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The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Tue 21 Jun 1870 1

Before His Honor Judge Francis.

THE JUNE Quarter Sessions opened yesterday morning. His Honor took his seat at five minutes past ten. Mr Forbes prosecuted for the Crown. The following legal gentlemen were also present:—Messrs Allman, Wilkinson, Dease, GM Stephen (barrister), and Gordon (from Young).

    Mr Forbes addressed his honor during the calling of the jurors names by the deputy clerk of the peace (Mr AG Shadforth), and asked him to excuse Mr T Barber from serving on the jury owing to the severe indisposition of Mrs Barber. Mr Forbes also mentioned that Mr Barber was on the commission of the peace.

    The deputy clerk of the peace stated that Mr Barber had not yet been sworn in.

    His honor observed that he wished it to be understood that apart from the special circumstance mentioned, he was not in favour of the omission of justices of the peace from the jury list. He considered that their presence would give great weight to the administration of justice now that by the District Courts Act the judge was made sole chairman of Quarter Sessions. If they were on the jury they would lend it the weight of their experience, character, and position, and for that reason he would not have allowed the nomination of Mr Barber to the commission of the peace to have been an excuse for his not serving. If Mr Barber were ready he would administer to him the oaths.

    Mr Barber then took the usual oaths, and was excused attendance on the jury.


    Lewis [aka Louis] Dominique was charged with having attempted to commit the above offence [on James Porter] at Murrumburrah, on the 11th April, 1870.

    (The details of the case are of course unfit for publication.)

    After about half an hour’s deliberation, the jury returned into court with a verdict of guilty, and his honor remarked that he did not see how they could come to any other conclusion from the evidence which had been put before them. The prisoner was then removed for sentence.

    Whilst the jury were deliberating in the above case, Mr W McBean came before his honor and took the usual oaths on his appointment to the commission of the peace.

    His honor then told all jurors, except those empanelled for the ensuing case, that they might consider themselves at liberty until two o’clock. He remarked that a decision had been recently arrived at by the Supreme Court which he felt it to be his duty to conform to and not to comment on. The decision was that a verdict is not bad in law—causes no mis-trial—when the jurors who deliver it have been permitted to have some refreshment while considering their verdict, but that the judge who gave them permission so to do did wrong. The decision held such a verdict good, but also held that the case would require the prisoner affected by such a verdict to be set at liberty. That being the view held by the highest tribunal in the country, he would not risk anything by allowing any indulgence to jurors, whatever might be to his own private opinion in the matter. He would not desire that a man pronounced after deliberation to be guilty should by such a course be set at liberty as innocent. He would therefore recommend jurors to make provision by a good meal against being placed in such a case—as distressing to them as it would prove to him. At all events for the reason stated he would not be able to allow refreshment henceforward to jurors.


    WINDOW BREAKING.—Some mischievous young rascals have broken several panes of glass in St Andrew’s Church, Yass. It would serve such boys right if their committal to the lockup, on bread and water, for a few days could be secured.

  A MATCH between Mr M Reardon’s g. h. Volunteer, 6 yrs, and Mr Remmington’s g. h. Little Rat, 5 yrs, came off last Saturday afternoon at Waroo. There were about thirty persons present, and considerable interest was taken in the sport. Owing to the wet, only the above event came off, and the start in that was not effected until about three o’clock. Mr Remmington, we hear, showed a disposition not to bring his horse to the scratch, but on obtaining the odds of 12 to 10, consented to the race—and lost it. The ground was not so heavy as might have been expected.

    THE WEATHER has been exceedingly capricious since Friday last, which was a miserably cold and wet day. On Saturday the river was considerably swollen. On Sunday the weather was changeable, but before midnight had settled to fine. Yesterday there was a slight frost in the morning, succeeded by clear and welcome sunshine.

    THE STATE OF COOMA-STREET is very bad. We see a few heaps of stones laid here and there as if for breaking and metalling, and so live in hope that something is about to be done to remedy the evil.

    THE REGISTRAR SHIP OF BIRTHS, DEATHS, AND MARRIAGES.—Mr John Harpur has been appointed acting-registrar for Yass, until the arrival of Mr L Yates, the new Clerk of Petty Sessions.

    THE QUARTER SESSIONS.—Last Friday the Sheriff (Mr Harold Maclean) appointed Dr Blake to act as deputy sheriff during the present sessions. Yesterday Dr Blake acted in the above capacity.

