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1855, James Sullivan - Unfit For Publication
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Depositions for James Sullivan 3 Apr 1855 Sydney trial 1  

    It will be in the recollection of the Attorney Genl that the Witnesses in the case were left at Wide Bay. On looking over the evidence of the persons (3) who witnessed what took place between the prisoner and the Blacks it is quite plain that a conviction of sodomy could not take place however disgusting the proceedings may be, & certainly no assault could be proved. Under all circumstances I would suggest that Subpoenas should not be issued, and if the witnesses do not appear next Sessions good cover, or even if they do the PC may then be discharged.
[Initialled] JMD, 1 Ap.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gladstone
February 22nd 1855

The Hon the Attorney General, Sydney
Sir,
    With reference to the case of this prisoner named in the margin (James Sullivan, sodomy) I have now the honor to state to you that as HMS Torch is still detained in this Port by stress of weather I much fear that Sullivan may not arrive in Sydney in time for the sittings of the Criminal Court in March.

    The witnesses in this case have proceeded to their destinations by the steamer William Miskin but that vessel was in such a state of disorder that I did not deem it prudent to send the prisoner by her.
I have the honor to be,
    Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
[Signed] M[aurice] C[harles] O’Connell
Government Resident JP.

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    Gladstone
    February 19th 1855

The Hon the Attorney General, Sydney
Sir,
    In reference to the case against against [sic] the prisoner named in the margin (James Sullivan, Sodomy) committed by me on the 13th Inst for an unnatural crime and in the commission of which two Aboriginal Natives were concerned I have the honor to inform you that I have been unable to secure the apprehension of these men as they absconded and took to the bush on the day of Sullivan’s committal and I have not at my disposal a sufficient number of Native Police to allow of by detaching a party on their tracks.

    It strikes me very forcibly that Sullivan is an assumed name as evidently by his accent he is not an Irishman and from his account of himself it appears highly probable that he is an escaped convict or perhaps (expiree ?) From Van Dieman’s Land.
I have the honor to be,
    Sir,
your most obedient servant
[Signed] MC O’Connell, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

G. 42.

(O. 1.)   
Recognizance to give Evidence.

New South Wales, Gladstone
TO WIT.                              }

Be it remembered, That on the thirteenth day of February, in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five Robert Andrew Newman, Chief Officer of the Steamer William Miskin, John Quinlan Laborer, of the Burnett district, Richard Thomas Tailor of Sydney, Charles Edward Tryon Laborer of the Burnett personally came before me Maurice Charles O’Connell one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony and acknowledged themselves to owe to our Sovereign Lady the Queen the sum of Fifty pounds sterling of good and lawful money of Great Britain, to be made and levied of their goods and chattels, lands and tenements, to the use of our said Lady the Queen, Her Heirs and Successors, if they the said RA Newman, John Quinlan, Richard Thomas & Charles E Tryon shall fail in the condition indorsed.

Taken and acknowledged the day and year first above mentioned at Gladstone in the said Colony, before me,
[Signed] MC O’Connell, JP.

    The condition of the within written Recognizance is such, that whereas one James Sullivan was this day charged before me Maurice Charles O’Connell Esq a Justice of the Peace within mentioned, for that the said James Sullivan on the night of the 11th February Instant did commit the crime of Sodomy on the person of an Aboriginal native black if therefore they the said RA Newman, John Quinlan, Richard Thomas and Charles Edward Tryon shall appear at the next Gaol delivery to be holden at Sydney in and for the Colony of New South Wales, on Tuesday the third day of April and there give such evidence as they know upon an Information to be then and there preferred against the said James Sullivan for the offence aforesaid, to the Jurors who shall pass upon the trial of the said James Sullivan then the said Recognizance to be void, or else to stand in full force and virtue.

1

Police Office 13th February 1855

New South Wales, Gladstone
TO WIT.                              } 

James Sullivan Sodomy

    The examination of Robert Andrew Newman of the steamer William Miskin Chief Officer, John Quinlan of the Burnett district Laborer, Richard Thomas of Sydney Tailor and Charles Edward Tryon of the Burnett district Laborer taken on oath this thirteenth day of February in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five at Gladstone in the Colony aforesaid, before Maurice Charles O’Connell Esq one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony in the presence and hearing of James Sullivan for that

2

he the said James Sullivan did on the night of the tenth eleventh of February instant commit the crime of Sodomy on the person of an aboriginal black named Tommy. –
and this deponent Robert Andrew Newman on oath deposeth as follows:– I am Chief Officer of the steamer William Miskin. The prisoner is a Passenger to Wide Bay. About 10 pm I heard a noise on the houses overhead. On going out of the cabin I met one of the seamen. He said he had been woken by some of the passengers to come and all me as there were some curious proceedings going on. When I got on deck I ascertained what it was. They told me that there was a man on the top of the house committing

3

Sodomy. I then got the parties together who saw it Richard Thomas, John Quinlan & Charles Edward Tryon. When I mentioned that these were the men who were lying beside the prisoner and witnessed him in the act of committing an unnatural crime on the person of an aboriginal native.

