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1888, George Johnston - Unfit For Publication
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The Argus, Mon 1 Oct 1888 1

SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
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(From Our Correspondent.)
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Adelaide, Sunday.


    Sir Frederick Darley, the Chief Justice of New South Wales, visited the Adelaide Gaol yesterday in the company of the sheriff. He made the following entry in the visitors’ book:— “I am much interested with the arrangements at the gaol, which appear to be all that can be desired.” His Honor left for the Silverton Circuit Court by yesterday’s train. On Friday he visited the University, and in the evening was entertained at a dinner by Chief Justice Way.

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The South Australian Advertiser, Mon 1 Oct 1888 2

    Sir Fredk Darley, Chief Justice of New South Wales, and Mr Sheriff Cowper left Adelaide by Saturday morning’s train for Silverton to open the Circuit Court there. On Friday, in company with the sheriff, his honor and Mr Cowper made a lengthened inspection of the Adelaide Gaol. The Chief Justice, who is in the habit of visiting the gaols and prisons when on circuit, before leaving made the following entry in the visitors’ book:—“I am much interested with the arrangements at this gaol, which appear to be all that can be desired.” Sir Frederick Darley was entertained by Chief Justice Way during his brief stay in Adelaide, and invited the judges, the Attorney General, and several leading members of the bar to meet him at dinner on Friday evening. The Chief Justice also saw his honor off by train on Saturday morning.

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The Broken Hill Argus, Tue 2 Oct 1888 3

THE CHIEF JUSTICE AT SILVERTON.
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    The Chief Justice (Sir Frederick Darley) at Silverton on Monday morning opened the first circuit court ever held in the district. The court was held in Duchatel’s Hotel, and considering the limited space, the dispensation of justice was carried out with convenience to all concerned. The public, however, were unable to find accommodation to any great extent, as the large number of jurors in attendance well nigh filled the place. At 10 o’clock His Honor took his seat on the bench, but before proceeding with the business in hand delivered himself of the following speech:—

“It is nearly 50 years ago since the first circuit was held in Australia, a time when this region was yet unexplored and unknown. Now, in this our centenary year, I as Chief Justice of this colony, have the honor of coming here and opening in the name of Her Majesty, your first circuit court for what I suppose I may call the north-western district, which from its richness in varied mineral deposits has attracted and is attracting a large population. There is no circumstance which so marks the advance of civilisation and human progress, as wise laws well and prudently administered in the midst of a community. In their absence, men are driven to form themselves into what are known in America as vigilance committees, carrying out their lawless decrees by lynch law. All this necessary though it may be for the security of life and property in an unreformed, lawless community, is nevertheless a reproach to, and a stain upon the government of the country where it exists. Happily, under our constitution as good, and as free, when properly understood and administered, as any the world has yet known, this is as unnecessary as it is impossible. No sooner has the necessity for the administration of the law by its highest tribunal become evident, than the Government of the country, prompt to act in the due discharge of its duty, has proclaimed this to be the circuit town of a large and important circuit district, and now this circuit will be held twice a year, to be I trust, a warning to evil-doers, and a prop and sustaining force to those loyal, law-abiding and order loving citizens, who happily outnumber the evil-doers by thousands to one. Here also you can have your civil disputes determined where it becomes necessary to resort to the Supreme Court, without the serious cost entailed by having them tried at places so far distant as Hay and Deniliquin.

    I trust that ere the next period for holding a circuit arrives, justice may be better housed, and that some steps may be taken towards providing proper gaol accommodation for the district, and thus get rid of a state of things which is a reflection upon our civilization and common humanity. It is noting short of a disgrace to the proper administration of justice in the colony to find men as I saw them yesterday, yet untried, and therefore presumably innocent, kept in irons, instruments of punishment reserved for the worst and most reckless, and most unfortunate of our malefactors. I had heard of this, but could scarcely believe till my eyes saw it, that in this noble colony such circumstances could exist. The only excuse perhaps, which can be found, for what is nothing less than a calamity, is that the recent discovery of your boundless mineral wealth, has caused a sudden increase of population, which has outstripped the power of the Government to make due provision for. But now that it has become necessary to proclaim this a circuit district I trust the Government will lose no time in making due provision for the urgent necessity of the case. In conclusion, let me hope that no other judge will have so heavy a calendar to try as that placed before me. On the contrary I trust that many may have the pleasure of bearing away, as representing the law-abiding qualities of the district, the customary white gloves, and that, while under the blessing of providence, population and prosperity, increase, so crime will in due proportion decrease.

    After His Honor, who was listened to with rapt attention, had concluded, his associate (Mr SE Lamb) read the Queen’s Proclamation. The juror’s list was then called over and several absentees were fined £5 each. Mr Ralston prosecuted on behalf of the Crown, and the bar was represented by Mr Cannaway, and Messrs [Thomas E] Jhonson, McCarthy, Edwards, Hancock, and Welsh.

