William Brauner, 1913
Below also see: Neville Maurice Harris and William Brauner, 1926 – Sodomy
William Brauner, 1934
The Daily Telegraph, Fri 31 Jan 1913 1
(Before Judge Docker and a Jury.)
William Brauner, a young man, was charged with a serious offence against a girl. Mr Gannon, KC, (instructed by Mr HE McIntosh) represented the accused.
Brauner denied the charge, and the jury, after deliberating till 6 o’clock, returned a verdict of not guilty. The accused was thereupon discharged.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 31 Jan 1913 2
(Before Judge Docker and Juries.)
Mr Herbert Harris, Crown Prosecutor.
A SERIOUS CHARGE.
William Brauner, 18, described as an electrician in the employ of the City Council, was arraigned on three charges of committing a serious offence in respect to a girl aged 15 years, during August, October, and November, 1912.
Mr Gannon, KC, instructed by Mr The McIntosh, appeared to defend accused.
The Crown relied upon the evidence of the girl and her mother, supported by entries made in a diary kept by the girl, which were alleged to refer to the accused.
The defence was a complete denial of the charges. Three witnesses—a brother and two cousins of the accused—supported the accused’s denial.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 1 Feb 1913 3
(Before Judge Docker and juries.)
Crown Prosecutor, Mr Herbert Harris.
The jury returned a verdict of not guilty in the case in which the young man William Bruner was charged with a serious offence, and Bruner was discharged.
Neville Maurice Harris and William Brauner, 1926
The Brisbane Courier, Wed 8 Sep 1926 4
TWO MEN ARRESTED.
“A VERY SERIOUS CASE.”
Sydney, September 7.
At the Central Police Court to-day allegations of shocking outrage on a young girl were made, when William Brauner (29), an engineer, and Neville Harris (19) an agent, were charged with having assaulted a girl. Sergeant Dennis said it was alleged that the girl was walking near Martin Place, when three young men came along, including the two defendants. She was forcibly carried to a motor car and taken to Bondi Junction to a shop owned it is said, by a relation of one of the men. The girl was now in a very serious condition.
The defendants were remanded until September 14, bail being allowed. The magistrate said that on the facts as stated it was a very serious case.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 8 Sep 1926 5
Before Mr Perry, SM, at the Central Police Court yesterday, William Brauner, aged 29 years, engineer, and Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, were charged with assaulting a young women with intent to commit a serious offence. They were also charged with committing indecency. Mr RD Meagher appeared for Harris.
Sergeant Dennis (police prosecutor) in asking for a remand, said that the police alleged that three men, including defendants, had forced the girl into a car in Pitt-street, about 8 pm on Saturday. Taking her to a shop at Bondi the two defendants had assaulted her. She was now in a serious nervous condition.
The magistrate granted a remand until September 14, bail being fixed in each case at £400. The defendants were ordered to report daily at the Clarence-street police station.
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The Brisbane Courier, Fri 24 Sep 1926 6
TWO MEN CHARGED.
Sydney, September 23.
At the Central Police Court to-day William Brauner (29), an engineer, and Neville Harris (19), an agent, were charged with having assaulted a girl on September 4, and at the same time having committed an act of indecency. There was another charge of a revolting character, [sodomy]. When the order was made to clear the court, Mr Meagher, for the accused, said that, in view of the publicity given to the allegations and the publicity given to the case, his clients courted the fullest inquiry.
Detective Sergeant Thornley said that when he saw the two defendants in Harris’ office, Harris said: “What is it?” Detective Sergeant Thornley replied to Harris: “It is alleged that you and two other men took up a girl outside your office on Saturday night and drove her to your father’s boot shop at Bondi, where she suffered unspeakable crimes.” Harris replied that he and Brauner were att the Palais Royal from 8 o’clock until 1.30 o’clock on the night of the alleged offences.
The case is proceeding.
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Truth, Sun 3 Oct 1926 7
A CAR, SOME MEN, A GIRL, A DRIVE—THEN
NOW WANTED—THIRD MAN IN THE CASE
The Young Woman Again Faces Barrage
of Questions and
Counsel For Defence
That God Was With Her On That Night
BONDI CASE ADJOURNED TO FIND A WITNESS
Who is the mysterious and unnamed “third” man who is said to have been in the motor car in which Olga Hay was kidnapped, according to her own account, and taken to the Bondi Junction shop, there to go through alleged unmentionable indignities at the hands of two men?