    I then gave orders to put him below in the main hatch – I made him acquainted with the charge against him.

    He resisted when being put below and I

3A

gave orders having no irons on board to secure his hands with a small line but no violence used. The prisoner had been below five minutes when the Captain came onboard JR Scaplehorn. Without consulting me he insisted on my letting the man loose. All the Passengers on board crying Sham on him. He asked me to unloose the man three times. I said I could not. He then said that he would do so himself. He did so and sent him on deck and put him in his cabin and he used

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threatening language toward me for taking the man into custody.

    I told the Captain that when he was out of the ship I should act as the Captain myself.

    He then ordered me below. I told him I wanted to know the reason that

    He replied if I did not go below he would strike me. He then said “I suspend you from your duty”, giving no satisfaction for what I was thus suspended.

    About 2½ hours afterwards the Chief Constable and one Constable came on board. When the prisoner was given over into their charge by the Captain.

4A

This was about 1/4 to 1am on the Monday the 12th of February. This occurrence happened on the evening of Sunday the 11th February.

    When I first saw the prisoner he was lying beside the Black with the flap of his trowsers down. The Black had
[Signed] Robt A Newman, Chief Officer.

    And this deponent John Quinlan on oath deposeth as follows:–

    I am a passenger on board the William Miskin. I was awoke by one Charles Edward Tryon Richard Thomas saying to me that there was work going on. I looked and saw the prisoner

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lying down and a black sitting on his private parts. The prisoner seemed to be committing Sodomy on the black from the position of his body.

    I heard him promising the black money and blankets when he got to Wide Bay.

    I could not see if the prisoner’s trowsers were down.

    The prisoner was lying on his back. I saw one of the Blacks get off him and the others got (on ?).

    I called to one of the sailors to see this who called the Chief Officer and the prisoner was taken into custody.

    From the manner

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of the two Blacks I was of the opinion that one kept watch for the other whilst the crime was being committed.

    If I could have got away without their seeing me I would have exposed the prisoner to all. I have not the least doubt but that the crime of Sodomy was committed by the prisoner. The prisoner was somewhat not drunk.
[Signed] John (his X mark) Quinlan

I did not come up on deck again with the Chief Officer.
[Signed] John (his X mark) Quinlan    

6

    And this deponent Richard Thomas on oath deposeth as follows: I am a passenger on board of the William Miskin. On Sunday night the 11th Instant I was lying on deck beside the John Quinlan and the prisoner. The prisoner was lying on his back when I saw a Black take the prisoner’s penis and put into his mouth. I heard the prisoner say Budgery thinks plenty blankets and White money when get to Wide Bay. I saw the penis of the prisoner in the hand of the black afterwards as well as with the other black afterwards.

6A

When I saw what was going on I called to John Quinlan who was lying down between me and the prisoner. I could not therefore see the prisoner very well. I do not think he was drunk though I had seen him drinking during the day.

    I saw nothing of an act of sodomy committed.

    The blacks were when I saw them in a stooping position.
[Signed] Richard (his X mark) Thomas

    And this deponent Charles Edward Tryon saith as follows:

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I am a passenger on board the William Miskin. On the evening of the 11th instant I was lying on the deck with Richard Thomas & John Quinlan. The prisoner was lying there also close to John Quinlan in company with two blacks. I saw the black with the penis of the prisoner in his mouth for I should think for about five minutes (?) I saw the black astride the prisoner before this and making a movement with his person.

    From the position the two were in they could have been committing Sodomy.

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The black was sitting with his face towards the prisoner.

    They then all got up and went to the side of the vessel and lay down side by side. I don’t think the prisoner was drunk though he might have had a glass or so.

    I saw nothing further until called down to the cabin by the Constable.

    I heard the prisoner frequently make use of the term Budgery and offer blankets and white money.

