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1901, Walter Clements - Unfit For Publication
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Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 23 Feb 1901 1

POLICE COURTS.

    At the Grafton Police Court on Tuesday

    At Grafton yesterday, before the PM.

    Walter Clements was summoned for indecency at the Grafton Hospital. Mr Donaldson and Mr Everingham appeared for defendant.

    Senior-constable Wells deposed that on serving defendant wi the summons he stated that he had not committed the offence, but made an explanation of what had occurred in the presence of two children. He was two years yardsman at the Hospital.

    Joseph Douglas, 9 years of age, in mate of the Hospital, gave evidence in support of the prosecution. The indecency, according to this witness, was of a disgusting character.

    Elsie Volkhardt, seven years of age, testified as to the indecency.

    Nurse McCausland stated that she taxed accused about his conduct, and he denied any impropriety.

    Dr Ventry Smith deposed that a complaint was made to him at the Hospital, and he heard in defendant’s presence the statements of Douglass and the girl. Defendant, on being asked for an explanation, stated what he had done. This was to some extent an admission of indecency.

    Mr Donaldson pleaded for a dismissal, on the ground that the evidence for the prosecution was weak and unsatisfactory.

    Defendant gave evidence to the effect that he had not been guilty of any impropriety, and that the evidence that he had been was false.

    Sub-Inspector Parker stated he had known defendant as a respectable and well conducted man, and this character was given him by some of the other witnesses.

    Constable Austin testified as to the good character of Clements.

    In reply to Mr Donaldson, the PM said the case was one for a jury to decide, and he had no alternative but to commit defendant for trial. Defendant was therefore committed to take his trial at the Circuit Court to be held in Grafton on April 23rd; bail allowed, himself in £80 and sureties to a like amount.

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Northern Star, Wed 27 Feb 1901 2

GRAFTON.
———

Feb 23.

AT the Police Court, yesterday, Walter J Clements was committed for trial for alleged indecent exposure at the Grafton Hospital, where he was employed as yardsman. The chief evidence for the prosecution was a boy of 9 and a girl 7 years old. Bail was allowed—defendant in £80, and sureties in a like amount. The Hospital Committee have been investigating a complaint made by the Matron respecting one of the nursing staff, but the result has not transpired.

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The Clarion, Wed 24 Apr 1901 3

GRAFTON CIRCUIT COURT.
———◦———

    The sittings of the above commenced yesterday, before Mr Acting-Justice Pring.

    Mr Wyndham Davies acted as Associate.

    The legal profession was represented as follows: Barristers — Messrs A Nugent Robertson (Crown Prosecutor), and Mocatta. Solicitors — Messrs Beaver (Crown Law Office), McGuren, Dowling, RD Bawden, Donaldson, Lobban.

————

    John Daley was fined 40s for non-attendance as a juror. The fine was subsequently remitted.

    James Marles was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace.

ALLEGED INDECENCY.

    Walter Joseph Clements [aka Walter Clements] was charged with having on 14th February, at Grafton, behaved indecently.

    Accused pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Mocatta, instructed by Messrs Everingham and Donaldson.

    The following jury was empanelled, after accused had challenged five:—D McLachlan, J Daly, T Morrissey, HC Reimer, JH McDonald, J Carson, P Morrissey, WB Haffenden, R Watt, CH Crampton, J Reid, W Leeson.

    Evidence for the Crown was given by a nine-year-old lad named Charles Joseph Douglas, who stated that he knew accused, he being yardsman at the Grafton Hospital. He saw accused committing the offence with which he was charged.

    By Mr Mocatta: He knew how to play poker. On one occasion he got into trouble for using bad language at the Hospital; but he did not get a “hiding,” although he deserved one.

    Elsie Volckhardt, a little mite of 7 years of age, also gave evidence in support of the Crown case.

    Senior-constable Wells deposed that he served accused with a summons for the offence. In reply, accused said, “I am not guilty of the offence. I certainly did not behave indecently to the children.”

    By Mr Mocatta: Had known accused for 10 years, and always looked upon him as a decent and industrious man. He was astonished at the allegation.

    Dr Ventry Smith, Senior Medical Officer at the Grafton Hospital, deposed that on the 14th February, an inmate of the Hospital made a statement to him, in consequence of which he got the inmate, young Douglas, and accused into a room together. Douglas told him what had occurred, and added that a little girl names Volckhardt also saw the act. The girl was brought into the room, and admitted what she saw. He then sent all out, with the exception of Clements, and then told him that he had committed a serious offence. Accused replied that he did not mean anything by it.