That third man may now become a big figure in a big case. He is a resident of another State and he is, according to Mr RD Meagher who defends Harris, a reputable business man, the owner of motor cars.
Mr Meagher secured an adjournment of the hearing this week, saying that he was endeavouring to get this man, whom he regarded as a vital witness, and he uttered a veiled threat that if the man did not come by invitation, he might be brought as a witness compelled by process of the court.
AFTERNOON sunlight, pouring diffusedly through the high ventilators of No. 2 Court at the Central, bathed softly the finely chiselled features of a young and pretty woman.
Mr Kidston, Brauner’s advocate, declared that it was extraordinary that the police had not produced him.
And so no more of the case until Wednesday, when it is expected that the anonymous man will appear as a witness.
When the hearing re-commenced last Monday the first move was the appearance of Solicitor Cliff Penny, who asked permission to appear on behalf of the principal witness, Olga Hay, to watch her interests and protect her.
Mr Penny announced that learned counsel for the two accused were raising no objection, so his appearance was entered without comment.
Brauner and Harris sat behind their legal representatives as before.
Both were intently interested in proceedings, but neither displayed any deep concern, or, at least, not outwardly.
Sometimes Brauner would lean forward, fold his arms on the back of a chair which was in front of him, and then rest his head on his arms, never once, though, taking his eyes off the girl in the witness box.
SHE WAS STUDIED
She went through further hours of questioning, seeming to become more wearied as time went on, but she did not display the same overwrought tendency to faint as had been apparent before when giving her evidence-in-chief.
All her testimony on Monday and Wednesday last was given in a hushed whisper, a tone quite inaudible to most people in the court.
Sitting alongside him in the court all during the hearing of the first two days of the Bondi case,, Mr Meagher had an associate solicitor taking copious notes, to which Mr Meagher referred.
Advocates stood beside the witness box, and, speaking confidentially in the girl’s ear, made their questions as temperate and as gentle as possible.
She answered in husky whispers which the advocates repeated to the court and the deposition clerk.
Without repetitions it would have been quite impossible to know what she was saying, and even then the point as to what she did say was raised more than once, causing, at least, one incident of unpleasantness between the prosecutor and Mr Kidston.
The casual observer might have been forgiven for thinking that it was the magistrate’s province to ask Olga Hay to tell her story in a clear voice, such as that she had used when the case began, but apparently Mr Jennings considered that the girl should be studied in every conceivable way.
Anyhow, he made no such request of her.
And for her part, she seemed well content to go on whispering in broken sentences, what she had to say.
The first questions of Mr Meagher concerned her health, and she said that she had had fainting fits ever since she could remember. She had been to a doctor at Marrickville and at Coogee during the past five or six years.
But questioning had not got far when the first statement she had made officially—that given to Policewoman Miss Armfield on the Monday after these events—came into evidence.
Mr Meagher asked the prosecution to produce this document.
Sergeant Dennis: It’s not in court.
Mr Meagher: Perhaps this is rather a bold step, but I want all cards on the table.
The Magistrate: I think it should be produced.
Sergeant: But, it is an official document.
Magistrate: In criminal proceedings, where men are being tried for their lives, it may be. It is a new thing for the Crown to endeavor to hide such things. “Procedure in Evidence” says that a witness may be cross-examined on such a statement, so it is quite evident that the statement must be available for the court.
Mr Meagher, with emphasis, as he sat down: I won’t proceed with my cross-examination until it is produced.
Sergeant: We have had no notice to produce it.
Magistrate: It is the duty of the Crown to produce all evidence, whether it be in favor or against the accused.
Mr Meagher: this is an unparalleled attitude in a court of British Justice. The Chairman of the Stipendiary Bench, with 30 years experience, has stated the law. There is an attempt to subvert this document, and it looks like a persecution and not a prosecution.