    I believe the name of the Black that was astride the prisoner is Tommy. He was the man that had the penis of the

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prisoner in his hand and mouth.
[Signed] Charles Edward Tryon

    Cross-examined by the prisoner: As near as I could judge the time was between 11 & 12 pm when this occurred but there were no bells struck on board.

    When the Chief Officer came up I was on deck I wa you were lying with your fact to the boat beside the black – your clothes were on and not undone then.
[Signed] Charles Edward Tryon

8A

    The above depositions of of [sic] Robert Andrew Newman, John Quinlan, Richard Thomas and Charles Edward Tryon were taken and sworn before me at Gladstone on the day and year first above mentioned.
[Signed] MC O’Connell, JP.

    James Sullivan stands charged before the undersigned one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the Colony aforesaid this thirteenth day of February in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred

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and fifty five for that he the said James Sullivan on Sunday night the twel eleventh day of February instant did commit the crime of Sodomy on the person of an Aboriginal Native black named “Tommy” and the said charge being read to the said James Sullivan and the witnesses for the prosecution Robert Andrew Newman, John Quinlan, Richard Thomas and Charles Edward Tryon being severally examined in his presence the said James Sullivan is now addressed by me as follows: “Having heard the evidence do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you desire

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to do so but whatever you do say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence against you upon your trial. Whereupon the said James Sullivan declines saying anything in his defence.

    You James Sullivan stand committed to the common gaol at Sydney until the next sessions of Gaol Delivery at the Supreme Criminal Court. When an indictment will be found against you for the offence of which

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you are charged.
[Signed] MC O’Connell, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[On the depositions’ cover sheet is the following]

1855
Supreme Court Sittings
Gladstone No. 3
Continued Case
Regina
v.
James Sullivan
Depositions

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Notwithstanding the disgusting, & revolting nature of the case, I am of opinion, there would be no conviction on this evidence, and as the bringing of such cases under such circumstances or even where conviction is doubtful, does more harm than good, I do not deem it right to issue subpoenas for the witnesses. [Initial] JHP

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

13th February 1855
18092
Depositions
Queen
v.
James Sullivan
Gladstone

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1855
Supreme Court Sittings
Gladstone No. ‘16’
Regina
v.
James Sullivan
Depositions

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Trial” to Morpeth

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Empire, Fri 6 Apr 1855 2

LAW INTELLIGENCE.
————
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
Thursday, April 5, 1855.
(Before his Honor Mr Justice Therry.)

… 

GAOL DELIVERY

    A number of prisoners were then discharged, in consequence of the Crown declining to prosecute; and the following persons were remanded till next sessions, viz:—Thomas Porton, cattle stealing; Ebenezer Bransgrove and Frederick Alfred Poole, fraud; James Sullivan, unnatural offence; James Garrick, William Hall, and John Booth, conspiracy to extort money from their employers.

    The Court at its rising adjourned sine die.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 6 Apr 1855  3

LAW
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
THURSDAY

    Before Justice Therry  4

… 

GAOL DELIVERY.

    James Garrick, William Hall, and John Booth, indicted for conspiring to raise wages, James Sullivan for an unnatural offence, Thomas Porton for cattle stealing, and Ebenezer Bransgrove and Frederick Alfred Poole for fraudulent insolvency, were all remanded until next sittings, bail in most cases being allowed. The remainder of the prisoners on the calendar were discharged.

    The Court adjourned sine die.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 13 Jun 1855 5

LAW
Supreme Court.– Wednesday.

    CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
    WEDNESDAY.

    Before Mr Justice Therry.

GAOL DELIVERY.

    James Sullivan, and Mary Silk, under committal for different offences, were discharged by proclamation.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Empire, Thu 14 Jun 1855  6

LAW INTELLIGENCE.
 ————
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13.
(Before his Honor Mr Justice Therry.)

GAOL DELIVERY

   James Sullivan, committed at Port Curtis, and Mary Silk, at Parramatta, were discharged by proclamation.

 


1  SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6389], Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, Gladstone, 1855, No. 3. Emphasis added.

2  Empire, Fri 6 Apr 1855, p. 4. Emphasis added.

3  The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 6 Apr 1855, p. 4. Emphasis added.

4  Justice R Therry’s notebooks could not be located at SRNSW.

5  The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 13 Jun 1855, p.4. Emphasis added.

6  Empire, Thu 14 Jun 1855, p.4. Emphasis added.