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The Newcastle Sun, Thu 29 Jul 1920 1


    Cecil Burriss (32), plumber, of Donald-street, Hamilton, was charged at the Newcastle Court this afternoon with having behaved in an offensive manner at Hamilton on July 2. He was further charged with having assaulted a woman on the same date.

    Constable Brady stated that Burriss was found wearing the lower portions of a pair of trousers, but there was no covering between his knees and the bottom of his shirt. He frequented Tudor-street, Hamilton.

    A single woman gave evidence that on the night of July 2 she was on her way home, and when at the corner of Gordon-avenue and James-street a man came from behind a lamp-post and offended her. He caught hold of her raincoat, but she pulled it away.

    Loss of self-control at certain times was defendant’s explanation for going about in his costume. He denied that he was near the scene of the occurrence on July 2. He suffered from a terrible disease.

    Called by the defence, Dr Idris Morgan said that he had cured cases of persons suffering from the disease.


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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 30 Jul 1920 2

Friday [sic–Wednesday], July 28.
(Before Mr W Le Brun Brown, SM.)


    Three first offenders, who were locked up for drunkenness on the preceding day and did not appear, had their bonds forfeited. Mary McIntyre, 51, domestic duties, who was remanded from the previous day, on a charge of drunkenness and disorderly conduct, was convicted and fined 5s, or three hours’ detention. Defendant was also charged with being an inebriate, and on the evidence of Dr Clark and Inspector Hood was ordered to be sent to the Shaftesbury Institute at Sandgate for twelve months.


    Cecil Burris [aka Burriss], 31, plumber, was charged with improper behaviour at Hamilton on July 2, and in view of the peculiar circumstances of the case, and the medical evidence, the magistrate suspended a sentence of six months’ imprisonment in Maitland Gaol, upon defendant finding a surety of £30 to be of good behaviour for twelve months, and undertaking to conform to certain stipulations. Mr Nelson appeared for defendant.

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The Newcastle Sun, Wed 4 Aug 1920 3


    Cecil Burriss (31), plumber, was charged in the Newcastle court to-day, with having unlawfully assaulted a woman at Broadmeadow, on July 24. Mr Nelson, who defended, entered a plea of not guilty.

    Constable Woods stated that the assault took place near Young-street, Broadmeadow.

    The young woman, who appeared to be about 18 years old, said that she left the Catholic Church at 6.40 pm, and went towards her home in Lambton-road, Broadmeadow, Young-road separated the two roads. She saw a man standing underneath the trees. She passed him and he followed. She went along the tramline through the park. Later the man said “Good night,” when he was 100 yards away from her. She did not answer and he ran towards her. He caught her arm and said: “Good-night, kid.” She ran away but he followed and grabbed her two arms. They slipped into a stormwater gully. She struck him and screamed. He placed that fingers of his right hand in her mouth and she bit his fingers. He then put his left hand in her mouth. He struck her on the shoulder and after she struggled she ran away and called for help. Her macintosh was torn in the struggle. She reached home a few minutes before seven o’clock.


    She identified the accused at the Hamilton police station. At the time of the assault the man did not wear an overcoat. The man walked with a limp, and that was why she asked all the men lined up at the police station to walk.

    Catherine Anderson and Elizabeth Hilton said that screams were heard and they went out and saw the young woman in an agitated condition.

    Accused Burriss stated that he had tea at his home at six o’clock with his father, mother, and sister. After tea he changed his clothes, and at about a quarter past seven o’clock he left the house for his brother-in-law’s home in Lindsay-street. Ten minutes after his arrival there he left the house for his own home with a parcel of crockery and cake. He met Bern Gray at 7.30 and went to the pictures at Islington.


    He showed his hands to the magistrate and said that the marks on his fingers and hands were due to accidents while working.

    Accused said he was near the place where the assault was alleged to have taken place that night. He walked with a limp.

    The magistrate: When did you get those small marks on your right fingers?

    Accused: That is paint.

    The magistrate: They look to me very like teeth bites.


    Cristina Burriss and William Burriss, a railwayman, mother and father of the accused, stated that their son was in their house between five o’clock and seven o’clock on the night of July 24. Neither noticed any wounds on his right hand on July 25, but he often received cuts and knocks while working.

