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Empire, Wed 26 Apr 1871 1

(Before the Mayor, Captain Scott, Messrs Macintosh,
Kippax, and Evans.)

    George Foster was brought before the court under warrant, charged with threatening to accuse one William Mansfield with committing an indecent assault upon him, the said George Foster, with the view to extort a sum of money from the said William Mansfield. Prosecution’s evidence was to the effect that defendant went to prosecutor’s house and tried to extort money by a threat that he would prefer an infamous charge against him.

    A bricklayer, named Joseph Evans, was present when defendant came. Prosecutor at the time defendant said he would swear the offence against him, was in the verandah. There was not a word of truth in Foster’s charge.—

    To Mr Gannon: The first time I saw him was on the morning of the 20th, at about a quarter to 7 o’clock. The way I fix the time is by the labourers going to work at 7 in the morning. I had been as far as “Phillip’s” sale room the night before. I frequently go into a public-house at the corner of Elizabeth and King streets. I went in there with a young man on the previous Tuesday, the 18th, I go in every day. I will swear that I did not go into that public house with defendant on Tuesday, the 18th. Defendant did threaten him that he would make the charge unless prosecutor would “sling” some money. He first asked for, L5, and then reduced it to 10s, at the same time stating that he was an inmate of the “Refuge,” and must have some money to go into the country.—

    Mr Roberts, for the complainant, cited from “Roscoe” of 1868 a case of exactly similar character, after which he explained the nature of the case to their worships, Messrs Macintosh and Kippax. Captain Scott having become attacked with illness was obliged to leave the case in the hands of the other two magistrates.—

    By Mr Gannon: Sergeant Sadler told me at the police station a few minutes before him to prefer a charge against some one. He identified Foster as being the man who was at his house. A policeman told him he was the man. The warrant was taken out at 10 o’clock, but he knew his name at 8 o’clock, as he saw him in the station-house yard, and sergeant Sadler told him his name was either Chambers or Foster, and said that some man met him on the racecourse and attempted an offence against law and nature. Defendant told him that he was staying at the Refuge, and he wanted money, and he must have it. The second time he came he asked for 10s and he would say nothing more. He saw three policemen on the Wednesday night. Their names are Goldrick, Butler, and Willmott. He spoke to them together. He told sergeant Goldrick that a man had knocked at the door, and made him very much alarmed, as he had lost several things. Sergeant Goldrick advised him to get a warrant, but as he did not know the man, he said he could not. He did not tell sergeant Goldrick that a man had been there to extort money from him. He did not say that a man had been to his place to accuse him of an unnatural offence. On Wednesday night defendant knocked at his door, and asked for Mrs Barrett. Plaintiff replied that she did not live there, and then prisoner sought an interview with complainant, remarking that he was hard up, and wanted a few shillings.—This case was postponed. The same parties are involved in another case.

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Empire, Thu 27 Apr 1871 2

(Before the Mayor, and Messrs Hughes, Curran,
Renwick, Kippax, and Macintosh.)


    George Foster, on remand, was brought before the court charged with threatening to accuse one William Mansfield with committing an indecent assault upon him, George Foster, with a view to extort a sum of money from the said complainant. For the prosecution John Evans, a bricklayer, residing in Botany-street, was called, and said I never saw Mansfield before I went to work at Thornton’s-buildings, next door to Mansfield’s. I was there last Thursday morning about a quarter to 7. I saw prisoner come there. Prosecutor was in the verandah. Prisoner said “Will you settle that affair?” Mansfield said “Are you the man who was here last night?” He said “Yes.” Mansfield said “Go away, I don’t know you?” Prisoner said “Give me L5 to go up the country, and I’ll say no more about it.” Mansfield said to me “Do you know him?” I said “No.” I told Mansfield to get a constable. I heard Mansfield say “Go away you blackguard, I don’t know you.” Prisoner went away for about ten minutes. He came back and said, “Sling me 10s and I will go away and say no more about it.” He said he would give him till 9 o’clock to consider, if not he would lay an information for an indecent assault. He then went away. I never saw the prisoner before that morning.—

