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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Mon 30 May 1898 1

(From Our Correspondents.)

Sydney, Saturday.


    Following is a list of the cases set down for trial at the Central Criminal Court to be opened at Darlinghurst on Monday:—

    Thomas O’Regan, attempt to commit an unnatural assault;

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Justice RM Sly’s notebook  2  3  4


[Central Criminal Court, Sydney] Wednesday, June 8th, 1898
Queen v Thomas O’Regan. Thomas O’Regan, on 4th April assaulting William John Moloney with intent to commit buggery with the said Moloney.
Plea – not guilty.
Mr HA Moss defends.

    1st Witness.– William John West . Detective Officer in Police Force. I arrested accused on 1 pm on 5th April last in a yard is owned by Bailey at Surry Hills. Bailey makes pastry. I said to him are you in the habit of selling pastry scones at Surry Hills. He replied yes. I asked him what route did he generally take – he said through Surry Hills & Pyrmont. I then said to him were you in Riley & Albion Streets Surry Hills yesterday. He said I was in Albion Street. I asked him did he see any little boys there. He said no.


    In company with Constable Carmody I brought him to No. 2 Police Station. I there placed him in line with 3 or 4 others about same age & appearance. I then brought boy WJ Moloney into room where he was – & I said to him do you say 5 the boy you say assaulted you among the others there & he pointed to accused & said that’s him. I then said to accused the boy I said to him do you hear that & he said nothing. I then brought a little boy named Willie Offord & asked him did he see [the] boy that was with Moloney yesterday & he immediately picked out accused & said that’s him. I went with Moloney afterwards to Moloney’s residence – & to an empty house at top of Frog hollow [most likely now called Hills Reserve corner Riley and Albion Streets, Surry Hills] off Riley Street –


fence round it & gate entering the yard – a wooden fence facing the right of way & a word wall between that & adjoining yard. It is not far from Albion Street – & is at base of a long tier of steps – end lane next steps at foot. The accused was wearing hat produced on the 5th April – this piece of (wire ?) was sticking out in front of hat as now. (Hat put in & marked A.)

    Cross-examined by Moss. I placed this boy with four or five others. I will swear that there were not only 2 & he was in the middle. There were four besides himself – I think he was second from end but I told him he could stand where he liked – I think second from right. I was told about another boy – Mr Bailey was my informant. I made enquiries about that other boy. I heard that that other boy had cleared out – I don’t say cleared out but


he had left home for the country. On the 5th April before accused’s arrest I heard about the other boy going into the country. I did not make any enquiry as to what part of country other boy had gone. I heard that did not hear Moloney give evidence at lower Court. I heard Mrs Coffey give evidence at lower Court – she is here today – she was called by Crown at the lower court. After hearing her evidence at lower court I did not make any enquiry as to the other boy spoken of. To get to the place in question you can go down (steps ?) – it would be the nearest way for the boy to take.

    Re-examined by Wade. I heard that he went away on the 4th – but that but I the Mrs Coffey spoke of a boy


with pimples – you as far as I can learn the boy spoken of by Mrs Coffey does not correspond with boy I made enquiries about.

    2nd Witness – Dr Robert Thomson Paton. Qualified medical practitioner & Government medical officer. I examined a small boy on 4th April – aged about 3 years. He was brought to me at Central Police Station about 6 pm I found there was a slight reddening of his anus. I found stains on inside of lower part of his shirt – to the before and behind – on microscopic examination I found stains to contain spermatozoa – stain was fairly recent when I saw it. The indications I saw at (mouth ?) could have been cause by a male organ being against it – or any rigid substance being placed or rubbed against it.

    3rd Witness – Sarah Pope. Married woman living with husband


at Surry Hills. I have 2 little grandchildren – William John Moloney & Wm Thomas Walter Offord. I remember 4th April last. I saw these boys & gave them their dinner & sent them out at 1.30 pm & they came back at 3 pm or a little after. I noticed boy Moloney – his clothes ha braces had been disarranged – his shirt undone & he had been crying. I noticed his shirt was wet. I met a policeman & I told constable & went to police station with me – & was with present when Dr Paton examined child. Moloney is (?) (?)

    4th witness William John Moloney is called. I refused to allow boy to (?) or give evidence or make a statement as he does not appear to me to understand what speaking the truth meant.