    MR SHADFORTH.—We regret to report that Mr Shadforth’s state of health is such as almost to have necessitated him to relinquish the duties connected with his temporary appointment of Clerk of Petty Sessions and District Court Registrar; but we trust that he will soon be sufficiently recovered to enable him to prosecute his duties as secretary to the Gold Commission. Yesterday in the Court of Quarter Sessions it was as much as he could do to fulfil the duties of deputy clerk of the peace.

    WOOD STEALING is a phase of petty larceny at present rather prevalent. The delinquents are not particular, and steal palings, rails, and billet wood with equal impunity. A successful conviction in the Police Court might mend matters.

    PUBLIC SCHOOL AT YOUNG.—Mr W Fletcher has been appointed a member of the public School Board at Young.

    THE MYLORA LEAD MINE.—The 40 acre lease at Mylora, held by Mr CL Throckmorton for mining purposes other than gold, has become cancelled for non-compliance by the lessee with the conditions of section 22 of the Crown Lands Occupation Act of 1861.

    THE MAIL FROM YOUNG TO MARSDEN'S.—We have received the following letter, dated the 17th inst. We print it verbatim et literatim, as it is a curiosity of mispelling [sic], &c:—“I saw a report a week or two back Complaneing of the mail not getting to marsden on two ah kesions and the Caus was by floods the roads was emposebel to travel the report was that travelers should travel the some road. But it Can be pruved that the did not travel the main road there was a man want from Curraburma to marsden at the time But he went a road of his own whare the mailman is seposed to keep the main road the time ahluded to it was emposebel for any person to travel the main road as the hole plase was covered by water for miles and miles in everry derection there was a Lad 14 or 15 years of age started from marsden to Cunva a letter to Curraberrma a distents of 30 miles when 20 miles of Jurney was over in crossing a blind Creek was by sum mens dround and that ma be the mailmans doom if he should a tempt to Cross these Creeks in time of flood.”

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Empire, Thu 23 Jun 1870 2

    A telegram from Yass on Tuesday night states:—At the quarter sessions yesterday Lewis Dominique, charged with an assault with intent to commit an unnatural offence at Murrumburrah, was found guilty;

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The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Fri 24 Jun 1870 3

MONDAY, JUNE 20.—(continued.)


    His Honor took his seat at ten o’clock.


    At a quarter-past two, his honor proceeded to sentence the four prisoners, who had been remanded for that purpose.

    Assault with intent to commit an unnatural offence at Murrumburrah.—Lewis Dominique; two years with hard labour in Darlinghurst gaol.

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The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Wed 12 Oct 1870 4



    Before the police-magistrate.


    ATTEMPT AT PRISON-BREAKING.—About eight o’clock on Monday night Warder Buckley, while on duty in the jail yard noticed that some bricks had been removed from a portion of the building adjoining one of the cells on the ground-floor. He reported the circumstance to the jailer, Mr Walker, who immediately went to the cell, which is occupied by a prisoner named Louis Dominique, who is under sentence of two years’ imprisonment from the Yass quarter-sessions for attempting to commit an unnatural offence. On examination Mr Walker found that two of the boards had been removed, having been carefully cut through apparently with a knife, and a hole of some considerable size made in the wall; and that but for the vigilance of the warder Dominique would have stood a good chance of effecting his escape. On finding that his operations were discovered, Dominique, who is a Frenchman, said that he wanted to go to fight the Prussians. An investigation into the matter has been commenced before the visiting justice, Mr Allman.

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The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Sat 11 Feb 1871 5


THIS court opened on Wednesday before his Honor Judge McFarland. Mr E Lee prosecuted for the crown. The other legal gentlemen present were Messrs Walsh, Gannon, and Betts. Mr FRL Rossi acted as clerk of arraigns. JJ Allman, PM, represented the sheriff.



    His Honor took his seat on the bench at ten minutes past ten o’clock.


    Louis Dominique, a prisoner under a sentence of two years’ imprisonment for an attempted unnatural offence, was charged with having, on the 10th October, endeavoured to break out of Goulburn jail.

    Prisoner pleaded not guilty and was undefended.

  The crown prosecutor stated the case to the jury and called.

