The Bathurst Times, Sat 27 Apr 1878 1
BATHURST CIRCUIT COURT.
THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1878.
(Before his Honour Mr Justice Fawcett.)
His Honor took his seat on the Bench precisely at 10 am.
Judge’s Associate: Mr Mackinson.
Mr B Lee, jun., Police Magistrate, represented the Sheriff.
Barristers present: Mr Davis (Crown Prosecutor), Sir George Innes, Mr D Buchanan, Mr Backhouse, Mr O’Connor, Mr Smythe.
Attorneys: Mr JN McIntosh, Mr Hellyor, Mr W Morgan, Mr A West, Mr L Heydon, Mr AG Thompson, Mr J McPhillamy, and Mr Dodd of Carcoar.
The Judge’s Associate read the usual proclamation against vice and immorality.
William Prior [aka William Pryor] a mere boy, stood indicted on this charged, alleged to have been committed, [bestiality with a mare ], at Cowra.
Prisoner pleaded not guilty and was defended by Sir George Innes, instructed by Mr John MacPhillamy junr.
Sergeant Garvin had arrested the boy, to whom he had related the charge.
In Cross-examination by Sir George Innes the constable gave the youth an excellent character.
William Burt deposed to knowing prisoner, and related what he knew of the case.
Rosanna Burt wife of the last witness corroborated her husband’s in the main, with exception that she would not undertake to swear that she could identify the prisoner as the boy she saw at the time referred to; though she knew him to be the same boy she saw at the Cowra Police Office.
For the defence Sir George Innes submitted that the capital charge must be abandoned on account of the boy being under the age of 14 on the date of the charge: and the certificate of the boy’s birth was produced.
Honora Prior, mother of prisoner, and Agnes O’Regan the grandmother, were also called, and deposed as to the correctness of the certificate of birth. The date of the birth of the boy was given as 20th March, 1864. The offence was alleged in the indictment to have been committed on the 8th February last; and therefore the boy was under the age of 14 on the day of the allegation.
Sir George Innes addressed the court, and after His Honour had summed up, the jury, without leaving the box, acquitted the prisoner.
1 The Bathurst Times, Sat 27 Apr 1878, p. 2. Emphasis added.