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The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Sat 27 Aug 1864 1

Monday August 22.
(Before the police Magistrate.)

    Wm Geary v. John Jones.—For illegally detaining property. No appearance.

Tuesday, August 23.
(Before the Police Magistrate, the Mayor,
and Messrs Greaves and Jackes, JP’s.)

    Patrick Sullivan charged James Lillycrap with threatening to charge him with having endeavoured to commit an unnatural offence, in order to extort money from him. At the commencement of the case all females were ordered to leave the court.

Armidale courthouse – proposed additions and alterations. Image: The Armidale Chronicle, (NSW), Sat 5 Nov 1898, p. 2. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
Armidale courthouse – proposed additions and alterations.
Image: The Armidale Chronicle, (NSW), Sat 5 Nov 1898, p. 2.
Reproduction: Peter de Waal

    Messrs Payne and Rowsell appeared for the prosecution, and Mr Simpson for the defence. The evidence of complainant (who appears to be over 60 years of age) and his son Michael, a young man, being taken, the following appeared to be the case for the prosecution, so far as it can be particularised here. Sullivan is a conditional selector on the Rocky River road, not many miles from the diggings, while he stated that defendant was in the employ of Mr Cleghorn, and, he believed, had a selection in the neighbourhood, on which he was erecting a house. Sullivan went to the Rocky, got drunk, and next morning, whilst still intoxicated, he left, on his mare, to go home.

    Mr Law, at whose inn he had been drinking, accompanied him to Mount John, and then Sullivan and he separated. Sullivan remembered getting off his mare subsequently, and he got home, but how he did not recollect. Some of his children caught and brought home the mare afterwards. On the following morning (Sunday, 17th inst.), a man who was Lillycrap’s mate or servant came to his door with a letter. He opened and read the letter, and then asked what it meant ? The man admitted that the letter was from Lillycrap, and asked Sullivan did he not know all about it? Sullivan replied that he did not; it appeared he was accused of having done something very wrong, but he was not aware that he had done so. The man asked him would he not write an answer to the letter be had brought? When Sullivan said he would answer it himself, and know what it meant. He then went towards Lillycrap’s place, which was about half a mile off, but he met Lillycrap on the way, and a conversation ensued. Defendant and the other man (whose name Sullivan did not know) told him that they had seen him endeavouring to commit an unnatural crime. Sullivan admitted that he had been very drunk, but he remembered one circumstance which made him know that they were speaking falsely as to it, and therefore probably so as to the alleged crime. They then admitted that they were not quite certain as to the circumstance he spoke of, but that his conduct showed his intent. Lillycrap admitted to him that he had written the letter which the man had given him. (The letter, which was not read in court, was put in evidence.) Sullivan being anxious to stop the matter going further, Lillycrap told him he would take time to think over what he should do, and let him know the result at 9 or 10 next day. At that time, Sullivan again saw Lillycrap, who said that if he would give him fifty notes he would squash or quash it. Sullivan said he would not; that he had not the money, and if he had he would not give it to him, as he was not guilty of the offence he was accused of. Lillycrap then said that if Sullivan had not the whole of the money, he would take half of it in cash, and his note of hand for the other half. Sullivan, anxious to avoid the imputation on his character which the publication of such a charge would entail, and the manner in which it would affect the character of his family, asked Lillycrap how much less than £50 would he take. Lillycrap replied that £50 would only be as a fleabite to him to save his character and that of his family; that he would take nothing less; and that if he did not give him the £50 he would enter the charge at once against him. Sullivan offered £10, which was refused. Sullivan then told Lillycrap that, if he should do what he threatened, he wished to go along with him, when he would give himself up to the law, and prevent the police having any trouble looking for him. Sullivan said he was aware a charge had been preferred against him at the Uralla Court, but it was not yet heard. This day week he had come into Armidale, and laid the information in this case against defendant. Sullivan added that four days after that (on Friday last, at sundown) he was apprehended, on warrant. It appeared that complainant’s son saw the man bring the letter to his father, but, though he knew him by sight, he also was not aware of his name. He went to defendant, and asked him and the man himself the name of the latter, but both refused to give it to him.

    Mr Simpson reserved the defence, and defendant was committed for trial at the next Armidale Sessions.