    By Mr Gannon: I looked at the clock at the corner public-house. I put my basket on the brick stack, about five yards away from Mansfield’s entrance. I stopped in the passage between the two houses we were building all the time.—It was a quarter to 7 when he passed the clock at the corner of Elizabeth and King streets. He had a basket in his hand, and laid it down. Witness stayed at Mansfield’s house during his absence. Mansfield was in the verandah all the time the conversation was going on. Mansfield looked around the verandah wall, and saw defendant there. Witness heard defendant ask for L5, and persuaded Mansfield to get a constable. He thought defendant had no right to ask for L5. When defendant came back a second time witness was preparing for work. He took off his coat. It took him about three minutes to take it off, and then he had to dust it, and put it on the “brickstand.” Witness did not hear defendant say he lived at the “City Refuge,” but he heard him say, “Money he wanted, and money he must have.” Has had conversation with complainant, but not about the case. The railing of the verandah is not above the height of the stature of the defendant. He could lean his elbow on the railing. It was at the second interview with Mansfield that defendant threatened the charge. Mansfield called defendant a blackguard at the first interview. Witness thought he heard all that took place. What Mr Mansfield swore in one part of his evidence is incorrect, as far as witness knew. He has not been inside Mansfield’s house since he has occupied it. He has been subpœnaed on the case. He went to Mansfield to ask for money for attending the court. His “boss” takes that. Ten shillings a day is the charge for bricklayers. Witness termed this money “wages.” He had given a written statement. It was given to a young man at Mr Robert’s office. When witness was sitting down round the corner he was sitting on two bricks. He did not consider himself exactly another brick. He knows what an indecent assault is, and thought the threat of defendant very remarkable.

    By the bench: There was no mention where the assault took place. Defendant never made allusion whether it was on the racecourse or elsewhere. This closed the case for the prosecution. The defence was withheld till after the conclusion of the cross-case.

    William Mansfield was charged by George Foster with committing an indecent assault on him, on the 19th instant. Mr F Gannon for the prosecution, and Mr W Roberts for the defence.

    George Foster, residing in Kent-street, said: In the afternoon of the 19th instant I was sitting on a seat in the park, at the northern end. I am a sawyer, lately come from Port Stephens. Prisoner came up to me, and said “Good evening.” I returned his salute. He said “Are you out of employment?” I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “How long have you been out?” I said, “About two months.” I told him I was a sawyer, and had come from Port Stephens about five or six months ago. He asked me to have a glass of ale, but I declined, saying I was a teetotaller, and had not drunk anything for the last two years. He then asked me to have a drink of gingerbeer. I said no at first; but at last, at his urgent solicitations, I did so. He took me to the Three Tuns, corner of King and Elizabeth streets. I had a drink of gingerbeer and cloves, and he had pale brandy. A barmaid served us. I would know her again. (Prosecutor here recognized the girl.) We were only there about two minutes. He said “Come, and I’ll show you my place.” I said “Very well.” I went with him to his place in Elizabeth-street. We went into the further back room, the door being in a line with the front door. We went past two rooms before we got to that one. The door was locked. He asked me to come inside, and I did so. I took a seat at his request. He said, “What do you think of my place?” I said it was a very nice little place. He said, “Could you meet me here to-morrow morning a little before or at 6 o’clock?” I said I would. I then left. I saw him a little before 6 on the following morning, Wednesday, the 19th instant. I was in the act of turning the handle of the gate, when I saw Mansfield open the door of the house. He said, “You are here to the appointed time.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Step inside,” and I did so. He shut the door afterwards. He said come along here, and we went into the same room we were in on the day before. He sat himself on the bed. The bed was on the floor, on the right hand side as I went in. He said, “Take a seat.” I went to catch hold of a chair to sit down, when he said, “Not there, here,” patting his hand on the bed. I went to sit down. (Here witness described the nature of the offence.) We wrestled for about one minute. I told him if he did not give me an explanation of what he had done, I’ll tell the police. I went away then. I went to him the same evening, about 8 o’clock. I knocked at the door, and he came out. I said, “Can I speak to you for a moment or two?” He said, “No; there is a gentleman inside.” He said he would ee me at the same place and time as he had done on Tuesday. I saw him on Thursday morning, a little after 6. I saw prisoner inside, in the passage of his house. I said, “I have got your name, Mr Mansfield; I want an explanation of your conduct on Wednesday morning?” I found out his name from the barmaid on Wednesday afternoon. He said, “I don’t know you.” He said, “My character is too well known about Sydney for you to do anything to me.” I said, “Are you not sorry for what you’ve done?” He said, “No,” at the same time pulling a shilling out of his pocket, saying, “Go and get your breakfast with it.” I then went away, saying, “I’m going to give information to the police.” I did not take the shilling. He said, when I asked him for an explanation on Wednesday morning, “Tut, tut, there was a young man here last night, about 9 o’clock, and I let him go.” On Thursday morning, after I left him, I went straight to the station-house, and saw sergeant Sadler. It was before 8 o’clock. I made a complaint. I was told to return again at half-past 9, at which time I went. I made a complaint to sergeant Waters. While I was waiting about the court I was arrested on the former charge. Evans was not present at any of the interviews with prisoner and myself. I never saw him there. I was never in that room in prisoner’s house till he took me in. I never asked prisoner for any money. The bed was on the floor.—