    Even if we are practically ignored by the Government, it is a pleasant reflection that some of our prominent law-makers occasionally give voice to sentiments, indicative of their sympathy with the proper administration of Justice, and their antipathy to the abortive style in which it is too often meted out in New South Wales. The Chief Justice (Sir Frederick Darley), in his speech yesterday at the opening of the Circuit Court at Silverton, in no measured terms denounced the various miscarriages of justice which have taken place ever since the Barrier has existed as a community. He expressed himself as considering it a reflection upon our civilization and common humanity, and nothing short of a disgrace to the administration of justice in our colony, to find men as yet untried, and therefore as yet presumable innocent kept in irons, a punishment reserved for the worst malefactor. It is refreshing to hear such sentiments from a New South Wales judge, for their utterances are usually too strongly tainted with the old convict leaven, when to accuse a man was almost tantamount to finding him guilty. Such exponents of the bench as Judge Windeyer are only too frequent; and men with moral courage to condemn what is palpably wrong, too scarce. Ever since the days of Appius Claudius, it has been a clearly defined legal maxim that a man is to be considered innocent until proved guilty; and so thoroughly is this point appreciated in America that in the majority of the States the accused can elect to be immediately dealt with; in fact, in New York city, a man arrested at night has the right to insist on a preliminary examination before morning. Here, however, in free Australia, which boasts of the liberty of her citizens as being second to none in the world, a man or woman can be arrested on a trumped up charge and held for months in durance in company with the vilest animals. The case of Ann Curtis, a poor boarding-house servant who was charged with stealing from her mistress, is still fresh in our minds. The poor girl who being without friends was naturally unable to find recognisances was imprisoned for two months “before trial” and then the jury disagreeing, was remanded and imprisoned for a further term, thus undergoing at least a portion of the punishment that would have been meted out to her had she been guilty, which fact is “at present” unproved. The system of gaol accommodation here is in itself a blot on the escutcheon of the country, and the means of criminal litigation in a district pre-eminent for his law abiding reputation, more than disgraceful. We hope that the Chief Justice’s visit, coupled with his plain spoken language, will be provocative of a change for the better, and that on his return to Sydney he will devote a portion of that eloquence, for which he is famed, towards setting in motion, in the right direction, the rusty wheels of our cobwebbed governmental machine.

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The Broken Hill Argus, Wed 3 Oct 1888 4

LOCAL COURT.
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CIRCUIT COURT, SILVERTON.
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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2.
Before His Honor the Chief Justice (Sir Frederick Darley.)

BEASTIALITY. [sic]

    George Johnson [aka Johnston] was charged with beastiality, at Silverton, on the 19th of August last. The evidence, which was unfit for publication, was given, when His Honor charged the jury, and they immediately, without leaving the box, returned a verdict of guilty.

    Remanded till this morning for sentence.

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The Broken Hill Argus, Thu 4 Oct 1888 5

LOCAL COURT.
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CIRCUIT COURT, SILVERTON.
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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3
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Before His Honor the Chief Justice (Sir Frederick Darley.)

BESTIALITY.

    George Johnson, who was yesterday found guilty of bestiality, was brought forward for sentence. His Honor said the prisoner was found guilty on the clearest possible testimony, of a crime which men don’t like to mention, and which it was not necessary for him to dilate upon. Not very long ago the punishment for this offence was death; now it is penal servitude for life, or for a period of not less than five years. The sentence of the court was ten years’ penal servitude in Wentworth gaol.

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The Argus, Mon 8 Oct 1888 6

SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
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(From Our Correspondent.)
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Adelaide, Sunday.

    Sir Frederick Darley, Chief Justice of New South Wales, returned yesterday afternoon to Adelaide from his visit to the Barrier district. While at Silverton he was busily engaged in court for four days. He will officially report to the Government of New South Wales on an arrangement for the administration of justice for the Barrier district. He leaves Adelaide to-day for Sydney. 

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Geo Johnson, Gaol photo sheet 7

SRNSW: NRS2232, [3/5969a], Goulburn Gaol photographic description book, Dec 1884-May 1890, No. 617, p. 183, R5119.


Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. G 617   

Date when Portrait was taken: November 1888

Name: Geo Johnson

Native place: England

Year of birth: 1829

Arrived       Ship: Caroline
in Colony }   Year: 1856

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Cook

Religion: C of E

Education, degree of: R&W

Height: 5' 6"

Weight     On committal:
in lbs     } On discharge:

Colour of hair: Grey

Colour of eyes: Brown

Marks or special features:

Where and when tried: Silverton CC
3 October 1888

Offence: Beastiality [sic]

Sentence: 10 years P.S.

Remarks:

(No. of previous Portrait ... ) 

PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS

Where and When Offence. Sentence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1    The Argus, Mon 1 Oct 1888, p. 10.

2    The South Australian Advertiser, Mon 1 Oct 1888, p. 4.

3    The Broken Hill Argus, Tue 2 Oct 1888, p. 2.

4    The Broken Hill Argus, Wed 3 Oct 1888, p. 2.

5    The Broken Hill Argus, Thu 4 Oct 1888, p. 3.

6    The Argus, Mon 8 Oct 1888, p. 9.

7    SRNSW: NRS2232, [3/5969a], Goulburn Gaol photographic description book, Dec 1884-May 1890, No. 617, p. 183, R5119.