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1894, William Stevens - Unfit For Publication
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Barrier Miner, Thu 1 Feb 1894 1

Broken Hill courthouse, opened 6 Jan 1890. Photo: Peter de Waal
Broken Hill courthouse, opened 6 Jan 1890. Photo: Peter de Waal

POLICE COURT.
———

    William Stephens [aka William Stevens] was arraigned on three charges of having, on January 16, 19, and 31, exposed himself in a public place—to wit, the Central Reserve. Mr Justin McCarthy appeared for the defence. The cases were heard with closed doors, and after certain evidence had been taken an adjournment was granted until tomorrow at 2 pm, on the application of Mr McCarthy. The offences with which Stephens are charged are of a most disgusting nature.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barrier Miner, Fri 2 Feb 1894 2

ALLEGED INDECENT
BEHAVIOUR.
———

    In the Police Court this afternoon, Messrs AN Barnett, PM, HC Armstrong, and F Harrington, JsP, presiding, William Stevens was charged, on remand, with having, on the morning of the 16th instant, at about 8 o’clock, exposed himself indecently in the Central Reserve urinal. The evidence for the prosecution was concluded yesterday. To-day Mrs [Annie] Stevens, mother of the accused, deposed that at the time the offence was alleged to have been committed her son was employed in moving timber in the yard at her residence; he did not leave the premises that morning. John D Stevens,  father of the accused, and his daughter [Annie Stevens] also gave evidence in support of an alibi. The father of the accused stated that on Wednesday evening he was informed by the police that there were several complaints against his son, extending over a fortnight; yesterday morning he looked at the almanac to see what day of the month the Tuesday on which his son stayed at home was, so that he could screen him as to that day at least; he found that the date was the 16th instant.

    The second charge against the accused, of having committed a similar offence on the 19th instant, was then proceeded with.

ALLEGED INDECENT BEHAVIOR.
———
(Continued from Second Edition)

    Before the complainant was called upon to give evidence on the second charge, Mr McCarthy, who appeared for the defence, objected to the case being tried with closed doors, as the law did not allow such a course.

    The PM ordered the objection to be noted.

    Mr Carthy [sic] said it was the duty of the Bench to keep the court open in hearing a charge of this kind.

    The PM: I don’t want you to tell me my duty, Mr McCarthy. I have full power to order the court to be cleared. However, in deference to your request, I merely ask all decent people to leave while the young lady is giving evidence.

    Mr McCarthy: The Act gives no power to clear the court. The public have a right to be present.

    The PM: Reporters are present, and the public is safeguarded by their presence.

    All persons not engaged in the case then left the building.

    The complainant stated in evidence that she was not sure of the identity of the accused on the 16th instant, but when she saw him on the 19th she had no doubt who it was on both occasions.

    For the defence, accused [William Stevens] deposed that on the morning in question he went to the Big mine looking for work; he went first to the boiler-makers’ shop and then to the smelters; left home at about 8 o’clock and proceeded along Bromide-street; he did not see the complainant that day.

    Mrs [Annie] Stevens deposed that when her son went to the mines of a morning he usually turned into Bromide-street and followed the direct road; he would require to go a good deal out of his way to pass through the Central Reserve.

    Mr Stevens and his daughter also gave evidence.

    Sub-inspector Johnston stated that the complainant did not know the name of the accused when she gave information to him; neither did she say that she knew the man.

    Accused was then arraigned on a third charge of having exposed himself on Wednesday last.

    Constable Sutherlaad [sicSutherland], who arrested the accused, stated under cross-examination that he did not look to see whether there was any other man in the urinal; accused told him that there was no one else in the place.

    The complainant deposed that at the time when she alleged the third offence was committed she opened her parasol as a signal; her brother, aged 14, went for the police while she watched the urinal; she had no doubt that the accused was the man who committed all three offences.

    The case had not been concluded when the [Barrier] Miner went to press.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Broken Hill Age, Fri 2 Feb 1894 3

POLICE COURT.
——

    Mr AN Barnett, PM, and F Harrington, JP, presided in the Police Court on Thursday morning, Sub-inspector Johnston prosecuting.

Alleged Indecency.

