Northern Star, Mon 13 Nov 1911 1
[LISMORE] QUARTER SESSIONS.
Saturday, November 11.
The Quarter Sessions were continued on Saturday before his Honor Acting-Judge Hamilton, with Mr RJ Browning as Crown Prosecutor, Mr JB Kelly acting as Deputy Sheriff.
A SERIOUS CHARGE.
Joseph Fitzgerald was charged with that, on the 16th day of October, 1911, at Uki, in the State of New South Wales, he did charged Peter James McDonald with a bestial offence, with the attempt to extract money therefrom.
The following jury were empanelled:—JD Avery, C Lynch, RH Blackburn, EJ Tulk, JC Gordon, E Hughes, Jas. Whitney, A Gillies, HO Hann, JG Noble, J Frohmuller, O Wilson.
A large number of witnesses were examined, and the evidence for the Crown went to show that on Sunday, October 15th, McDonald went to a paddock known as Morris’ or Connor’s, to catch a bay mare. He rode up on a creamy horse, tied it to a stump, dismounted, caught the mare, changed his saddle on to it, and rode away leading the horse. While he was doing this the accused and a companion rode past. Prisoner, who worked at his father’s blacksmith’s shop, the next day accused McDonald of committing a bestial offence on the mare, asking him for a sum of £50 not to report the matter to the police. This demand being refused, the amount was reduced, but McDonald would have nothing to do with it, and told the accused to report away. Prisoner repeating the story to several people. McDonald subsequently caused the institution of the proceedings. The accused, [Joseph Fitzgerald ], in giving evidence, contradicted the Crown witnesses, and stated that when he and his companion rode past the paddock McDonald was seen by them committing the offence. He told others about the case, and the suggestion was made to him that he could get money out of it by threatening McDonald, who is a married. Accused said he refused to entertain this idea, as he could get plenty of money from his father, but said he would tell McDonald what he thought of him. He did do this. His mate, George Arnold, was not called. Accused [Joseph Fitzgerald] said he had never mentioned money in connection with the case to anyone, that being purely a spiteful invention to injure accused.
His Honor, in summing up, said for the purposes of the case, it was not necessary to consider whether they believed in the truth of the charge or not. The accused admitted making the charge, and the only question was whether it was made for the purpose of extorting money or not. If they believed the accused’s story of his conversation with McDonald then he had no such intention, but they had to consider against that the story told by the other witnesses. It was hard to separate the question of McDonald’s guilt from the case, but if McDonald had been guilty it would have been reasonable to think he would have been ready to compromise, which, on the accused’s own showing, he made no attempt to do. The failure of the accused to call his companion must not be taken against him, for though he may have been able to give evidence about McDonald’s action, he could give none as to the matter of this case with regard to the demanding of money. His Honor then traversed the evidence given by the different witnesses. There had been nothing said about the character, and having seen the way in which he gave his story and the way the other witnesses gave theirs, and they were entitled to take these matters into consideration.
The jury retired at 3.30 pm, and, after being out for an hour and a quarter, returned into Court with a verdict of guilty, but added a recommendation to mercy on the grounds of his youth.
The foreman said the jury wished to add a special rider.
His Honor said it was open for them to say what they liked.
The foreman then announced that the jury were unanimous in desiring to express their belief that Mr McDonald was not guilty of the offence with which the accused had charged him.
The jury were then discharged.
In passing sentence, his Honor said that, like the crown Prosecutor, he was at a loss to understand how anyone could commit such a crime than which he could not imagine any more cowardly and despicable—to accuse anyone of such a beastly crime with the object of making gain. If the prisoner had been a full-grown man he would have been inclined to sentence him to something near the maximum penalty, which was ten years. If he had not given him the full penalty it would probably have been something near to it. The prisoner was, however, young, and possibly did not realise the full seriousness of his offence, and the jury had also recommended him to mercy. On the other hand, he had aggravated the offence that day, as a witness, when he had perjured himself. In his opinion that may have been a necessary action, but that opinion was no excuse. It was difficult, under the circumstances, to give effect to the recommendation of the jury. If he had not been so young he would certainly have been dealt with, and in any case it was necessary that the sentence should be serious, for it was an offence which could not be permitted. It must be a sentence which not only punished the prisoner but would act as a deterrent to others. He sentenced the accused to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour.
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Joseph Fitzgerald, Gaol photo sheet 2
Gaol Photo Sheet - Transcribed Details
Date when Portrait was taken: 30-11-1911
Name: Joseph Fitzgerald
Native place: Kangaroo Valley, NSW
Year of birth: 8-11-1893
Arrived Ship: –
Trade or occupation
Education, degree of: R and W
Height: 5' 9"
Weight On committal: 145
Colour of hair: Fair
Colour of eyes: Blue
Marks or special features: Deep scar on left side of face near nose, top of right fore finger crushed
(No. of previous Portrait ... )
|Where and When||Offence.||Sentence|
Threatening to accuse of crime
2 years H
1 Northern Star (Lismore, NSW), Mon 13 Nov 1911, p. 4. Emphasis added.
2 SRNSW: NRS2138, [3/6078], Darlinghurst Gaol photographic description book, 1911-1912, No. 12098, p. 50, R5115.