    Mr Simpson applied for bail, as the defendant in this case had to appear to-morrow at Uralla on the charge preferred against complainant.

    The Bench was willing to accept bail—defendant in £l00, and two sureties of £50 each. Defendant was bailed at the termination of the next case, by Messrs Cleghorn and Mutlow.

Wednesday, August 24.
(Before the Police Magistrate
and Mr Cleghorn, JP.)

Uralla courthouse, Hill Street, 1885. Reproduction: Peter de Waal
Uralla courthouse, Hill Street, 1885. Reproduction: Peter de Waal

    Thomas Cousins, on remand, was found guilty of assaulting John James, publican, and fined £2, or one month in Armidale gaol. On another charge of using profane and threatening language, he was fined £2, or one month in Armidale gaol, to commence at the expiration of the former sentence.

    John Quinn, a Chinaman in custody, was bound over to keep the peace for 12 months, in £60, and two sureties of £30 each, on the complaint of Ung Gem for assault. Mr Payne appeared for, complainant, and Mr Rowsell for defendant.

(Before the Police Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police.)

    The case of James Lillycrap against Patrick Sullivan, by information laid for committing an unnatural offence, was heard.

    Mr Simpson appeared for informant, and Messrs Payne and Rowsell for prisoner. The details are unfit for publication, and the case was heard with closed doors. A prima facie case of attempt to commit the crime being made out, the prisoner was committed for trial at the next Armidale Sessions, on 25th October, but allowed bail —himself in £150, and two sureties of £75 each.

    The business of the Court lasted till nearly 7 pm.

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The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Sat 22 Oct 1864 2


    There is another hitch with regard to the contemplated additions to the local post office —or, to speak more correctly, as the matter turns out, to the telegraph and post offices. It is said that the plan and specifications were addressed to the PM, and arrived yesterday week, but from that gentleman being absent on his periodical tour of duty to other places the communication was unopened till Monday last.

    We understand that in the interim some builders residing here were anxious to send down tenders for the work, but had no opportunity of gaining the requisite information. The time for receipt of tenders being closed on Tuesday, it is said that a tender or tenders were despatched to Sydney by telegraph on Monday, after the plan and specifications were available to the public, and we hear that an application has been made for an extension of the time, which certainly should be granted under the circumstances. Perhaps it would be well for Mr R Forster to suggest to the Government that in any similar case for the future the communication, in reference to it from head quarters should be addressed to the CPS [Clerk of Petty Sessions] instead of the PM, simply because the former gentleman has not duties to fulfil at such distant places from Armidale as the latter. We have seen the plan of the proposed additions. There are to be two apartments added—one forming a back wing to the telegraph side, and the other a bed room extending Westward in a line parallel with the room in the rear of the apartment used as a post office at present. The result is that the telegraph office will have a wing in the rear to the S., and the postal department none in that direction, while there will be a gap left in front on the new post office end. The building, as a whole, will have a very lop-sided appearance, and will not be apt to immortalise the projector of the extensions. It was generally supposed, moreover, that the post office end would receive the benefit of two new rooms, but it would almost seem that the post office can receive no extension without the telegraph office getting a quid pro quo.

    The sessions at Armidale which begin on Tuesday next threaten to be unusually heavy.

    We may mention that the Attorney General has declined to file a bill against Patrick Sullivan, committed on the change of attempting an unnatural crime. The district court business is light, there being but 34 new and 6 postponed cases on the list, and of these we hear that several have already been settled.

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The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Sat 29 Oct 1864 3

Tuesday, Oct 25.

THE Court opened at 10 am, before his Honor Judge Francis. 4 & 5 Mr Brennan, the Crown Prosecutor, was the only member of the Bar present. The other branch of the legal profession was represented by Messrs Rowsell, Payne, and Simpson.


    James Lillycrap, who had been admitted to bail appeared and was indicted for having, on the 16th August last, at the Rocky River, feloniously threatened to accuse Patrick Sullivan of having attempted to commit an unnatural crime—to extort money. There was a second count, for sending a letter threatening to accuse Sullivan of an indictable offence—to extort money.

    Mr Simpson appeared for prisoner, who pleaded guilty to sending the letter, but not with the view to extort

    His Honor accepting this as virtually a plea of not guilty, prisoner there upon pleaded guilty to both counts unconditionally.

