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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Wed 23 Nov 1898 1

Tuesday, November 22.
(Before Mr Jas Mair, SM.)


    Alfred Jacobson, commercial traveller, was charged with having, on the 21st inst. At Newcastle, indecently assaulted one Richard Somerville [aka Richard Summerville].

    Constable Bartlett said that in consequence of something he was told shortly after 6 o’clock on the evening of the 21st inst. He went to the upper reserve. On going down the gully on the northern side of the Bogie Hole he saw accused sitting near the fence which protected some trees. Witness asked “What are you doing?” Accused replied, “Nothing.” Witness further questioned, “Whom were you with a few minutes ago?” And accused answered “I don’t know what you mean.” Witness asked “Was there a boy with you just now?” and accused replied in the negative. On the way to the lockup accused asked what he was to be charged with, and when informed, he said. “For God’s sake don’t put that charge against me—you will damn me for life.” He then pulled two sovereigns out of his pocket and said “I’ll give you those if you don’t put that charge against me; I don’t want you to ruin me.” Accused appeared to be muddled by drink.

    William Donaldson, a labourer, living at Newcastle, said he saw accused for the first time on the upper reserve at about 6.10 on the evening of the 21st inst. He saw the boy Dick Somerville with accused in the reserve. Witness knew the boy to be a flower seller in the streets. Accused and the boy, walking arm-in-arm, came up Watt-street, while witness was standing at the entrance to the reserve. Accused did not appear to be the worse for liquor. He watched accused and the boy go down the slop into the gully in the direction of the Bogie Hole. Three ladies and two children were facing the lad and accused as they passed down the gully. Witness went round and told Thomas Warner (caretaker of the bowling green) something, and then ran round the back of the bowling green; but for a while lost sight of accused and Somerville. On nearing the last plantation, however, they came upon them. Witness, then described what he saw.

    Richard Somerville (15), living with his parents, said he sold bouquets about the city for a livelihood. He knew accused by sight, and first met him on the afternoon of the 21st inst. Near Arkins’ livery stables in Watt-street. Witness asked accused if he wanted a bouquet. Accused made no reply, and witness pinned one on his coat. Accused then said, “Take it out sonny, and show me a place to sleep.” Witness took accused up to the reserve, and said, “Mr aren’t you going to give me something for taking you up there.” Witness was sitting near accused at this time. Accused was under the influence of drink. Witness denied that the accused committed any offence.

    Sub-inspector Saunders said that at about 8 minutes to 6 he saw accused and the last witness in company in Watt-street going in the direction of the reserve. When witness reached his home accused and the boy were about 100 yards ahead of him near the asylum. About 20 minutes afterwards witness saw Constable Bartlett hurrying up the street, followed by Constable Morgan. About 15 minutes later he saw the boy and accused running down the street.

    Accused, who reserved his defence, was committed for trial at the Newcastle Quarter Sessions on Dcember 5 next.
    Bail was allowed– self in £80 and two sureties of £40 each.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Tue 6 Dec 1898 2

(Before His Honor Judge Murray.)

    The December sittings of the Quarter Sessions were commenced yesterday morning, his Honor Judge Murray presiding. The members of the legal profession in attendance were: Messrs W Tighe, R Cowan, A Watt, Atlee Hunt, and R Windeyer, barristers at law; and Messrs HJ Brown, J Windeyer, WA Reid, GW Mitchell, JA Wood, HP Abbott, W Sparke, TD O’Sullivan, TA Braye, HV Harris, AH James, and T Cronin, solicitors.
    Mr AF Dawson prosecuted on behalf of the Crown, and Mr WH Shaw, Deputy Sheriff, occupied a seat alongside his Honor.


    Alfred Jacobson, who described himself as a traveller, was charged with indecently assaulting one Richard Somerville, a boy of about 15 years of age, on 21st November, at Newcastle.

    Mr R Windeyer, instructed by Mr WA Reid, appeared for the accused.

    The evidence of the boy [Richard Somerville] was to the effect that, after he pinned a bouquet on the coat of the accused opposite Arkins’ stables, he took him (by request) to the reserve, Jacobson wanting a place to sleep. Near the plantation, it was alleged, the accused misbehaved himself.

    William Donaldson, a labourer, evidenced to seeing the disgusting action. He knew the boy as a flower seller in the streets, and suspected something, as the accused took him (arm-in-arm) away to such a place. Accused did not stagger going up Watt-street.

    Constable Bartlett evidenced to going to the reserve on account of something he had heard. He questioned the accused, who said he had done “nothing” and he denied also that he had been in the boy’s company. When told of the charge on the way to the lockup, the accused, who was muddled with drink, said: “For God’s sake don’t put that charge against me—you will damn me for life.” He then pulled two sovereign out of his pocket an d said, “I’ll give you those if you don’t put that charge against me.”

    Sub-inspector Saunders evidenced to seeing the accused going up Watt-street with the boy, and later on he saw them running down the street.

    Mr Windeyer made a forcible and able address in defence, and referred to Donaldson in terms not at all complimentary.

    His Honor having summed up, the jury retired for a few minutes, and brought in a verdict of “Not guilty.”

    In discharging the accused, his Honor remarked that the verdict should not be taken to reflect upon Donaldson’s character. The attack upon his character was rather unfair. It had, however, left no doubt, and the jury had taken the precaution to give the accused the benefit of the doubt.


1      Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Wed 23 Nov 1898, p. 6. Emphasis added.

2      Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Tue 6 Dec 1898, p. 6. Emphasis added.