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Barrier Miner, Fri 12 Apr 1889 1


Carrington Hall, directly opposite the current courthouse, 237-47 Argent Street, Broken Hill. Photo: Courtesy—Brian Tonkin, Broken Hill City Library
Carrington Hall, directly opposite the current courthouse, 237-47 Argent
Street, Broken Hill. Photo: Courtesy—Brian Tonkin, Broken Hill City Library

    MR CANE, the Sheriff’s Officer, is making all the necessary arrangements for the opening of the Circuit Court in the Carrington Hall on Tuesday morning. His Honor Judge Stephen, accompanied by his associate, Mr Edgar, will arrive by the train from Adelaide which reaches this town on Tuesday morning soon after midnight. All jurors summoned are required to be in the seats reserved for them in the hall by the hour the court opens, so that no delay may occur in swearing them. A formidable looking sealed parcel “OHMS” has reached the local courthouse, which is taken to contain the depositions in the cases for trial. In the arrangement of the court chamber, a departure from the usual disposition of the dock will be made by having it against the wall to the right of the judge. The jury-box and witness-box will be on the opposite side of the chamber, and the legal fry will be accommodated at a table placed end-on to the judicial dais, while the Press will sit at a table near the judge and on his left hand. The south end of the hall will be allowed to the general public.

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Barrier Miner, Sat 13 Apr 1889 2


    There are 16 criminal cases down for trial at the Circuit Court to be opened here by Judge Stephen on Tuesday. The names and accusations are as follows:— Robert Cleghorn, murder; Charles May, arson; William Edward Ingram Hammond, criminal libel; Joseph Herbert Nixon, larceny as a bailee; William White, uttering a counterfeit coin; Thomas Simpson, maliciously wounding; Charles Scrimshaw, attempting to commit suicide; Francis Jones, cattle stealing; John Thomas, bestiality; Charles Roffey, attempted arson; John Gray, bestiality; George Owen Reynell, larceny from the person; Michael Bakey, manslaughter; Denis Trinidad, burglary; Charles Clarke, maliciously wounding his wife; James Bosance, attempted suicide. White is in the local hospital, having suffered an attack of typhoid fever; Simpson, a one-armed man, and Roffey have been spending in Silverton gaol the interval since committal, while Gray and Reynell are in the local cells. The rest of the accused are on bail. Scrimshaw and Gray were committed from the Silverton Police Court, and all the others by the Broken Hill bench. No persons for trial are expected from Wilcannia or Wentworth, they having been committed in each case to the forthcoming quarter sessions in those places.

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Barrier Miner, Tue 16 Apr 1889 3

Criminal Calendar.
(Before His Honor Judge Stephen).

    It was some time after the appointed hour that the first Circuit Court ever held in Broken Hill was opened in the Carrington Hall, as a temporary expedient, this morning. Punctual to the fixed hour of ten o’clock, Mr Justice Stephen, escorted by Mr Edgar, his associate, arrived at the door, but it evidently took a long time for the judge to habilitate himself of the traditional scarlet robes. Mr Gower, as the representative of the sheriff, occupied the bench in conjunction with his Honor. Mr BR Wise announced that he was commissioned to conduct the case for the Crown, and on his left hand at the barrister table sat Mr Norrie, from the Crown Solicitor’s office. The other barristers present were Mr Cockshott, from Sydney, and Mr W Symon, from Adelaide. The local bar was represented by Messrs Edwards, McCarthy, Abbott, Wilkinson, and Raymond. The undefended cases were first called on.


    John Thomas was put in the dock to answer a charge of beastiality [sic], and he pleaded guilty to the offence. Mr Cockshott, on his behalf, put in a petition signed by 30 or 40 residents of the town, testifying to the good character of accused; also a similar testimonial obtained in South Australia. His Honor scrutinised the local petition closely, and asked pertinent questions in regard to the signatures. Senior-Sergeant Saunders was called upon to attest the genuineness of the signatures. His Honor then animadverted upon the heinousness of the offence, and, having taken into consideration all that had been urged on the prisoner’s behalf, sentenced him to one year’s hard labour in Wilcannia gaol, adding that he hoped he was not doing wrong in passing so light a sentence, and that the maximum penalty was five years’ penal servitude.

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The Silver Age, Wed 17 Apr 1889 4

(Before his Honor, Mr Justice Stephen.)

Facade detail, Carrington Hall & Chambers, Broken Hill. Photo: Peter de Waal
Facade detail, Carrington Hall & Chambers, Broken Hill.
Photo: Peter de Waal

    The first Circuit Court held in Broken Hill was opened yesterday morning in the Carrington Hall by his Honor Mr Justice Stephen. Mr Gower, who had been authorised to act as sheriff, occupied a seat on the bench. Mr RB Wise conducted the cases for the Crown, advised by Mr Norrie, of the Crown Solicitor’s department. Messrs Cockshott, Sydney, and Symon, Adelaide, represented the bar, and an array of the local solicitors also occupied seats at the table.


    John Thomas, a young man, was charged with bestiality at near [sic] the Alpha mine. Mr Cockshott appeared for the defence. Thomas pleaded guilty to having attempted the crime. A certificate signed by about 40 residents was produced, showing that accused had previously borne a good character. His Honor said he would give the accused the benefit of his previous good character. The offence was a most abominable one, but he would pass a very light sentence, namely, to be imprisoned for one year with hard labor in the Wilcannia gaol.


1   Barrier Miner, Fri 12 Apr 1889, p. 2.

2   Barrier Miner, Sat 13 Apr 1889, p. 2. Emphasis added.

3   Barrier Miner, Tue 16 Apr 1889, p. 2. Emphasis added.

4   The Silver Age, Wed 17 Apr 1889, p. 2.