    The Crown Prosecutor informed his Honor that a charge of attempting to commit an unnatural crime had been preferred against Sullivan, and he had been committed upon it, but the Attorney General had concurred with him in declining to prosecute.

    Mr Simpson then called the following witnesses, who all gave the prisoner a very good character so far as he had come under their observation, and extending over, in the order in which we place the names, to—6 or 8 months; more than 7 years; 6 or 7 years; about 5 years; and about 8 years: Franklin Jackes, JD Leece, J Richmond Brown, JT Crapp, and John Francis.

    His Honor animadverted in severe terms upon the nature of the offence to which the prisoner had pleaded guilty, and which, happily, belonged to a class that was rare in the courts of the colony; he would, however, take due account of the good character which the prisoner had received. Still, the sentence could not be a light one.

    Mr Rowsell intimated to his Honor that he had been informed that prisoner had a wife and child in a sickly state.

    His Honor, after noting this, put the usual question, whereupon the prisoner said that when be wrote the letter there was nothing farther from his mind than to extort money. His Honor remarked that that plea would not do him much good, owing to his conduct after he had written the letter. He enquired if there was any thing more?

    Prisoner replied that he had not wished to expose Mr Sullivan’s family.

    His Honor showed indignation at what he believed to be the tendency of this remark, as appearing to wish to rake up again the abominable charge which had been disposed of, but upon Mr Simpson explaining that the meaning of prisoner was somewhat different from what his Honor had believed, the Judge said he would carefully consider the case, and defer sentence for the present. It appeared, from the evidence, that prisoner had shown a copy of the letter to Mr Jackes, and also to Mr Leece, and been reproved by them for writing it. It was also stated that he had assured witnesses of his ignorance of the meaning of the word “compromise,” used by him in the letter, and he expressed his regret on that point.

Wednesday, Oct 26.

    The District Court having been opened and adjourned.

Thursday, Oct 27.


    His Honor thanked the gentlemen of the Juries, and dismissed them. He also thanked the magistrates for their attendance. He remarked that the calendar this time was unusually heavy, yet he felt thankful that some of the convictions could not but tell favourably on the condition of the district with respect to crime. He begged to remind storekeepers, looking at some of the cases, that they had a duty to perform which was much neglected. He must urge them to diminish the opportunities, and therefore the temptations, to carriers to steal goods under their trust. A more perfect system of ensuring the identification of goods could be adopted by them, which would not only be better for them and their customers, but would cut off a great temptation to dishonest carriers, and also to petty storekeepers of doubtful character in purchasing stolen goods, for there would be few thieves were there no receivers. With respect to the crime of horse stealing, which he particularly condemned, as easily committed, very difficult to detect, and extremely demoralising, he thought the only means of reducing the opportunities and temptations would be by keeping the brands of horses distinct, and having clear records of the disposal and transfer of stock.

    Difficulties were often thrown in the way of securing punishment by cases occurring in which a transfer of ownership was unattested by any documentary evidence whatever, which should never he the case.

    On James Lillycrap being brought up, his Honor said that the prisoner had pleaded guilty to a charge, supported by evidence which nothing could resist, of a crime which, morally speaking, was almost as despicable as any crime that existed. Instead of acting with simplicity, as he had pretended, he had written a letter most ingeniously concocted, nor had he acted single-handed, as he had then sent an agent, who concealed his name, to the man whose character he was endeavouring to ruin if he could not wring from him the pelf he wanted. He thought he was dealing very leniently with the prisoner when he sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment in Maitland gaol, with hard labour—one day’s solitary confinement in each week. And he regretted that an opportunity had been given, by the drunkenness of the prosecutor, for the prisoner to play off his scandalous artifice against him. He hoped that this case would prove a warning to him and to others who, by their intemperance, committed a very great offence against society.

