.

    Witness: Oh, I may not have looked in that direction.

    After Mr Thomas had addressed the jury, and His Honor had summed up favorably to accused, the jury retired for a few minutes and returned with a verdict of Not Guilty, and the accused was discharged.


1    The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 4 Feb 1898, p. 6. Emphasis added.

2    Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Sat 5 Feb 1898, p. 5.

3    The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 5 Feb 1898, p. 9. Emphasis added.

4    Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser, Tue 8 Feb 1898, p. 2. Emphasis added.