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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Wed 5 Dec 1894 1

Tuesday, December 4.
(Before Mr Acting-Judge Rogers.)

    Mr FA Dawson prosecuted for the Crown.


    Hubert [aka Herbert] Lunny, a farm labourer, was charged with having, at Felspar, near Seaham, on September 9 last, indecently assaulted a lad named George Bruce.

    Mr WA Reid appeared for the accused, who pleaded not guilty, and a jury, with Mr AF Moore as foreman, was empanelled.

    The evidence adduced was most disgusting. The accused worked for Samuel Bruce, the father of the lad, who is a farmer at Felspar, and on the day in question the father sent the lad to attend to a horse. The accused went after the boy, and then both of them went behind a cart. On hearing what had occurred from the boy, the father ordered the accused to go away, and the fellow begged for forgiveness, but was afterwards arrested.

    As George Bruce, the lad, knew nothing of the Bible, or of the nature of an oath, the Judge refused to swear the boy, and after some delay he took the usual affirmation to tell the truth, and told his story.

    The defence was that the accused was an imbecile, and had once been before the Court for lunacy. The evidence of Dr [John B] Meredith, of Raymond Terrace, was put in as given in the Police Court. He stated that the man was of weak intellect, and known as “Mad Lunny.”

    The accused [Herbert Lunny] made a statement to the jury, and said: “Well, gents, I am not guilty. It is all spite about a horse. I did not touch the boy, and all that passed was he wanted my pipe to have a smoke.”

    Jane Gordon, a single woman residing at Islington, stated that she had known the accused for over 30 years, and from a boy he was always simple and foolish. In fact, people looked upon him as a madman.

    James Lunny, a brother of the accused, deposed that the man had always been of weak intellect, and from his birth he had been simple in his ways.

    Jane Carroll, a married woman, residing at Cessnock, stated that she had known the accused from his infancy. He had always been of excellent character, but had a weak intellect, and people could make him do anything. Witness had beaten him often and since he was grown up she had smacked his head for taking drink.

    This concluded the evidence, and Mr Reid addressed the Judge on behalf of the accused. He pointed out that as the lad did not give his evidence on oath, the accused could not be convicted on that evidence alone, and he then argued that the admissions made by the accused could not be taken into account, as the man was of weak intellect.

    The Judge briefly summed up, and dwelt on the admissions made by the accused to Mr and Mrs Bruce as facts corroborating the story of the child, which alone could not convict the man.

    The jury retired at half-past 6 o’clock, and at half -past 9 they had not agreed. To help them the Judge read over part of the evidence, and pointed out that the accused had not gone into the box to give evidence. He answered many questions, and the jury again retired. At 20 minutes past 10 o’clock they returned into court, and the foreman said that there was no chance of them agreeing. They were then locked up until 10 o’clock this morning.

    The jury are: AF Moore (foreman), Dugald Dobie, W Arnott, jun, A Shedden, jun, A Beveridge, JC Garrett, Thomas Proctor, JH Priestley, JG Hudson, David Howell, Richard Richards, and JP Tyler.

    The remaining cases are:– Joseph Hinds, inflicting grievous bodily harm; Thomas Jones, embezzlement; William Sidebottom, manslaughter; Patrick Humphrey, assault.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 6 Dec 1894 2

Wednesday, December 5.
(Before Mr Acting-Judge Rogers.)

    Mr FA Dawson prosecuted for the Crown.


    The jury in the case of Hubert Lunny, charged with having on September 9th at Felspar, near Seaham, indecently assaulted a male child, were called into Court at 9.4 am by the Judge. Although locked up all night they failed to agree, and the Judge discharged them, and excused every juror from further attendance during that morning.

    Later in the day the accused was remanded for trial at the next Newcastle Quarter Sessions or at any other court the Attorney-General may appoint, bail being allowed – himself in £80, and one surety of a like amount.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 7 Mar 1895 3

Wednesday, March 6.
(Before Mr Acting-Judge Rogers.)


    Hubert Lunny, a labourer, surrendered to his bail, and was arraigned on a charge of having at Felspar, near Seaham, on September 9th, 1894, indecently assaulted George Bruce, a child. There was a second count of common assault preferred against the accused.

    The accused pleaded guilty to the second count, and this was accepted by the Crown.

    Mr WA Reid, who appeared for the accused, explained that the man was brought up on the charge at the last Quarter Sessions, but the jury failed to agree, and he was remanded. It was shown at the trial that the accused had a very weak intellect.

    The Judge said that he well remembered the circumstances of the case, and the Crown was wise in accepting the plea of guilty on the second count, as it would save the child from repeating evidence of a disgusting character.

    In answer to the Judge, the accused said the only thing he wished to say was that his father was 85 years of age, and on his account he wished a light sentence.

    The Judge: I am sentencing you, not your father. He then sentenced Lunny to six months, with hard labour, in Maitland Gaol.

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Hubert Lunny, Gaol photo sheet 4

SRNSW: NRS2327, [3/5987], Maitland Gaol photographic description book, 1875-1930, No. 971, p. 27, R5130.

Gaol Photo Sheet - 
Transcribed Details

No. M 971

Date when Portrait was taken: 22/5/1895

Name: Hubert Lunny

Native place: BC Hexham

Year of birth: 1864

Arrived       Ship: –
in Colony }   Year: –

Trade or occupation
previous to conviction  } Laborer

Religion: RC

Education, degree of: R&W

Height: 5' 6"

Weight     On committal: 149
in lbs     } On discharge:

Colour of hair: Brown

Colour of eyes: Blue

Marks or special features: 3rd finger left hand deformed. —

(No. of previous Portrait ... ) 


Where and When Offence. Sentence

Newcastle Q.S




Common assault

6 months H.L.


1     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Wed 5 Dec 1894, p. 7. Emphasis added.

2     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 6 Dec 1894, p. 6.

3     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Thu 7 Mar 1895, p. 6.

4     SRNSW: NRS2327, [3/5987], Maitland Gaol photographic description book, 1875-1930, No. 971, p. 27, R5130.