    By Mr Mocatta: Accused bore an unblemished character.

    Mr Mocatta asked His Honor to take the case from the jury. It was only a trivial case, which should have ver [sic] been taken to Court. His Honor declined.

    Accused gave evidence on his own behalf, and said that what occurred on the day in question was only a mistake, as he was not aware of the presence of the children. He had been at the Hospital for upwards of two years, and prior to the present no complaint was made against him.

    The Police Court depositions of Ethel McCausland (ex-nurse at the Grafton Hospital) were read over, in which she referred to accused as a man of good moral character. She questioned him about the charge, and he denied it.

    After counsels’ addresses and His Honor’s summing up, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

    His Honor remarked that accused left the Court without a stain on his character.

    The Court then adjourned till 10 o’clock today (Wednesday).

———

    The remaining cases are: Alexander McPherson, alleged larceny; Archibald Green, alleged cattle stealing. The sittings will in all probability conclude to-day.

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The Grip, Thu 25 Apr 1901 4

GRAFTON CIRCUIT COURT.
———◦———
Tuesday, April 23.—FIRST DAY.
————

THE Court opened at Tuesday before Mr Acting Justice Pring.

    Mr AN Robertson, as Crown Prosecutor, instructed by Mr Beavin, from the Crown Law Office.

    The following members of the legal profession were present:—Messrs Wyndham Davis (Judge’s Advocate), Moccatta, [sic] (Barrister), McGuren, Dowling, Donaldson, Lobban, Everingham, Hawden (solicitors).

    John Daly was fined 40s for non-attendance as a juryman, but later, on making application, the fine was remitted.

    James Marles, of Coff’s Harbour, was sworn in as a Justice of the Peace.

————
ALLEGED INDECENCY.

    Walter Joseph Clements was charged that on the 14th day of February, 1901, he exposed himself indecently.

    Accused pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Mocatta, instructed by Messrs Donaldson and Everingham.

    The following jury were empanelled:—Donald McLachlan, John Daly, Thomas Morrissey, HC Reimer, JH McDonald, John Carson, Patrick Morrissey, WB Haffenden, Robert Watts, CH Crampton, Jos Reid, Wm Leeson.

    Accused challenged 5 jurors and the Crown none.

    Evidence was the same as given at the police court proceedings by the two children, Douglas and Elsie Volckhardt.

    Sergeant Wells being sworn stated he served the summons on accused, who denied the remarks attributed to him. He knew accused for the last ten years and always had a very high opinion of him.

    Dr Smith knew accused, who had been yardman at the Hospital. Complaints had been made to him by an inmate, in consequence of which he called the inmate, accused, and the boy into a room. The boy told him what had occurred, and also that the girl Volckhardt had been present; upon this he also questioned the girl Volckhardt had been present; upon this he also questioned the girl Volckhardt separately.

    He told Clements after the others left that it was a very serious offence he had committed and asked what he had to say about it; accused said he did not mean anything by it.

    Mr Mocatta suggested to his Honor that the doctor, by calling accused into a room and asking him what he had to say about it, he held out a kind of threat or inducement to exculpate himself and therefore this evidence was not admissable.

    His Honor overruled the objection.

    To Mr Mocatta: He was quite certain that the boy and girl used the words which he mentioned; he knew that the accused always had an unblemished character, he was very busy that day, but he took notice of the exact words.

    To His Honor: The conversation was in the forenoon.

    To Mr Mocatta: It was at the evening of the police proceedings that he took note of the exact works.

    To His Honor: The police court proceedings were seven days after the occurrence.

    Mr Mocatta asked his Honor to take the case from the jury, as at the worst it was only a misdemeanour and not an inditeable [sic] offence, the whole had not taken place in a public place, but his Honor declined.

    Accused made a statement on oath on his own behalf. He denied making the expression attributed to him. He was surprised by the children in the foul [sic] house, and told them to go out. The depositions at the Police Court of Headnurse McCausland were read by the Associate, as evidence.