    4th witness – Wm John Carmody. Constable of police – stationed at Sydney. I know young person at dock – he was in cells at Central Police Court – two remands. I was taking him in to court – Constable Jordan was there. Constable Jordan said is he charged with assaulting the two boys. The prisoner said no I only done it to one of them. The boys Moloney & Offord were not with me at time – but were in court before this when accused was there.

    Cross-examined by Mr Moss. This was the second remand – & I don’t know whether accused was defended by a solicitor. This was on Wednesday – but the case was heard on Thursday following. I did not know on Wednesday that he was defended. No evidence had been given before Wednesday. Evidence was given on Thursday or


Friday. I was with West when he was arrested. I was there when he was identified. On neither of these occasions did he make any admissions. Constable Jordan had charge of cells. I wouldn’t be sure whether I swore at lower court that Constable Jordan knew what accused was charged with. It was while taking youth from Jordan’s care to court that this took place (i.e. alleged admission by accused). On previous occasion I had taken him back to Jordan when the case was remanded. He was allowed bail but don’t know whether he got out or not. Jordan asked me if the accused was charged with assaulting the two boys – he was charged


with assaulting one boy at lower court. Jordan has a slip of paper with name of prisoner on & what is done with him & there is no charge on that slip of paper. I did not swear at the lower court that Jordan asked me in the boy’s presence if he had done it to the two boys. That is my signature. I must have said at lower court the words just put to me. What I said at lower court would be correct because my memory would then be fresh. I believe the words used by me today are the words he did use. It’s either of the two sentences – but I can’t say which – but I think what I said at lower court is correct.

    Question. Did not this take place – that accused said in answer to a question that he never done it to one of them?

    Answer. No – but what he did


say was he only did it to one of them. Accused did not deny his

    Re-examined by Wade. Accused did not altogether deny his guilt.

    5th witness – Adam Jordan. Constable – in charge of cells at Central Police Court – in April last. He was in cells in my charge at time. Other prisoners in same cell. I remember Constable Carmody came round to take him into court – 13th April – sometime in the morning. One of the other prisoners said in presence of accused – this fellow must be a fool, he has been telling me all about his case. Prisoner made no reply. When I opened cell door to bring him out I said to Carmody, is he charged


with offence on both boys – & the accused replied no, I only did it to one of them.

    Cross-examined by Moss. I did not give evidence at lower court. I was not present. I don’t think the words were “if he done it to both boys”. I had a reco There was not would [be] a record but I have not seen it. I believe it was the second time he had been there. I did not know how many boys he had been charged with assaulting but knew there was 2 little boys. The accused did not say – I never done it to one of them – I’m certain of that. I took particular notice of the reply.

    Re-examined by Wade. I had heard the other prisoners speak of 2 boys in presence of accused. Before duty in Police Court I was on duty – 25 hours – & I went off duty then.

    6th Witness – Detective West recalled. I charged him with attempting to


crime (?) of buggery on William John Moloney on 4th April last. He made no reply. Both boys were present.

    Cross-examined by Moss. I did not hear that boy referred to before had gone on a (pass ?) of the labor (?) to Wagga. I will swear that I was not told that fact by the boy’s the accused’s mother.

Case for Crown closed.

    1st witness – Thomas O’Regan. Accused – live with my mother – the first trouble I’ve been in – never been before court in my life. I sell muffins for a living. I remember day I was arrested. I remember day before that. I never saw those boys at all. I first saw them at Central Police Court.


I never took the boys & do anything to them. I remember being brought by Carmody out of cell. I remember Jordan saying something to Carmody – “did he do it to 2 little boys?” & I said no. I did not say I only done it to one of them. I knew another boy working at Bailey’s – about 19 – Fred (O’Grady ?). I never noticed That boy has pimples. Have been locked up since my arrest.

