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1857, Edward Fassett - Unfit For Publication
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 18 Apr 1857 1

CENTRAL POLICE COURT.
FRIDAY

    Before Mr [David] Forbes, [PM]. Mr [David Charles Frederick] Scott, Mr [AW] McArthur, and Mr Egan.

    Edward Fossett [aka Fassett], aged 60, was charged with having attempted to commit an unnatural offence with a lad of fifteen years of age. The prosecutor gave his evidence, and prisoner was committed for trial at the Central Criminal Court. The prosecutor is not of sufficient age to enter into a bond for his appearance to give evidence at the trial, and does not appear to have in the country a friend whom he can ask to become bound for him. Under these circumstances he was detained in custody until the law officers of the Crown shall have advised in the matter.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Depositions for Edward Fassett 3 Aug 1857 Sydney trial 2

Recognizance to give Evidence.

New South Wales, City of Sydney
TO WIT.                                      }

Be it remembered, that on the seventeenth day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven Alexander Miller a Constable of the Sydney Police Force personally came before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the Colony of New South Wales, and acknowledged himself to owe our Sovereign Lady the Queen the sum of 

FORTY POUNDS

of good an lawful money of Great Britain, to be made and levied of his goods and chattels, lands and tenements, to the use of our said Lady the Queen, her Heirs and Successors, if he the said before mentioned person shall fail in the condition indorsed.
Taken and acknowledged the day and year first above mentioned, at Sydney, in the said Colony, before me,
[Signed] David Forbes, PM.

    The condition of the within written Recognizance is such, that whereas Edward Fossett was this day charged before David Forbes Esquire, a Justice of the Peace for the said Colony, with attempting to commit an unnatural offence
If therefore, he the said before mentioned person shall appear at the next Court of Gaol Delivery, to be holden at Sydney, in and for the Colony of New South Wales, on Monday, the first day of June next, at nine of the clock in the forenoon, and then and there give such evidence as he knoweth upon an information to be then and there preferred against the said Edward Fossett for the offence aforesaid, to the jurors who shall pass upon the trial of the said Edward Fossett then the said Recognizance to be void, or else to stand in full force and virtue.
[Signed] David Forbes, PM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Recognizance to give Evidence.

New South Wales, City of Sydney
TO WIT.                                      }

Be it remembered, that on the twenty second day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven Edward Watkins of York Street in the city of Sydney in the Colony of New South Wales, seafaring lad, aged fifteen years, personally came before the undersigned, one of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the Colony of New South Wales, and acknowledged himself to owe our Sovereign Lady the Queen the sum of 

FORTY POUNDS,

of good and lawful money of Great Britain, to be made and levied of his goods and chattels, lands and tenements, to the use of our said Lady the Queen, her Heirs and Successors, if he the said before mentioned person shall fail in the condition indorsed.
Taken and acknowledged the day and year first above mentioned, at Sydney, in the said Colony, before me.
[Signed] David Forbes, PM.

The condition of the within written Recognizance is such, that whereas Edward Fossett was this day charged before David Forbes Esquire, a Justice of the Peace for the said Colony, with attempting to commit an unnatural crime. If therefore they the said before mentioned persons shall appear at the next Court of Gaol Delivery to be holden at Sydney, in and for the Colony of New South Wales, on Monday, the first day of June, next, at nine of the clock in the forenoon, and then and there give such evidence as they know, upon an information to be then and there preferred against the said Edward Fossett for the offence aforesaid, to the jurors who shall pass upon the trial of the said Edward Fossett then the said Recognizance to be void, or else to stand in full force and virtue.
[Signed] David Forbes, PM.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(M. 11 & 12 Vic., Cap. 42.)
Depositions of Witnesses.

New South Wales, City of Sydney
TO WIT.                                      }

The examination of Alexander Miller of the city of Sydney in the Colony of New South Wales, and Edward Watkins of Sydney in the said Colony, taken on oath this 16th day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven, at the City of Sydney in the Colony aforesaid, before the undersigned, two of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for the said Colony in the presence and hearing of Edward Fossett who is charged this day before us for that he, the said Edward Fossett on the fifteenth day of April last at Sydney, in the said Colony, did attempt to commit an unnatural offence on the person of the said Edward Watkins a boy of the age of fifteen years.
[Signed] DCF Scott, JP.