    At six o’clock Mr Mocatta addressed the jury. He dwelt especially on the fact that the case for the Crown simply rested on the evidence of a boy and girl, both of whom admitted to have used very bad language, and the boy of nine years of age also to have been in the habit of playing poker for the last three years. Against this they had the good character and good conduct of the accused, attested for him on all sides.

    His Honor summed up plainly showing the facts of the case. They had the evidence of the two children and that of the previous good character. He said he was rather taken in by the looks of the boy, whose appearance made a good impression on him; and he was rather disappointed in hearing of the language used by him. Sergeant Wells, who knew accused for a number of years, spoke highly of him, also the doctor and the headnurse spoke well of him.

    The jury did not leave the box, and through their foreman (Mr J Carson) brought in a verdict of not guilty, adding that in their opinion no stain was left on his character through these proceedings. His Honor quite concurred with the verdict, and discharged accused, adding there was no stain left on his character. The Court than adjourned till ten o’clock next morning.

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The Grafton Argus and Clarence River General Advertiser, Fri 26 Apr 1901 5

CIRCUIT COURT.
————
Tuesday.

THE criminal business of the Grafton Circuit Court was entered upon at 10 o’clock on Tuesday morning before his Honor Mr Acting-Justice Pring. Mr AN Robertson was Crown Prosecutor, and was instructed by Mr WR Beaver, Clerk of the Peace. Mr EJW Davies, barrister-at-law, acted as Judge’s Associate.

    Mr James Marles was sworn in as a magistrate. [The two earlier newspaper reports say Justice of the Peace.]

ALLEGED INDECENCY.

    Walter Joseph Clements, on bail, was indicted for having indulged in a wilful and indecent exposure at the Grafton Hospital on February 14th last.

    Accused pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Mocatta, instructed by Messrs Donaldson and Everingham. Jury: Donald McLachlan, John Daly, Thomas Morrissey, HC Reimer, JH McDonald, J Carson, P Morrissey, WB Haffenden, Robert Watt, CH Crampton, Joseph Reid, William Leeson.

    Accused challenged five jurors.

    The evidence in the case was for the greater part entirely unfit for publication, the alleged offence, according to the story told by the boy JC Douglas, and the girl Elsie Volckhardt, being of a particularly gross nature. The accused was, up till some few weeks ago, wardsman at the Hospital, and the two principle witnesses were inmates of the institution at the time of the alleged occurrence. Their evidence was partially corroborated by Dr Ventry-Smith.

    The jury without leaving the box returned a verdict of acquittal, and his Honor concurred with the verdict, and said Clements left the Court without a stain upon his character.

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Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 27 Apr 1901 6

GRAFTON CIRCUIT COURT.
————

This Court was opened on Tuesday, before His Honor Acting-Judge Pring. Mr AN Robertson prosecuted for the Crown; Mr WR Beaver attended from the Crown Law office, and Mr EJW Davies, barrister, acted as Judge’s associate. The only other legal representative in addition to the local solicitors was Mr Mocatta, barrister.

    John Daley, of Cowper, was fined 40s for non-attendance as a juror, which was subsequently remitted on explanation being given.

    Mr James Marles, of Coff’s Harbour, was sworn in as a magistrate.

ALLEGED INDECENCY.

Walter Joseph Clements was arraigned for having behaved in an indecent manner at the Grafton Hospital on February 14th. Accused pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Mocatta, instructed by Mr Donaldson and Mr Everingham.

    Jury: Donald McLachlan, John Daley, HC Reimer, Thos Morrissey, John H McDonald, John Carson, Patrick Morrissey, WB Haffenden, Robert Watt, CL Crampton, Jos Reid, Wm Leeson.

    Accused challenged five jurors.

    The evidence is unfit for publication, and was to the effect that Clements, who was yardsman at the Hospital, indecently exposed himself before two children named JC Douglas and Elsie Volckhardt.

    After hearing evidence, the jury returned a verdict of acquittal, and his Honor, in discharging Clements, remarked that he left the Court without a stain on his character.

 


1     Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 23 Feb 1901, p. 4. Emphasis added.

2     Northern Star, Wed 27 Feb 1901, p. 5.

3     The Clarion, Wed 24 Apr 1901, pp. 4, 5. Emphasis added.

4     The Grip, Thu 25 Apr 1901, p. 2.

5     The Grafton Argus and Clarence River General Advertiser, Fri 26 Apr 1901, p. 4.

6     Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, Sat 27 Apr 1901, p. 2.