    Constable Macarthy, who deposed: I am stationed at Yass; I remember the prisoner being convicted on the 11th April last at Yass, before Judge Francis for an unnatural offence, and sentenced to two years’ hard labor in Darlinghurst gaol.

    Matthew Walker deposed: I am jailor at Goulburn; I hold a letter from the under secretary empowering me to keep the prisoner in Goulburn jail; on the night of the 8th October I received information from one of the wardens on duty, upon which I went to the north side of the jail and there saw a break in the wall; there was brick lying on the ground, and another loose; the air-brick of the cell was also taken out; I afterwards found the air-brick ion the cell; I went into the cell and found that two of the floor-boards had been moved from the floor and stood up against the wall; prisoner was in the cell at this time; I said “what is this you have been doing here;” he replied “the boards were loose and I was looking into the hole;” I then removed the prisoner to another cell; I found an excavation under the floor; part of the foundation was removed; one of the warders found among the rubbish the handle of a saucepan; some of the boards had been cut, and the ends were black; we also found a piece of twisted rope made of part of a hammock; a knife was also found and handed to me by the chief warder.

    To prisoner: Buckley told me he pushed the bricks out with his bayonet; you told me the boards had been cut for the last two months; I asked you how long it took you to cut the boards through.

    John Youngman deposed: I am a warder in Goulburn jail; I don’t know how long the prisoner has been in this jail; I examined the cell at five o’clock on the evening of the 10th October; all was correct; prisoner was alone in that cell.

    Jeremiah Frewin deposed: I am chief-warder of the Goulburn jail; the prisoner had occupied his cell about six weeks; I had been in the habit of visiting it daily; on the 11th October I went to prisoner’s cell and found two boards taken up and a breach made in the wall; several bricks were thrown under the floor of the cell; a search was made and the knife produced found; I don’t think the prisoner could then have escaped, but he could have done so in time; I told the prisoner I was sorry he had made a fool of himself, and he said it could not be helped; I asked him how long he had been trying to make his escape, and he said about a month; prisoner told me he had applied to Mr Cashman, the late jailer, and the sheriff to remove him to another jail; he said if he had had employment he would never have attempted to do it.

    To his Honor: The average number of prisoners in jail is about seventy; there are two tinsmiths and one carpenter in the gaol; I cannot tell who occupied the cell before th prisoner; the cells are examined every evening; I believe the prisoner applied to the last jailer for employment; there is very little work for the prisoners to do in the jail.

    To prisoner: You never told me that everything had been done before you entered the cell; I never told you to plead guilty and it would be all right; you told me it had taken you a month to cut the board and brickwork away; I never dictated any statement to you.

    This closed the case for the crown.

    For the defence, prisoner called three witnesses, who were examined by his Honor.

    William Stewart, a prisoner from Goulburn jail, deposed: Prisoner made a statement to me about what he had discovered in his cell; this was five or six weeks before the warders made the discovery; I went into the cell, lifted two boards, and this was two or three days after the prisoner had been put into the cell; I saw that there was a hole in the wall; I believe a prisoner on transit had occupied the cell previously.

    Thomas Rayner, a prisoner from Darlinghurst jail, gave similar evidence to the prisoner Stewart.

    Martin Buckley, a warder, deposed: The brick was very loose, and I pushed it out with the bayonet; prisoner told me his did not make the hole; the boards were standing up; I put my hand in the hole and found the bricks removed; I never before noticed any of the boards removed.

    Prisoner addressed the jury, stating that he was serving a sentence for a crime of which he was innocent. The boards were cut and the bricks removed long before he entered the cell, and therefore he could not have done it. He had asked for employment of the late jailer, who had told him to go about his business. The hole was too small for a man to get out; but if it had been large enough and an opportunity offered he would have endeavoured to escape.

    His Honor summed up, the jury retired, and after an absence of three-quarters of an hour returned into court with a verdict of not guilty.

    There being no other case for trial, his Honor discharged the jury.


1  The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Tue 21 Jun 1870, pp. 2, 3. Latter part of the article transcribed as found.

2  Empire, Thu 23 Jun 1870, p. 2.

3  The Yass Courier and General Advertiser, Tue 21 Jun 1870, pp. 2, 3.

4  The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Wed 12 Oct 1870, p. 2.

5  The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle, Sat 11 Feb 1871, p. 4. Emphasis added.