The Argus, Wed 19 Apr 1854
(From our own correspondent.)
Forest Creek, 14th April, 1854.
The Circuit Court at Castlemaine was opened on Monday last, the 10th inst, at ten o’clock am, by His Honor Justice Williams, who arrived the evening before. During the sittings, which terminated before noon yesterday, the following persons were convicted:—
Thomas Porter, for stealing a one-pound note from the bar of the Criterion Hotel, Castlemaine, was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, with hard labor.
James Trussell, having pleaded guilty to the charge of horse-stealing, was sentenced to five years’ hard labor on the roads.
Thomas Jackson, John Lake, and Allan Folkes for robbing a store at Mount Moliagul of flour, tea, sugar, &c, seven years each on the roads.
John Allison, for a grievous assault at Avoca Diggings, three years on the roads.
John Holmes, William Stevens, and and [sic] Thomas Moloney, for sticking up and robbing George Smith, a refreshment-tent keeper, at the junction of Barker’s Creek, were severally sentenced to twelve years on the roads, the two first in irons.
William Johnston, for stealing a keg of beer, the property of Thomas Newkam, at Tarrengower, under pretence of taking it by the Commissioner’s order, got two years’ imprisonment, with hard labor.
Richard Bowyers, for horse-stealing, five years on the roads.
John Thomas Morgan, for robbery in a tent, five years on the roads.
Anne Willmot, a woman of ill-fame, for robbery of gold, five years.
John Williams, for stealing oats, sentenced to five years on the roads.
Thomas Hayes, for stealing pistols and other articles, six years on the roads.
Alexander M Lachlan, for personating a licensed gold-digger, two months’ imprisonment with hard labor.
William Randall, for stealing washing-stuff, five years.
Frederick Mortimer, for stealing gold, five years.
Mary Glossop, for robbery from the person at Forest Creek, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, with hard labor.
Thomas Coleman, for stabbing his mate, three years on the roads.
James Smith, for stealing a gold specimen of about 16 ozs weight, at Mount Moliagul, five years.
James Kelly pleaded guilty to stealing a bunch of keys from a tent; sentenced to seven years on the roads.
Henry Hancock, for stealing a watch at Forest Creek, seven years.
Thomas Williams, a hunchbacked, diminutive man, who headed a gang of associates whilst contined [sic] in gaol, awaiting trial, was sentenced to three years on the roads for stealing a carpet-bag. He has only just completed his former sentence of ten years.
Joseph Venslues, stealing a tent, twelve months’ imprisonment, with hard labor.
Richard Dawes having pleaded guilty to a charge of horse-stealing, was sentenced to five years.
Charles Thompson, twelve months, for stealing bed-clothes and wearing apparel.
Henry Rainbridge, for stealing a gold ring, at the Albert Hotel, Castlemaine, two years on the roads.
James Grinder, for horse-stealing at Tarrengower, six years.
Thomas Hayes, [sic] death recorded for an unnatural crime.
David Magee, charged with the wilful murder of a man named McCarthy, at the Avoca, on the 14th February last, pleaded not guilty. He was defended by Mr Ireland. It appeared from the evidence that prisoner entertained feelings of ill-will towards the deceased, and made use of the expression, that, “had not the witness John James Mayne (alias Long Jim), been present, he would have given deceased something to settle him,” on the night previous to the murder; that deceased was last seen alive in company with the prisoner; and that prisoner’s shirt was stained with blood; and, when arrested, he could give no account of himself during the time in which the murder was committed. The deceased’s body was discovered in the fire, burning, by some screams having been heard in the direction of the hut where the prisoner and deceased resided. Whether those screams occurred during the struggle which must have ensued between them (deceased being very much bruised and beaten, and having received a punctured wound, as if from sharp-pointed instrument), or after being thrown into the fire before life was extinct, did not transpire. There was no evidence for the defence. Mr Ireland addressed the jury at considerable length, in his usual style, but to no effect,—a verdict of wilful murder being returned. Sentence: Death, without the slightest hope of mercy.
INQUESTS —An inquest was held on the 10th instant, at Fryer’s Creek, on the body of Margaret Tetten, by Dr Howlett, coroner. From the evidence, it appeared deceased had been an habitual drunkard for the last twelve years, having several times during that period suffered from delirium tremens; that on the evening of her decease she was drinking with her husband and his mates, and was rather tipsy; deceased and her husband went to bed together, each of them having taken a smoke previous to going to sleep. In the course of the night the husband feeling thirsty, endeavored [sic] to awake his wife to procure him a drink of water, and found her a corpse. Verdict, “Found dead.” Another inquest was held the same day, at Fryer’s Creek, on the body of Daniel Rogers. The evidence shewed that deceased had been visiting a friend, with whom he drank some liquor. Having parted from him rather tipsy, that deceased, making a short cut to his own tent, crossed the creek, followed by his friend at some distance, on the look-out lest any accident might befal him, when suddenly he disappeared from his view. Search was immediately made [some text illegible] a hat was discovered floating in a water-hole, which led to finding the body in the same place. Verdict, “Found drowned.” there are two other inquests adjourned for to-morrow, to-day being a holiday by law established.
CASTLEMAINE PETTY SESSIONS —There was no business of importance transacted at Court this week, with the exception of a batch of diggers, numbering 21, pulled up on Tuesday last for not being duly licensed. Mr Fitzgerald, solicitor, appeared, generally, for their defence, who shewed the Magistrates the arrest was illegal, inasmuch as there was no Commissioner present at the time of their capture, being taken by Sergeant Kenyon, and a large body of the posse comitatus. They were consequently discharged.
Twenty-six prisoners left Castlemaine to-day for Melbourne, after the late Circuit Court, being escorted by a body of the mounted police force under the command of the District Inspector, Mr Foster; and there are ten more remanded for the next sittings, two of whom are out on bail.
1 The Argus, Wed 19 Apr 1854, p. 4. Emphasis added.