1

 

    This deponent Constable [Alexander] Miller on oath saith as follows: About ten minutes to twelve last night prisoner was given into my custody in York Street in the city of Sydney by a boy named Edward Watkins for attempting to commit an unnatural offence on his person. I told the prisoner the charge. He said

2

it was a made up thing. The ring produced I received from the boy in the prisoner’s presence. The boy stated the prisoner had given him the ring to allow him to commit the offence. The prisoner saw he gave the ring but the boy was to buy it from him.

[Signed] Alex Miller
Sworn Police Office Sydney 16 April 1857.
[Signed] AW Arthur, JP. DCF Scott, JP.

3

    This deponent Edward Watkins on oath saith as follows: I am fifteen years of age and reside at Mrs Brown’s in York Street Sydney. I know the prisoner. Last night about ten o’clock I saw him in George Street. He was standing at a public house. He asked me if I wanted to buy a gold ring. I told him I did. He asked me to go with him. I went with him down some alley off George Street. He again wanted me to buy the ring and before I could say anything he held me that

4

tight that I could not do anything. He put me against a cask. He undid his trousers and then undid mine. He exposed his person. He was in front of me and touched my thigh with his person and against my will he held me so tight that I could not move. He put his private part against my private part and wetted them. He made no attempt to turn my body around. He then gave me the ring. I got away from him and he tried to detain me.

[Signed] Edward Watkins.
Sworn Police of Sydney 16 April 1857.
[Signed] AW Arthur, JP. DCF Scott, JP.
    Remanded until 17 April.
[Signed] DCF Scott, JP. AW Arthur, JP.
    17 April committed for trial at next Criminal Court.
[Signed] DCF Scott, JP. AW Arthur, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(M. 11 & 12 Vic., Cap. 42.)
Statement of the Accused.

City of Sydney
TO WIT.           }

Edward Fossett stands charged before the undersigned, two of Her Majesty’s Justices of the Peace in and for the Sydney aforesaid, this sixteenth day of April in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven for that he the said Edward Fossett on the fifteenth day of April last at Sydney in the said Colony, did attempt to commit an unnatural offence on the person of one Edward Watkins a boy of the age of fifteen years. And the said charge being read to the said Edward Fossett and the witnesses for the prosecution, and being severally examined in his presence, the said Edward Fossett is now addressed by … – “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 to do so; but whatever you say will be taken down in writing, and may be given in evidence against you upon your trial;” whereupon the said Edward Fossett has nothing to say.
[Signed] DCF Scott, JP.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

[On the depositions’ cover sheet is the following]
1857
Supreme Court Sittings
Sydney No. 1.
Continued case
Regina
v.
Edward Tassett
Depositions

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1857
Supreme Court Sittings
Sydney No. 9
Regina
v.
Edward Fassett
Depositions
Indicted & remanded

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

16th April 1857
1244
Depositions
Queen
v. Edward Fossett
Attempting to commit an unnatural offence
Sydney Gaol Delivery
[Initialled] WMM AG
May 20/57
Sydney

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Justice JN Dickinson’s Notebook 3

34

Darlinghurst, August 3rd 1857.
Regina v Edward Fossett – Assault on Edward Watkins.
The Attorney General stated the case for the Crown.

    “Edward Watkins” is my name. I met prisoner the night in April last at corner of George Street. I was coming out of a public house. I was sober.

35

Prisoner said “do you want to buy a gold ring.” He had 5 on his finger – I said “yes.” Prisoner said “come up an alley, so that nothing nobody shall see.” I wen went to the alley – prisoner showed me the ring. As I was pulling out a shilling – prisoner took down his trowsers – He undid my trowsers. I neither permitted nor resisted. He put his private parts by mine. It was not done against my will. I did not know he was going to do it. Prisoner held me round the waist – I tried to get away – prisoner prevented me.

