The Cumberland Times, Thu 1 May 1902 1
INDECENTLY EXPOSING THE PERSON.
Horace Ritchie, 14, was charged on Monday, before Mr Meares, PM, and Messrs PJ Braine and Roderick Flynn, with having, at Merrylands, on the 18th April, wilfully and obscenely exposed himself in Sydney-street, Merrylands, and in the presence of two girls, Margaret Donnelly 13, her sister 11, and their brother aged 9 years.
Mr Richardson, who appeared for the prosecution, said the object of the prosecution was not the obtaining of any extreme penalty against accused, but to put a stop to an unbearable annoyance which had been persisted in from day to day, and from week to week, for some considerable time.
It appeared from the evidence that the three children of Mr Donnelly, who as next of kin laid the information, have, on their way to and from school, to pass the orchard of Mr Walker, with whom young Ritchie had been for some time staying. Mr Walker proved himself to be a more impetuously exciteable [sic] than judicious friend of his protegee, the accused, in whose attempted exoneration from blame he roundly made himself a party to a statement by accused that the exposure, which was an offence to decency, came from the girls, and not from the boy. However these things be, the wisdom and propriety of bringing such a case before a Court of Justice do little to raise in public estimation the lofty character which the morals of Merrylands have already achieved. So obstreperous did Mr Walker become that he was frequently cautioned against interrupting the regularity of the Court proceedings by his interjections. At last Mr Meares, the presiding magistrate, instructed the police to unceremoniously eject Mr Walker from the Court if he again offended. The evidence for the prosecution seemed to be truthfully and modestly given. That for the defence, which consisted of a total denial of any wilfully obscene exposure, inasmuch as accused had never seen his accusers on the morning of the offence. He had taken medicine in the shape of half a packet of Epsom salts early that morning, with the result that he was imperatively called into the bush, but he “never seen the Donnelly children at all.” The evidence was in some degree supported by that of Percy Walker, whom the prosecution alleged to have accompanied accused, but as Percy Walker had been prosecuted and fined for throwing stones at the Donnelly children, the verisimilitude of his tale was largely discounted.
The information was sustained, and accused was remanded till Wednesday for sentence. The bail of Mr Walker in £10 for his appearance was accepted.
On Wednesday the culprit surrendered to his bail, and accompanied by his father, appeared before the same Bench of magistrates. Mr Meares, PM, explained the nature of the offence of which his son had been convicted, and stated that the Bench had agreed to inflict the minimum penalty provided by the Criminal Law Amendment Act for the offence, namely, seven days’ imprisonment. The Bench, however, in consideration of prisoner’s youth, would suspend the sentence, provided he, the father, would become bound in the sum of £10 that his son would be of good behaviour for 12 months. Mr Ritchie expressed his willingness to become so bound. Mr Richardson put in a claim for costs, which the father objected to pay. The Bench doubted whether—seeing that the law was mandatory that punishment for the offence was imprisonment without the opinion of a fine—they had power to award costs. Mr Richardson still persisting, the Bench in consultation looked up their authorities, and concluded they had no power to award costs, so both complainants and defendants were punished as they deserved to be for bringing such a case into Court.
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The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers’ Advocate, Sat 3 May 1902 2
PARRAMATTA POLICE COURT.
Friday, 25th April.
(Before Mr TE MacNevin, PM.)
Wednesday, April 30.
(Before Mr FP Meares, PM, and Messrs PJ Braine and R Flynn, J’sP.)
Horace Ritchie, who had been convicted on Monday of wilfully and obscenely exposing himself at Merrylands was brought up for sentence. His father, who was absent on the Monday, now put in an appearance.
The Bench sentenced the lad to seven days’ imprisonment with light labour, the sentence to be suspended upon the father entering into a recognizance in the sum of £10 for the lad’s good behaviour for the period of twelve months.
The complainant’s solicitor applied for costs.
The Bench said that they recognised that the complainant ought not to be put to expense in the matter; but they doubted whether they had the power to order the defendant to pay the costs.
The Bench, after looking up the law on the subject, said that they had not the power to award the complainant his costs.
1 The Cumberland Times (Parramatta), Thu 1 May 1902, p. 2. Emphasis added.
2 The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers’ Advocate (Parramatta), Sat 3 May 1902, p. 7.