    William Stephens was charged on three counts with having on January 16, 19, and 31 indecently exposed himself in a public place—to wit, the Central Reserve. Mr McCarthy appeared for the defence. The cases were heard with closed doors, and the evidence in the first case having been taken, the others were adjourned until 2 o’clock this afternoon.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barrier Miner, Sat 3 Feb 1894 4

ALLEGED INDECENT
BEHAVIOUR.
———

    In the Police Court this afternoon, Messrs AN Barnett, PM, HC Armstrong, and F Harrington, JsP, presiding. William Stevens was charged, on remand, with having, on the morning of the 16th instant, at about 8 o’clock, exposed himself indecently in the Central Reserve urinal. The evidence for the prosecution was concluded yesterday. To-day Mrs [Annie] Stevens, mother of the accused, deposed that at the time the offence was alleged to have been committed her son was employed in moving timber in the yard at her residence; he did not leave the premises that morning. John D Stevens,  father of the accused, and his daughter also gave evidence in support of an alibi. The father of the accused stated that on Wednesday evening he was informed by the police that there were several complaints against his son, extending over a fortnight; yesterday morning he looked at the almanac to see what day of the month the Tuesday on which his son stayed at home was, so that he could screen him for that day at least; he found that the date was the 16th instant.

    The second charge against the accused, of having committed a similar offence on the 19th instant, was then proceeded with.

    Before the complainant was called upon to give evidence on the second charge, Mr McCarthy, who appeared for the defence, objected to the case being tried with closed doors, as the law did not allow such a course.

    The PM ordered the objection to be noted.

    Mr Carthy [sic] said it was the duty of the Bench to keep the court open in hearing a charge of this kind.

    The PM: I don’t want you to tell me my duty, Mr McCarthy. I have full power to order the court to be cleared. However, in deference to your request, I merely ask all decent people to leave while the young lady is giving evidence.

    Mr McCarthy: The Act gives no power to clear the court. The public have a right to be present.

    The PM: Reporters are present, and the public is safeguarded by their presence.

    All persons not engaged in the case then left the building.

    The complainant stated in evidence that she was not sure of the identity of the accused on the 16th instant, but when she saw him on the 19th she had no doubt who it was on both occasions.

    For the defence, accused [William Stevens] deposed that on the morning in question he went to the Big mine looking for work; he went first to the boiler-makers’ shop and then to the smelters; left home at about 8 o’clock and proceeded along Bromide-street; he did not see the complainant that day.

    Mrs [Annie] Stevens deposed that when her son went to the mines of a morning he usually turned into Bromide-street and followed the direct road; he would require to go a good deal out of his way to pass through the Central Reserve.

    Mr Stevens and his daughter also gave evidence.

    Sub-inspector Johnston stated that the complainant did not know the name of the accused when she gave information to him; neither did she say that she knew the man.

    Accused was then arraigned on a third charge of having exposed himself on Wednesday last.

    Constable Sutherlaad [sic], who arrested the accused, stated under cross-examination that he did not look to see whether there was any other man in the urinal; accused told him that there was no one else in the place.

    The complainant deposed that at the time when she alleged the third offence was committed she opened her parasol as a signal; her brother, aged 14, went for the police while she watched the urinal; she had no doubt that the accused was the man who committed all three offences.

    The case had not been concluded when the [Barrier] Miner went to press.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Broken Hill Age, Sat 3 Feb 1894 5

CHARGE OF INDECENT
EXPOSURE.
——
THE ACCUSED FOUND GUILT
——
ORDERED A FLOGGING.

    In the police court on Thursday afternoon, before Messrs AN Barnett, PM, and HC Armstrong, and F Harrington, JsP, William Stephens was charged on remand with having, on the morning of January 16, at about 8 o’clock, indecently exposed himself on the Central Reserve. The evidence for the prosecution was heard with closed doors on Thursday. For the defence,

    Mrs Annie Stephens is the mother of the accused, said her son did not leave his home on the morning of January 16. She was positive of this because the lad was occupied in removing some timber in the yard, and it was the first morning he had stayed home for some weeks. Annie Stephens, sister, and John D Stephens, father, of the accused, gave similar evidence.

    William Stephens was also charged with committing a similar offence towards the same prosecutrix in the Central Reserve on Saturday, January 19.

    It was sought to hear the case with closed doors when Mr McCarthy objected as the law disallowed such a course.

    Mr Barnett ordered the objection to be entered in the depositions.

    Mr McCarthy: I merely wish to call your Worship’s attention to the face that it is your duty to keep the court open when hearing a charge of this kind.

    The PM: I don’t want you to tell me my duty, Mr McCarthy. I have full power to order the court to be cleared. However, in deference to your request, I merely ask all decent people to leave while the young lady is giving her evidence.

