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1862, John Smith - Unfit For Publication
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 7 Feb 1862 1


BEFORE the Police Magistrate, with Messrs Messrs [sic] Cook, Smithers, S Cohen, G Hill, Cullen Asher, and Burdekin.

    Four persons apprehended for drunkenness were discharged.

    Margaret Croyle was charged with stealing from the person. Peter Newlands deposed that on Monday night he met with prisoner and another woman, and accompanied them to two or three public-houses; soon after leaving the last into which he took them they both ran away, and then he discovered that his pockets had been picked of two leather purses, containing about £7 in money and a gold nugget weighing about a pennywright [sic]. Margaret Moyle deposed that on Monday night she saw prisoner give to a female named White the two purses produced. Prosecutor identified the purses as those of which he was robbed. Committed for trial.

    John O’Brien was brought before the Court charged with having, on the 7th January, at Bondi, stolen one pair of boots, one silk handkerchief, and one shirt, the goods of Patrick McKeogh. Prosecutor and prisoner were fellow-servants in the employ of one Dent, of Bondi, dairyman; and on the day named the prisoner clandestinely left the premises, and the articles named were missed from the hut occupied by the two men. The circumstance was reported to the police, and published in the Crime Report, on the authority of which prisoner was apprehended in the Hunter district and forwarded to Sydney. Prosecutor identified the boots worn by prisoner as those which had been stolen from the hut. The prisoner consented to be summarily tried; and being convicted of the offence, was sentenced to be imprisoned one month.

    Catherine Thurston, found guilty of having wilfully destroyed one table, two chairs, and some other articles, of the value of 40s, was ordered to pay that amount or to be imprisoned seven days.

    Ann Mulligan was brought before the Court charged with having, in July last year, stolen a quantity of gold and silver money, the property of Patrick Mulligan, of Botany Road, publican. The apprehending officer (Sergeant Irvine) deposed that he took the prisoner into custody between the hours of one and two yesterday afternoon, at prosecutor’s (her husband’s) public house, the business of which she was conducting; prosecutor was present when the warrant was handed to witness for execution, and accompanied him to the house; he pointed out the prisoner to him, saying “That is my wife—take her away;” prisoner has been in custody ever since; the warrant is signed by the police magistrate; from what he yesterday saw of Mulligan he believed him to be suffering under delirium caused by drink. Patrick Mulligan was called, but did not appear. A person in court having stated that a few minutes since he saw Mulligan in a neighbouring public-house, their worships sent a constable for him, who on his return reported that Mulligan had just gone away home in a cab. The prisoner was discharged from further custody. He solicitor, Mr Roberts, said that she would be compelled to apply to a Judge of the Supreme Court to enable her to carry on business independently of her husband.

    John Smith was committed to take his trial for having indecently assaulted a male child of the age of five or six years.

    Margaret Underwood, taken into custody between one and two o’clock this morning, as an idle and disorderly character, having neither fixed place of abode nor following any lawful means of subsistence, was sentenced to be imprisoned seven days.

    A case under the Deserted Wives Act, in which Bridget Sigerson complained that on the 19th December last William Sigerson, her husband, unlawfully deserted her, leaving her without means of support, and that although by his private fortune he is well able to afford her a maintenance he neglects and refuses to do so. The defendant denied that complainant is his wife. Complainant deposed that on the 13th August, 1840, she was married to defendant at St Mary’s Church, New Orleans, in Louisiana, one of the United States of America, and produced a copy of the certificate, verified by HBM Consul at New Orleans; she lived with him seven years and bore him one child, which is since deceased; defendant then called himself William Atkinson, and she consequently called herself and was known as Mrs Atkinson, in which name she arrived in this colony in November last; he left her in 1852 for California, with her consent, he promising to return in two years, which he did not fulfil; he got into trouble in New Orleans, but in compliance with his request she did not visit him while he was in gaol; from January 1852 until she came to this colony she resided with her brother; she went to defendant’s house in Castlereagh-street on the 19th December; asked to see Mr Sigerson, who came out of a parlour, but on seeing her he shut the door; afterwards she saw him come out of the same house, and on seeing her he turned back and shut the door. Elizabeth Tee deposed that on the Tuesday following, the 26th November, Sigerson told her that his wife had arrived from America, whom he had married under the name of Atkinson; that Sigerson is his proper name, and that he did not intend to acknowledge her if he could help it; he did not speak in disrespectful terms of her. Michael Fallen, brother of complainant, deposed that he knew Sigerson first at Connecticut, in 1838; in 1840 at New Orleans, Sigerson told him that he had married his sister, and he knew that they afterward lived together as man and wife, as he frequently called on them; knew him as William Atkinson; about three years after marriage Sigerson got into trouble; on the evening of the 26th November saw Sigerson in Castlereagh-street, in this city, and accosting him said “William, how do you do?” He replied “Have you come to this country to hunt me up?” or something to that effect, and they both went into the Barley Mow public-house. Bridget Sigerson, recalled, produced a daguerreotype likeness of Sigerson, which he gave her as a memento when he left her to go to California, in 1852. John Skinner deposed that until the last three weeks he acted as Sigerson’s agent in the collection of his rents, which brought him an income of about £20 a week. The investigation occupied a large portion of six days, so that the foregoing is but an outline of the evidence. To-day Mr Roberts, in reply, argued that the marriage is void, from not having been performed in a church or chapel where banns are published, and (complainant being then a minor) without the consent of her parents (her mother being alive) or any other person, but, on the contrary, against their consent; that there is no proof of residence in the place fifteen days before marriage, or that the parties, being British subjects, had resided there six months prior to the marriage, and no sufficient proof that the person who performed the alleged service was in holy orders, or a licensed clergyman; that there is not identity of defendant being the person married under the name of Atkinson; that there is no law to admit the certificate of a foreign notary as evidence in a British court of justice; that there is no proof that defendant is the person named in the said certificate; that the certificate of the British consul is not evidence; that there is no proof of desertion in this colony, or before the date of the complaint; that the justices have no jurisdiction, inasmuch as there is no law in this colony legalising marriages in foreign countries, and that foreign marriages are not recognised in British courts of justice without actual proof that they were solemnised according to the laws of those countries, of which, in this case, no evidence has been given; that the Act under which this complaint is framed does not apply to a case of this kind; that there is no proof of desertion at any time in this colony; that complainant having consented to defendant going to California for two years, after which he was not bound to receive or maintain her; that there is no proof that the party signing the certificate is a notary; that there is no proof where the original certificate of marriage is deposited, or in whose custody it is; that the evidence shows that complainant was no, nor is, without the means of support, and that she has failed to prove what amount would be sufficient for her maintenance and support; that there is no proof of any legal marriage, or that complainant is the legal wife of defendant, and that the relationship of man and wife does not exist. Their Worships overruled the objections, and made an order for the payment of £3 weekly for twelve months, with £5 for costs. Mr Roberts asked for a copy of the depositions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 21 Feb 1862 2


BEFORE Judge Cheeke.

    The Crown Prosecutor conducted the following cases:—
    John Smith was indicted for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime on a little boy, on the 5th February last.

Verdict, guilty; sentenced to be imprisoned in Parramatta gaol, with hard labour, for two years.


1  The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 7 Feb 1862, p. 5. Emphasis added.

2  The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 21 Feb 1862, p. 4. Emphasis added.