The Moree Examiner and General Advertiser, Sat 22 Jun 1901 1
The sittings of the Court of Quarter Sessions were commenced on Thursday morning, before his Honor Judge Gibson, and, as usual, a great deal of interest was taken in the proceedings by the townspeople. By the time his Honor took his seat the court was crowded.
Mr Bevan prosecuted on behalf of the Crown, and amongst those at the Bar table were Messrs Zlotkowski, Stirton, Cook, and Hogan.
Mr PC Watt, JP, Deputy Sheriff, was also present.
The Deputy Clerk of the Peace, Mr Pocock, called the names of the jurors and after this was done the swearing in of magistrates took place, when Messrs DB Suttie, JS Keen, JE Hayes and Dr Elsner took the oath of allegiance.
The fines for the non-attendance of jurors at the last court were then dealt with, and in some cases, where a reasonable excuse was lodged, they were remitted.
The first case was then called on.
ALLEGED INDECENT ASSAULT.
Richard Ditzell [aka Richard Ditzel], a middle-aged man, was arraigned on an indictment charging him with having on the 20th April at Boggabilla indecently assaulted a boy named Henry Kowdoff Baker [8 years]. Under a second count he was charged with common assault.
The accused pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Zlotkowski.
Mr Bevan opened the case briefly to the jury, pointing out that according to the evidence for the Crown, on the date stated the boy who was at Boggabilla with his father started on horseback to go to his home at Goondiwindi, his father following shortly afterwards on foot. The boy was subsequently overtaken by the accused, who was riding one horse and leading another. The boy’s father, who got a lift in a sulky with a Mr Jones, overtook and passed them, and drove out of sight. After proceeding some little distance accused asked him to ride over to the fence, saying he had something to give him. When they reached the fence accused tied the horses up, dragged the boy off his horse, took him through the fence, and said he was going to kill him. He took the boy’s trousers down to the ankles, saying he was going to take his clothes off. The boy shouted and struggled, and eventually got away. He ran for some distance; and hid behind a stump, and afterwards got away to Mr McCasker’s place, where he arrived in a most terrific state without his trousers, and complained of what had occurred. The accused was afterwards arrested, and then stated that he never saw the boy at all.
Evidence was then called.
Franche Baker, builder and contractor, residing at Goondiwindi, stated that he was in Boggabilla on the day in question with his boy, who was about eight years of age. The lad started on his way home as stated about a quarter of an hour before he did; when he overtook him in Mr Jones’s sulky the accused was with him. He drove on with Mr Jones and left the boy with the accused; the accused afterwards arrived at Goondiwindi without the boy, and on being asked where he was, said he didn’t know. Witness then went back and found him at Mr McCaskers; the boy had no trousers on and was very frightened; he also found the boys horse tied to the fence.
To Mr Zlotkowski: He did not think the boy was a nervous boy; when he left the boy with Ditzell he thought the latter was drunk.
Dr Woodford, of Goondiwindi, who examined the boy shortly after the occurrence, gave evidence to the effect that he only found one very small bruise on him. His face was tear stained and dirty.
John McCasker deposed to the boy calling at his place in a terrified state and without his trousers. After hearing the boys story he took his gun and went out to look for the man.
John N Graham, formerly police constable at Boggabilla, gave evidence to the effect that on the date in question the accused was in a state of intoxication, and he had reason to warn him to be careful. He was subsequently detained at the Goondiwindi lockup, where witness took charge of him, under a warrant from the Queensland police, and conveyed him to the Boggabilla lockup. On the way to Boggabilla, accused said that he knew nothing about the occurrence.
Constable Reed, of the Queensland force, stationed at Goondiwindi, said he saw Ditzell on the night of the date in question. He was then pretty sober, but had been drinking. He was subsequently detained at the lockup.
The boy, Henry Kowdoff Baker, a small boy for his age, who could just see over the witness box, was called, and gave his evidence in a nervous, hesitating manner. His evidence was practically a corroboration of the statement made by the Crown Prosecutor in opening the case to the jury.
No evidence beyond evidence of character was called for the defence.
HR Murray, stock and station agent, gave evidence to the effect the he had known the accused for some considerable time, and always considered him a respectable man. He always bore a good reputation.
JF Boydell, stock and station agent, said he had known the accused for seven years. The accused was overseer under him on the station for twelve months, and he always regarded him as a thoroughly decent man, and left everything in his care when he left home.
JW Scott, stock and station agent, gave evidence to the effect that he had known accused for fifteen years. Accused was in his employment for five years, and he always found him thoroughly reliable.
This concluded the evidence, and Mr Slotkowski made an eloquent appeal to the jury on behalf of the accused.
The jury, after a brief retirement, found the accused guilty of common assault.
The accused was fined £5, and the money being forthcoming he was released.
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Evening News, Thu 27 Jun 1901 2
MOREE, Wednesday.—At the recent quarter sessions, before Judge Gibson, the sentences passed were considered unusually lenient.
1 The Moree Examiner and General Advertiser, Sat 22 Jun 1901, p. 2. Emphasis added.
2 Evening News, (Sydney, NSW), Thu 27 Jun 1901, p. 6.