    Mr McCarthy: The Act gives no power to clear the court. The public have a right to be present.

    The PM: Reporters are present in court. The public are safeguarded by the presence of the representatives of the press.

    All persons not engaged in the case then left the building. The prosecutrix detailed the nature of the alleged offence. She had no doubt as to the identity of the accused. She had a fair look at him on the 19th of January, in order to inform the police who were looking for the culprit in connection with the former offence. After seeing Stephens on the 19th she was positive that he was the youth whom she saw on the 16th.

    The accused [William Stevens] went into the box. He said that on the morning of January 19, at the time he was charged with having committing [sic] the offence, he was on the big mine looking for work, as was his custom every morning. He did not go on to the Central Reserve at all. He did not see the prosecutrix nor was he on the Central Reserve. He was working at home at the time of the alleged offence. The two dates were impressed on his memory because on the 16th he removed some timber in the yard of his father’s house, and on the 19th he and his father were cleaning out an underground tank.

    The mother, sister, and father of the accused gave evidence in connection with the second charge. Mr Stephens said his son was mistaken about working at the tank on Friday, January 19; they worked at it on the next day (Saturday).

    Stephens was charged with committing a third offence towards the same young lady  in the Central Reserve on January 31. Constable Sutherland said that on the morning of Wednesday he was summoned to go to the Central Reserve. There he saw the prosecutrix, who told him something. The accused came out of the urinal and witness took him into custody. Witness did not examine the urinal to see if other persons were inside it, as the accused said there were none.

    The prosecutrix said she saw the accused just after 8 o’clock in the morning. He exposed himself before her.

    Stephens denied the evidence of the young lady as to the exposure. The statements made about him were not true.

    The father, mother, and sister of the accused repeated the evidence given by them in the first case.

    Mr McCarthy then addressed the bench, urging that the evidence of accused’s relatives showed that prosecutrix must have been mistaken as to the identity of the man who was guilty of the offence on the 16th, and as she swore that it was the same man on each occasion she must have been mistaken as to the two other dates.

    The bench then retired, and after about half an hour’s deliberation returned into court.

    The PM said: William Stephens, you are charged that on the 16th of January last, and on the 19th and the 31st of the same month you did indecently expose yourself in a public place, to wit the Central Reserve, Broken Hill; under section 446 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. That someone on the dates mentioned did commit this offence is without doubt a fact. In answer to the charge as to the 16th you say that it was not you, but some other person, and in support of that plea—which amounts to an alibi—you bring here your father, mother, and sister, to say that you were at home working at the time of the alleged offence. As against this there is the evidence of the prosecutrix who states over and over again that she is not mistaken when she said that it was you, and you alone, who were [sic] guilty of this indecency. We do not say for a moment that your parents and sisters [sic] have come here to say what is not true, but we do think that in a laudable and natural desire to rescue you from your painful position, they have gone a little further than is actually in accordance with the truth. That you were the person who exposed yourself on the morning of the 16th inst then Bench have no doubt whatever, the effect of your conduct—which was beastly and loathsome in the extreme—has been to force into the box a girl who we believe to have been as truthful and honest a witness as we have ever listened to, and also to bring your father and mother and sister into court to give evidence for you as to one of the worst charges that could be brought against you. For your parents we have the greatest sympathy. As to the 19th we are equally satisfied that you are the man complained of, and concerning the 31st the case is even stronger against you. The punishment ordered in this case is a very severe one, and we have not come to our conclusion without giving the matter a lot of consideration. As to the punishment which must follow on the conviction you are liable to 96 hours’ imprisonment, and to the infliction of not less than 10 nor more than 30 strokes. The sentence of the court is that for the offence committed on January 16 last you be imprisoned in the gaol at Broken Hill for a period of 96 hours from this moment—that is from 10 o’clock tonight, and that some time between six hour from now and 96 hours from now you receive 10 lashes. For the offence committed on the 19th the sentence will be the same. For the offence on the 31st the sentence will be the same, only that the number of lashes will be increased from 10 to 15. If the whole of this sentence were carried out you would receive three terms of imprisonment of 96 hours each and 35 lashes. Although three distinct offences of the most revolting nature have been proved against you we shall not carry these sentences into their fullest effect. The order for imprisonment in the first and second cases will run concurrent with that in the third case, and also the order as to the lashed in the first and second cases will be considered to have been carried into effect when the 15 lashes ordered in the third case have been inflicted.