    Amy Florence Reeves, sister of the defendant, and Mordan Reeves, brother-in-law, said that Burriss went to their house between seven o’clock and a quarter-past seven.

    Vernon Gray stated that he went to the pictures at Islington at 7.30 pm with accused.


    “The evidence proved to be very strong,” said the magistrate. “She bit his fingers on the right hand, and those two little spikes or cuts in his knuckle, if not made by teeth,, were done by some sharp instrument.”

    Burriss was fined £10, and was ordered to pay 8s witness’ expenses and £2 2s 6d, representing damage done to a raincoat, or in default three months’ imprisonment.

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The Newcastle Sun, Thu 5 Aug 1920 4



    In the report of yesterday’s police court case, in which Cecil Burriss was charged with having assaulted a woman at Broadmeadow, it was stated “accused said he was near the place where the assault was alleged to have taken place that night.” It should have read “accused denied he was near the place.” Burriss declared that he was in his father’s house from six o’clock until a quarter-past seven.

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The Newcastle Sun, Thu 2 Sep 1920 5


    At the Newcastle Quarter Sessions to-day Cecil Burriss, of Hamilton, appealed against an order made by Mr Le Brun Brown, SM, on August 4, whereby the magistrate convicted him for an assault on a girl at Broadmeadow on July 24, and fined him £10.

    Mr Nelson appeared for the appellant, while Mr Dawson, Crown Prosecutor, watched the case for the police.

    The appeal was based on the grounds that he was not guilty, that the conviction and order were against evidence and the weight of the evidence, and that he had fresh evidence to adduce.

    Witnesses in the police court case were re-examined.

    Dr Idris Morgan said that he had examined Burriss’ right hand on August 4, and found that the cut on one of the knuckles could not have been made by a girl’s teeth.

    “I don’t want to say any more about it than I can help,” said Acting Judge Mocatta, in dismissing the case. “I cannot bring myself to believe that this young girl knew anything whatever about this young man or his amenities, and I cannot believe that she could deliberately identify the man as her assailant without having substantial grounds. With regard to the alibi, I have been a practitioner for a good many years. I have set them up myself on occasions, and know how strong they are when witnesses are definite as to times, and how weak they are when they are indefinite as to times.”

    The conviction was upheld, with £5 5s costs.

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Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 3 Sep 1920 6

Thursday, September 2.
(Before his Honor, Acting Judge
Mocatta; Mr AF Dawson, Crown


    Cecil Burriss appealed against a conviction for assault on a female at Broadmeadow on July 24, recorded at the Newcastle Police Court on August 4. A fine of £10, with costs totalling £2 10s 6d, was imposed on that occasion. Mr Nelson appeared for appellant, and Mr AF Dawson in support of the conviction. The grounds of appeal were that appellant was not guilty; that the conviction was against the weight of evidence; and that appellant had fresh evidence to adduce. Dr I Morgan, the additional witness called by the appellant, deposed that on August 4 he examined the hands of Burriss, and formed an opinion that a mark on his right index finger could not have been caused by a bit from a girl. Constable Wood s was recalled by the Crown, and stated that on July 31 he examined Burriss’ hands, and on the middle finger of the right hand saw two distinctive punctures below the knuckle. Another mark on the index finger of the right hand was more forward in healing. His Honor dismissed the appeal, stating he could not bring himself to believe that the young girl, who knew nothing of the appellant or his amenities, would identify him as her assailant unless she had substantial grounds for doing so. Dealing with the alibi which the appellant set out to establish, his Honor said he had heard a good many, and knew how strong they were when absolutely and precise, and how weak when there was an indefiniteness about them. Appellant was ordered to pay costs of £5 5s to the clerk of the peace within fourteen days.


1     The Newcastle Sun, (NSW), Thu 28 Jul 1920, p. 5. Emphasis added.

2     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 30 Jul 1920, p. 7.

3     The Newcastle Sun, (NSW), Wed 4 Aug 1920, p. 5. Emphasis added.

4     The Newcastle Sun, (NSW), Thu 5 Aug 1920, p. 5.

5     The Newcastle Sun, (NSW), Thu 2 Sep 1920, p. 5. Emphasis added.

6     Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, Fri 3 Sep 1920, p. 7. Emphasis added.