36

I kept the ring afterwards & gave it to the constable. I gave prisoner in charge ¼ hour afterwards, the 1st constable I saw.

    Cross-examined. I gave prisoner in charge because 2 other men told me to do so. I told the 2 men to give him in what prisoner had done. They told me to give prisoner in charge. I am now under sentence for stealing.

    Alexander Miller. Constable. I took prisoner on the night. Boy gave him in charge. 2 men took part in the

37

matter. Boy gave me this ring – one on prisoner’s finger – this in his pocket. Prisoner was by when boy charged him with attempting to commit s----y. Prisoner denied the charge.

Verdict Guilty.
Imprisonment in Darlinghurst Gaol for 6 calendar months.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 4 Aug 1857 4

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
MONDAY

    Before Mr Justice Dickinson.

INDECENT ASSAULT.

    Edward Fossett was indicted for having, at Sydney, on the 1st June last, assaulted one Edward Watkins.

    The Attorney-General conducted the prosecution, the prisoner was undefended.

    The prisoner was an old man; the prosecutor was a lad of between fifteen and sixteen, who followed the sea, and who had been but a few days in the country at the time the offence named in the information was committed. The evidence of the lad was very distinct. The prisoner had offered to sell him a ring, and got him to go upon alley near the Crown and Kettle public-house, York-street. While the lad was trying the ring on, prisoner laid hold of him round the waist, and committed an assault. of which the details are unfit for publication. Watkins who, although not exactly drunk, was, it would appear, a little the worse for liquor, neither assented nor resisted, but immediately afterwards told two men near the spot what had occurred, and, on a constable coming up, gave the prisoner in charge. Watkins admitted that he was now under sentence of six months’ imprisonment for stealing a watch, to which charge he had pleaded guilty. There appeared no reason, however, to doubt the truth of his testimony as to the prisoner’s conduct. The ring was one of the most common kind, not worth more than a few pence. Two other rings of the same kind were found with the prisoner.

    The prisoner offered no defence, beyond the usual asseverations of innocence, and an insinuation, somewhat contradictory of these asseverations, that the prosecutor would not have given him in charge but for the interference of the two men already alluded to. In other words, that he was a consenting party.

    His Honor told the jury, in summing up, that, whether Watkins assented or not was a question of no moment, except as it might, in the opinion of the jury, affect his credibility.

    The jury having found the prisoner guilty, his Honor passed upon him a sentence of six months’ imprisonment, remarking that, had he been indicted for an assault with intent, &c., instead of for common assault, he would have received the full term of punishment allowed by law.

    It appeared by a report subsequently handed in from the governor of the gaol, that Fossett had already been imprisoned five times under as many different sentences. For what offences did not appear.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer, Sat 8 Aug 1857 5

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
———◦———
MONDAY, AUGUST 3.
(Before the Chief Justice.)

(Before Mr Justice Dickinson.)

UNNATURAL CRIME.—Edward Fawcett [sic] was arraigned for that he did on the 15th or 16th of April last, assault one Edward Watkins, with intent to commit an unnatural crime. Verdict, guilty; sentence, 6 months imprisonment in Darlinghurst gaol.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 8 Aug 1857 6

CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
————
(Abridged from the SM Herald.)
———
MONDAY.
———
(Before Mr Justice Dickinson.)
———

    Edward Fossett was indicted for having assaulted Edward Watkins, at Sydney, on the 1st June. He was found guilty, and from the evidence it appeared that the assault was an indecent one. Under the indictment for common assault, however, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. He was an old offender.


1  The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 18 Apr 1857, p. [6.].

2  SRNSW: NRS880, [9/6405], Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, Sydney, 1857, No. 1. Emphasis added.

3  SRNSW: NRS5862, [2/3119], Judiciary, JN Dickinson, J. Notebooks Criminal Causes, 1844-60, pp. 34-7. Emphasis added.

4  The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 4 Aug 1857, p. [9.

5  Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer, Sat 8 Aug 1857, p. 3.

6  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 8 Aug 1857, p. 6.