    Cross-examined by Wade. I knew I was charged with attempted buggery on Friday – (?) (?) I saw them at Police Court & there was a little boy with them named Offord. I have been talking in cell to other prisoners about the case: 7 or 8 in cell with me at Central Police Court. I don’t remember one of prisoners saying he has that this fellow has been telling all about his case


he’s a fool. I never heard no one speak about the case. I will swear that they were not said. I told the other prisoners that I was housebreaking: that was not true – that’s all that was said. I said housebreaking to please them – they believed it. It is not true that I was I was selling cakes the previous but not on that round – I refer to Pyrmont & Woolloomooloo. I did tell West I was selling scones or cakes in Albion Street Surry Hills the previous day. I was on Woolloomooloo round – & Pyrmont & Surry Hills. I go that way every day – the same round as I always go. I did not meet William Moloney that day – & I did not say to Moloney, if you come


down with me & I’ll give a scone. I did not go down one street & send him down another street & I did not meet at a public house at corner of Albion Street. I did not go into an empty house by the back way. I did not go into the water closet. I did not when I got to closet say wait a minute to boy Moloney. I did not undo my trousers & I did not undo his – & I did not put my person up his behind. When it was all over I did not go away with my basket. At 3 o’clock I’m down Woolloomooloo – by la by Woolloomooloo lane. I know what charge means.

    Question. Did the detective say to one of the boys is this the man who assaulted you in the closet?

    Answer. I don’t recollect it. I don’t remember constable saying to Moloney do you see


anybody you know – I remember Moloney pointing to you [sic] & saying that one there. Detective did say is this the man who assaulted you in the closet? Boy said yes. I don’t recollect saying anything at all. I knew Bailey 6 was going up country – a fortnight before – on 5th April. He had left Bailey’s employment some days before this.

    2nd witness – Bridget Coffey. Married woman – living in Albion Street – gave evidence in lower court on behalf of Crown. I know Saturday before Easter Saturday. I bought some cakes that day – I could not swear to the boy – that is not the boy – the face is pimpled. I never bought cakes off this boy. I’ve never seen him since.

    Cross-examined by Wade.


I saw him on the Saturday – & bought cakes from him on next Friday. On I did not say Saturday before Easter Sunday – it was on a Saturday the one before Easter. That is my signature.

    In reply. (?) of defendant (?) (?) put in reply. (Exhibit ?) B.

    At 6 past 2 jury bring in verdict of not guilty.

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The Daily Telegraph, Thu 9 Jun 1898 7

(Before Mr Acting Justice Sly.)

    Crown Prosecutor, MR CG Wade.


    A man named Thomas O’Regan was acquitted on a charge of having at Sydney in April attempted to assault a boy aged about 5 years.

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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 9 Jun 1898 8

(Before his Honor Mr Acting Justice Sly.)

    MR CG Wade was Crown Prosecutor.


    Thomas O’Regan was acquitted upon a charge of having at Sydney, on April 4, attempted to assault a boy aged 5 years. O’Regan was defended by Mr HA Moss.


1     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Mon 30 May 1898, p. 5.

2     Depositions (9/6955 & 9/6956) for this case could not be located at SRNSW.

3     SRNSW: NRS7683, [7/9903] Judiciary, RM Sly, J. Notebooks Criminal (including Circuit Criminal), 1898-1919, pp. 95-111. Emphasis added.

4     Justice Richard Meares Sly (1849-1929) was born on 17 Dec 1849 in Sydney, third son of Joseph, English-born cabinetmaker, and his first wife Jane, née Meares. Richard was educated at Sydney Grammar School (1864-67), and at Sydney University graduating with first class honours in classics and mathematics, in 1872 he won the Gilchrist travelling scholarship and attended University College, London. On 7 Jun 1875 was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple. Sly was admitted to the colonial Bar on 21 Jun 1876 and swiftly developed a busy practice specialising in common law; he was an exceptionally good pleader. Conscientious and highly strung, Sly always nervously played with a pink piece of tape while addressing a court. On three occasions 1898 Sly was an acting NSW Supreme Court judge: in Oct he presided at its first sittings at Broken Hill. His diligence and desire to do justice to all parties frequently led him into a state of intense nervousness. On 1 Feb 1904 he took silk and on 11 Feb 1908 was appointed a judge of the NSW Supreme Court, realising his long-held ambition. His decisions, usually short, always lucid and concise, reveal his considerable legal erudition and a very sound practical approach towards the issue before him. Sly retired on 17 Dec 1919 and died on 11 Oct 1929, while visiting his brother George at Burwood. He was buried in the Anglican section of South Head cemetery. ADB, 1891-1939, vol. 11, p. 636.

5     Means see.

6     Not Bailey – means boy referred to bottom of p.97 and as (O’Grady ?) on p. 107.

7     The Daily Telegraph, Thu 9 Jun 1898, p. 3.

8     The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 9 Jun 1898, p. 3.