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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 19 Jan 1867 1

LOCAL NEWS.

...
    UNNATURAL OFFENCE.—A boy of fifteen years of age, named Edward Davidson, was brought up on remand before the bench at West Maitland, on Thursday, under the charge of committing an unnatural offence, at Windermere, on Monday last. Constable Grennan swore that he saw the prisoner with a cart and mare at the river at Windermere. From what he saw the prisoner doing, and which is unfit to be described, he went and spoke to him, when the boy said he would never do such a thing again if he would let him go. He made this remark to the constable a second time, in the hearing of John Daveren, a farmer. The bench committed prisoner to take his trial at the next Maitland Circuit Court. He was admitted to bail, in two sureties of ,100 each.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 25 Apr 1867 2

MAITLAND CIRCUIT COURT.

    This court opened on Tuesday morning, before his Honor Sir Alfred Stephen, Chief Justice. A proclamation against vice and immorality was read by the Judge's Associate, Mr Cecil Stephen. The barristers in attendance were the Solicitor-General (Mr RM Isaacs), Messrs J Blake, Windeyer, R Wisdom, P Healey, E Bennett, and C Pilcher.
...

BESTIALITY.

    Edward Davidson failed to appear to take his trial on a charge of bestiality. His recognizances were ordered to be estreated, and a bench warrant was ordered to issue for his apprehension.
...

BESTIALITY.

    Edward Davidson, who on Tuesday failed to appear to take his trial on the charge of committing an unnatural offence upon a mare at Windermere on the 14th January, now appeared and was indicted for the offence.

    The prisoner pleaded not guilty. Mr Windeyer, instructed by Mr Thompson, voluntarily defended the case, it being stated that the prisoner had no friends.
The witnesses examined were Constable Grennan and John Darvall.

    The Solicitor-General stated the case, remarking that if the jury though that only an attempt had been by the prisoner to commit the crime it was competent for them to bring in a verdict to that effect.

    The prisoner was a boy of apparently about fourteen years of age. On the 14th of February he was seen by Constable Grennan in an indecent position with a mare at the river at Windermere. He went up to him, spoke to him, and took him into custody. Prisoner said that it was his first time, and he would never do it again. This he said in the hearing of a third party. He was crying at the time. An examination of the prisoner's person led the constable to believe that the offence with which he charged the prisoner had been committed by him. Prisoner, it appeared, had been in Mr Green's employ for some time previously, he having before been in a destitute asylum.

    Mr Windeyer addressed the jury on behalf of the prisoner, contending that there was no proof that he was fourteen years of age. The offence could not in law be committed by one under that age.

    The Solicitor-General replied, arguing that the onus of showing the age of the prisoner rested with Mr Windeyer.

    His Honor summed up.

    The jury retired, and after deliberating a few minutes, returned a verdict of guilty of the attempt to commit the offence with which he was charged, and recommended the prisoner to mercy.

    Mr P Green gave the prisoner a good character. He had been in his service for three years.

    His Honor remanded the prisoner for sentence.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 27 Apr 1867 3

MAITLAND CIRCUIT COURT.
(Before his Honor Sir A Stephen, CJ.)
THURSDAY, APRIL 25.

    This Court opened this morning at ten o'clock.
...

FRIDAY, APRIL 26.

...

SENTENCE.

    Edward Davidson, the boy who on Wednesday was found guilty of bestiality, was brought up and sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment in Darlinghurst gaol, four days in each month to be spent by him [self] in solitary confinement.

    On the calling of a new jury on Thursday, FM Doyle and WJ Dangar did not answer to their names. An excuse was given for Mr Doyle, which was considered satisfactory by his Honor. Mr Dangar was fined ,5, which his Honor intimated would not be enforced were a sufficient reason given by Mr Dangar for his absence.


1  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 19 Jan 1867, p. 4. Emphasis added.

2  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 25 Apr 1867, pp. 2, 3. Emphasis added.

3  The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Sat 27 Apr 1867, p. 4.