    By the Bench: On the Thursday morning that I gave information to your worship, I went from King-street to prisoner’s house.—

    By Mr Gannon: I never leaned on the rails. I may have touched them.—

    To Mr Roberts: I came from Port Stephens to Sydney, but had previously ben engaged in this city. I am a sawyer by trade, but have worked as a labourer in a coal-yard. I have been working on board steamboats, and have been out of work two months; during the time I obtained my living from my sister. She keeps a fruit shop in Sussex-street. My sister has kept me ever since I came to Sydney; I mean only since the 2nd of April. There was no agreement as to the board, &c. I sent L3 12s 6d from Post Stephens. I gave her L5 when I came up some five or six months ago, L2 7s 6d whilst working on board the steamers. I had L20 exclusive of the L11. I had not paid anything to my sister out of the L20 for board. It did not occur to me that I was foolish in giving L2 7s 6d to my sister for board, as she had cash of mine in hand. I was about twelve weeks in Sydney before I gave her the money, and the L11 was insufficient for my expenses accrued with my sister; for the last fortnight I have had 25s. I was in want of money, and I borrowed 20s from a Mr Fletcher. I have spent that money. On the 2nd of April I had a row with my sister, and told her I was going to Port Stephens. I had reasons for not going. Since I left my sister I have lived at my sister-in-law’s place. I have 12s 6d now I borrowed I have been to the Night Refuge twice. I saw a person in the street, and he gave me a ticket. I slept there one night with a friend, more to satisfy my curiosity than anything else. I wanted to satisfy myself about the beds.—At this stage of the proceedings, both cases were further adjourned till Monday next.

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Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 29 Apr 1871 3


    A man named George Foster has been charged at the central police court with endeavouring to extort money from one William Mansfield, by threatening to accuse him of an indecent assault. He has been remanded.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 2 May 1871 4


BEFORE the Mayor and the Police Magistrate, with Messrs Pearce, Spence, Murphy, Vickery, Kippax, and Macintosh.

    The remainder of the day (from 11 to 6) Messrs Macintosh and Kippax were engaged in investigating the two following cases, of each of which is given the substance of the prosecutor’s evidence. Mansfield was attended by Mr Roberts; Foster by Mr Gannon.