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The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, Sat 31 Mar 1866 6


THE ‘Herald’ states that Mr Donnelly, the member for the Western gold fields, made the following statement, in moving the adjournment of the Assembly, on the 22nd instant:—

    It appeared that in June, 1864, a person named Cleghorne, [sic] residing in the neighbourhood of Uralla, selected several pieces of land. He made one bona fide selection for himself, one for his son, and another ostensibly for a Mr Lilleycrop, [sic–Lillycrap] but it was generally understood that the latter selection was made for himself, although in the name of another person. It happened that another person, named Patrick Sullivan, also selected a block of 160 acres of excellent land in the neighbourhood. This excited the jealousy of the two persons just named, and they fabricated a charge against Sullivan. The charge was investigated and then dismissed, but a counter charge was brought against Lilleycrop, who was convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. The selection was made in June, 1864, and on the 2nd of October of the same year, before his convictiou, Lilleycrop transferred the selection of land to Cleghorne. The transfer was allowed by the land agent at Armidale, Mr Sydney Blythe.

    Hon. members were aware that the 18th clause of the Alienation Act provided that no transfer of a selection of land could take place until the selector had resided twelve months upon it, but this person transferred it after a residence of four months only.

    The charge made against Mr Cleghorn is a most vile and scandalous one—accusing him of conspiring against a man’s life by joining with another in charging him with an unnatural crime. We may inform Mr Donnelly, who, judging from his statements, appears to have been misled by some malicious scoundrel, that Mr Cleghorn is a justice of the peace, a gentleman in extensive business as a storekeeper on the Rocky, is much respected, and is wholly incapable of being guilty of such a dastardly action as that imputed to him.

    Again, with respect to the transfer of Lillycrap’s selection Mr Donnelly has also been misinformed. More than 12 months had elapsed since the selection was taken up by Lillycrap before he transferred it, and then the transfer, which is perfectly legal, was made from Lillycrap to a man named Bishop. Moreover, the selection is still in Bishop’s name, not Mr Cleghorn’s, and since the transfer Bishop has selected an additional area of 80 acres.

    It is really going beyond any privileges which can be fairly claimed for members of the Assembly to make such unfounded statements, and we believe that Mr Cleghorn and Mr Blythe have just cause for complaint that they should be slandered in such a manner through the gross imprudence of a member.

    To his credit, Mr Pickering said he was astonished that the matter referred to, having occurred in his electorate, had not been entrusted to him. Mr Donnelly, however, had brought it forward in a very crude and imperfect form, the case being altogether founded on an ex parte statement. He thought Mr Donnelly would have done better had he first laid the particulars before the Secretary for Lands, instead of bringing them before the House. We think so too, and that Mr Donnelly, when he next takes a case in hand, should previously see if it has any foundation.


1     The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, (NSW), Sat 27 Aug 1864, p. 2. Emphasis added.

2     The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, (NSW), Sat 22 Oct 1864, p. 2.

3     The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, (NSW), Sat 29 Oct 1864, pp. 2, 3. Emphasis added.

4     Albury Banner and Wodonga Express, (NSW), Fri 24 Aug 1900, p. 4.


    Old residents of Albury will remember Judge [Henry Ralph] Francis, who used years ago to preside here as Judge at the sessions and District Court. We have just now read the following from the English news:— ‘The death is recorded at Bath, at the age of 88 years, of Mr Francis, formerly a judge in New South Wales, and the last of the family of Sir Philip Francis, the alleged author of ‘Junius’s Letters.’ Junius’ was certainly the most successful authors in concealing his identity, for albeit an enormous weight of testimony goes to prove that Francis wrote the letters, the authorship is even now not absolutely certain, and this statement rests on the good authority that Lord Chatham told his famous son, Mr Pitt, that he knew who ‘Junius’ was, and that he was not Francis. Elucidation was promised at the death, long after that of her husband, of Lady Francis, but did not come; and it is scarcely likely that the death of the venerable gentleman just deceased will throw light on the mystery’.”

5     “Office held: Judge of the District Courts for the Northern District of New South Wales, 01/07/1861 - 30/04/1865 Chairman of the Northern District Quarter Sessions, 01/07/1861 - 30/04/1865 Judge of the District Courts for the South-western District of New South Wales, 01/05/1865 - 07/06/1875 Chairman of the South-western District Quarter Sessions, 01/05/1865 - 07/06/1875.” Source: https://www.records.nsw.gov.au/person/193

6     The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser, (NSW), Sat 31 Mar 1866, p. 2. Emphasis added.