    In answer to the PM, Mr McCarthy said he had no appeal to make at present, though he might make one on the following morning.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Evening News, Tue 6 Feb 1894 6

WIELDING THE “CAT.”
————
FLOGGED IN BROKEN HILL GAOL.
————

    BROKEN HILL, Tuesday.—In Broken Hill Gaol yesterday the lash was administered for the first time, the culprit being a young man named William Stevens, who, on Friday, was sentenced to 96 hours’ imprisonment and a flogging of 15 lashes for an outrageous case of indecent conduct. According to a regulation passed in November last, representatives of the press were not admitted, the only persons present being the police magistrate, Mr Barnett, Dr Groves (Government medical officer), and the gaol officials. The Government refused to send a professional flagellator from Sydney, so the whipping was inflicted by a local officer. The punishment was, therefore, not so severe as it would otherwise have been. Stevens took his punishment very badly, yelling and screaming before he received the first stroke, and this was maintained till after the finish.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Barrier Miner, Thu 8 Feb 1894 7

AT THE TRIANGLE.
————
THE FLOGGING OF STEVENS.
————
HIS RELEASE. 

THE young man William Stevens, who was convicted of having indecently exposed himself in the Central Reserve was released from the gaol on Tuesday evening at 5 o’clock. He was met at the prison gates by the Rev RJ Daddow, Primitive Methodist minister, who had visited him during his incarceration. A cab was in readiness, and the young fellow was conveyed to his parents’ home.

    The sentence of flogging was, as previously reported, carried out on Monday afternoon. Although Press representatives were excluded and the gaol authorities were forbidden to speak of the matter, the facts are now ascertainable. It was rumored [sic] on Sunday that the warders as a body were strongly averse to undertaking the work of the public hangman and flagellator, and a difficulty was anticipated. However, one of their number was prevailed upon to carry out the duties. The inspectors consisted of the gaol officials, Mr AN Barnett, PM; Dr Groves, Government medical officer; and Mr Saunders and Sub-inspector Johnston. There is a regulation now in force that only the gaol officials shall be allowed to witness floggings; but Mr Saunders attended as an assistant to Dr Groves, and Sub-inspector Johnston was present at the request of the police magistrate. Stevens walked bravely up to the triangle and unflinchingly submitted to the strapping-up process. He did not, as a contemporary states, “howl before the start”; it was not until the tails descended on his shoulders that he gave utterance to any expression of pain. As one stroke succeeded another he cried out “Oh my back!” “Don’t, don’t”; and “For God’s sake spare my reason; you will drive me mad.” the cries of the prisoner could be heard distinctly several hundred yards away, and people who lived near the gaol ran from their homes in order that they might escape the pain of hearing the cries of agony. When the flogging had ceased Stevens’ shoulders looked like a big blood blister, and the ends of the tails had caused weals underneath his arms. The prisoner showed no signs of collapse when taken form the triangle. He was taken to his cell, where his wounds were dressed by Dr Groves, and was subsequently taken to the gaol hospital. In the ordinary course of events Stevens would not have been discharged until 10 o’clock on Tuesday night; but the authorities, making use of their discretionary power, released him at 5 o’clock.

    The Rev RJ Daddow has taken a great interest in Stevens’ case, having known him and his parents intimately. He speaks of the young man, who is only 20, as being always of a quiet disposition, a total abstainer, and one of the last men whom he would expect to find guilty of such a disgusting offence. He cannot believe that a a [sic] person who was neither drunk nor mad would commit an offence which could not possibly afford him any gratification. Mr Daddow corroborates the testimony of the father and son respecting the latter’s movements on January 16. Mr Stevens, senior, had undertaken to repair an organ for him on the day in question, and he failed to keep the appointment, as he was engaged with his son in cleaning out a tank. He considers that the prisoner, although outwardly calm, has undergone great mental suffering; when visited in his cell he was always found with his head between his hands, and on one occasion he broke down.

 


1   Barrier Miner, Thu 1 Feb 1894, p. 4.

2   Barrier Miner, Fri 2 Feb 1894, p. 4. Emphasis added.

3   The Broken Hill Age, Fri 2 Feb 1894, p. 3.

4   Barrier Miner, Sat 3 Feb 1894, p. 1. Emphasis added.

5   The Broken Hill Age, Sat 3 Feb 1894, p. 3. Emphasis added.

6   Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Tue 6 Feb 1894, p. 3.

7   Barrier Miner, Thu 8 Feb 1894, p. 2.