    George Foster was charged by William Mansfield with having on the 24th April, with a view to extort money, threatened to accuse him of having committed an indecent assault. William Mansfield, of Elizabeth-street, dealer, deposed that about a quarter before 7 o’clock in the morning of the 20th April he was sweeping the verandah of his house when the prisoner, whom he had never seen before, bade him “good morning,” and said, “Have you given that consideration?” witness said, “What ?” and prisoner said, “I called here last night; I hear that yo have plenty of money, and I am very hard up; I am living at the Refuge; money I want, money I must have, and unless you give me some money I will expose you all over Sydney;” witness declared his ignorance of what prisoner said, “If you sling me a £5 note I will go into the country, and say no more about it, and unless you do I will prefer a charge of indecent assault against you, and that will be worse to you than the money;” witness replied, “Go away, you blackguard, how dare you speak to me in that way,” and prisoner went away, but soon came back, and said, “If you sling me 10s I will say no more about it;” witness gave a reply similar to the first, and prisoner went away; witness never saw prisoner until that morning, but had been informed that such a person called at the house on the previous night; about 10 o’clock that forenoon, 20th April, witness came to this Court and procured a warrant for prisoner’s apprehension for attempting to extort money, and subsequently—but before leaving the office—was served with a summons to answer prisoner’s charge of having assaulted him with intent to commit an unnatural offence. On cross-examination by Mr Gannon, Mansfield said that when he came for the warrant he saw prisoner in the Police Court yard, and that when he told sergeant Saddler his business, Saddler told him that Foster had given some information to the police. So much for the first case. In the next,

    William Mansfield was charged by George Foster with having on the 19th April, assaulted him with intent to commit an unnatural crime. Prosecutor deposed that about 4 pm of Tuesday, the 18th April, he was sitting on one of the benches in Hyde Park, when the prisoner came up an entered into conversation, and after a while invited him to take a glass of ale, which witness declined, being a teetotaler, [sic] but afterwards accepted his offer of a glass of gingerbeer, for which purpose the prisoner took him to the Three Tuns public-house, at the corner of King-street and Elizabeth-street; the barmaid (the female in Court) served them; he (witness) had gingerbeer and cloves, and prisoner took brandy; prisoner then said, “Come and I will let you see my place,” and took him to the first of two new buildings in Elizabeth-street; prisoner showed him to a back room, passing two others; before he left, prisoner asked him to come and see him at 6 o’clock the next (Wednesday) morning, and a little before 6 the next morning witness went, and was in the act of turning the handle to open the verandah gate when prisoner opened the door of the house, let him in, and took him into the same room as before, and desired him to take a seat on the bed; witness did so, and then prisoner committed the assault he witness complained of; witness demanded an explanation o his conduct, and said that he would complain to the police; about 8 o’clock in the evening of the same day he went to prisoner’s house, and was met by him at the door; prisoner said that he had a gentleman with him, desired witness to meet him at the place of their first interview, and at the same time of the day, and shut the door in his face; on Thursday morning, the 20th, he went to prisoner’s house about 6 o’clock; the outer gate was locked, but the door was open and prisoner was in the passage; witness then, having ascertained prisoner’s name by inquiring of the barmaid at the Three Tuns, said, “Mr Mansfield, I want to know if you are going to give me an explanation of your conduct on Wednesday morning; prisoner said that he did not know him (witness), and that his character was too well known about Sydney for him to do him any harm, and, at the same time, tossed a shilling, which witness did not take up; witness told him that he would complain to the police, and between 7 and 8 o’clock, saw sergeant Saddler, at the station-house, on the subject; Saddler told him to see a magistrate at the Police Office at half-past 9 o’clock, and at that hour was in attendance for that purpose; did not at any time ask Mansfield for any money.

    Mr Macintosh said that, in the opinion of the Bench, the case against Mansfield had broken down; and, therefore, having an opinion that a conviction would not ensue if he were committed, they discharged him from custody. With regard to the case against Foster, they would take until Thursday to consider their decision.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 4 May 1871 5


    A very bad case has been before the Central Police Court in Sydney for some time past. One George Foster was charged by William Mansfield with attempting to extort money by threatening to accuse him of having committed an abominable offence. After that Mansfield was charged by Foster with the commission of the offence. On Monday the bench decided that the case against Mansfield had broken down, and discharged him; but the decision in Foster’s case was reserved until Thursday.

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Empire, Fri 5 May 1871 6

(Before Messrs A Thompson, Love, and Penfold.)

(Before Messrs Kippax and Macintosh.)

    George Foster was committed to take his trial, on the evidence taken against him during various sittings, for having threatened to accuse one William Mansfield of attempting to commit an indecent assault upon him, with a view thereby to extort money from the said William Mansfield.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 5 May 1871 7


BEFORE the Mayor, with Messrs Love, Thompson, Penfold, Birrell, Smithers, Macintosh, and Kippax.

    The man George Foster, charged with having threatened William Mansfield that he would prosecute him for an indecent assault, with a view of extorting money from Mansfield, appeared before the Bench in pursuance of remand, and was committed to take his trial at the Quarter Sessions.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 9 May 1871 8


    Charge of Extorting Money.—At the Central Police Court on Thursday, George Foster was committed for trial on the charge of having endeavoured to extort money from William Mansfield by threatening to accuse him of having attempted an abominable offence.—Abridged from Evening News, May 4.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 10 Jun 1871 9


BEFORE Mr District Court Judge Dowling.


    George Foster was brought before the Court, charged “with threatening to accuse a man of an attempt to commit an infamous crime, with intent to extort money.” The information was laid by a man named Mansfield.

    Cross cases between the above mentioned parties had taken place at the Central Police Court. The prisoner had, it seemed, charged Mansfield with an attempt to commit an unnatural offence. Mansfield was was tried at the Police Court; and evidence having been heard, the Bench reserved its decision until they had heard a cross case preferred by Mansfield against the man Foster, for making the above charge against him with a view to extort money. The result was that the charge against Mansfield was dismissed, while Foster was fully committed to take his trial at the Quarter Sessions on the present charge—Mansfield affirming on his oath that Foster had told him that he would not prosecute the charge against him, if he paid him the sum of £5.

    Mr WJ Foster appeared for the Crown, and Mr Richard Driver appeared for the defence.

    For the prosecution the man [William] Mansfield and Joseph Evans gave evidence.

    Both were corss-examined at considerable length.

    For the defence, acting sub-inspector of police Waters was first called. This witness said that certain complaints (which had not come to anything) had been lodged against Mansfield as far back as a few years ago.

    Police-sergeant Sadleir [sic] was called for the defence, and gave evidence as to the nature of the information laid by the prisoner against Mansfield.

    Mr Driver addressed the jury at some considerable length, totally discrediting the evidence of Mansfield; and especially as to the demand of money under the threat, declared to have been made.

    The counsel for the Crown replied, and his Honor having very carefully summed up, recapitulating all the evidence, the jury returned a verdict of guilty.

    Remanded for sentence.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 12 Jun 1871 10


BEFORE Mr District Court Judge Dowling.


    George Foster, convicted of attempting to extort money by means of a threatening letter, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

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The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 13 Jun 1871 11


    At the Sydney Quarter Sessions, on Friday, George Foster was convicted of threatening to accuse a man of an abominable crime, for the purpose of extorting money; and on the following day was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour, in Darlinghurst gaol.


1     Empire, Wed 26 Apr 1871, p. 3. Emphasis added.

2     Empire, Thu 27 Apr 1871, p. 2. Emphasis added.

3     Australian Town and Country Journal, Sat 29 Apr 1871, p. 517.

4     The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 2 May 1871, p. 2. Emphasis added.

5     The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Thu 4 May 1871, p. 3.

6     Empire, Fri 5 May 1871, p. 2.

7     The Sydney Morning Herald, Fi 5 May 1871, p. 3.

8     The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 9 May 1871, p. 3.

9     The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 10 Jun 1871, p. 5. Emphasis added.

10   The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 12 Jun 1871, p. 3.

11   The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser, Tue 13 Jun 1871, p. 2.