It is intolerable that the business of the court should be held up by the defiance of the Police Prosecutor. Our time is valuable. I’ve heard of the tail that wagged the dog, but never of the official able to paralyse the Chairman of the Bench, barristers like Mr Kidston, and humble practitioners like myself.
Having got that off his chest, Mr Meagher took another breath, and proceeded to further indict the prosecution.
“This is an integral part of my cross-examination,” he said. “Your Worship hasn’t the power to commit the officer for contempt of court for such an offence as this, but it is a great pity that the liberty of any person should be jeopardised y the prejudicial and unfair attitude of the Prosecutor.”
Sergeant Dennis listened to this with a good humored smile, and then declared that the document was not in court so that it could not be produced—immediately.
“The document will be sent for,” he added, “and it will be here in the course of a few minutes. If I had been informed that it was wanted, it would have been here in the first place.”
And in that simple way the whole of the storm blew over, the black clouds went scurrying away across the horizon, and proceedings went on in amity.
The document, brought by Sergeant Thornley, was in court within ten minutes. Meanwhile, questioning the girl on other matters was proceeded with.
Unusually distressing queries unnerved the girl to a certain extent. She sighed audibly at times, swayed just a little and was refreshed at intervals from a glass of water held by Policewoman Paulette.
“When the coat was lifted off your head in the car where was the car?” asked Mr Meagher.
A DRUNKEN SCREAM
“I don’t know,” she whispered.
Were you helped out of the car or dragged out of the car when it got to the shop?—I don’t remember.
Why don’t you remember? Were you still unconscious?—I was in a semi-conscious state.
Just then a wild and whisky-stimulated feminine voice, long past its palmy days, rent the air of the court. It came from the corridor to the cells at the back, and it howled rather than sang a particularly bleary and uncertain version of “Home Sweet Home.”
To the average court habitue it sounded almost funny, but to the distressed girl in the witness-box it was yet another ordeal. The shrill, uncanny, and unrestrained shriek of the alcoholic cell inmate seemed to upset her a great deal.
She was silent for a while, and when further examined reiterated that she was only semi-conscious when being taken into the shop.
“Are you going to answer all my questions with the statement that you were semi-conscious?” demanded Mr Meagher.
She did not reply.
You say that the three men went into the shop?—Yes.
“We’ve had the soft pedal on the third man,” muttered Mr Meagher.
Do you swear that the third man was not sitting down on a seat in the shop?—I don’t know.
Do you swear that you didn’t see the third man there?—I don’t know.
HER INJURED LIP
Referring to the girl’s return home that night, he asked her what she told her aunt, and she admitted that she had said to her that she had a fall at the Bondi Casino, a dancing academy to which she had been about a dozen times in all.
You went to sleep with that lie on your lips?—I never went to sleep.
In the morning your aunt saw your injured lip and expressed astonishment that your dancing partner had not been able to hold you up. Did you tell her the truth then?—No. I told her on Sunday afternoon, and my statement that I told her on Sunday morning is not correct.
Later she told Mr Kidston that her aunt had communicated with the police before the forewoman where she works, but she did not know this until afterwards.
Mr Meagher announced the close of his examination of Monday afternoon, but when the court resumed again on Wednesday he had “a few more questions” which opened up lines of investigation which led him on to several dozen interrogations.
“When did the third man disappear that night?” he queried.
“I don’t know, I went into the office of the shop, and didn’t see him after that,” answered Olga Hay, still speaking in whispers.
“Would it be correct to say that you went into the shop with the three men, stayed ten minutes, then came out together, and drove away, subsequently returning?” was the next question.
“Just think before giving your answer,” added Mr Meagher. “You understand what I’m putting to you.”
He then repeated the question, and the girl replied softly but firmly, “No.”
Then would it be correct for me to say that you drove with the three men to a certain building, and that the three men were ten minutes in the building while you were sitting in the car outside?—No.
Then it is not true that you returned to the shop twenty-five minutes after the first entry?—No.
From the time you got there first, at 8.30, you didn’t come out until after 11pm?—Yes.
And the third man?—He never spoke to me, and he didn’t interfere with me in any way.
This concluded absolutely Mr Meagher’s questions, and Mr Kidston took up the line of inquiry on behalf of Brauner.
The unhappy girl drank some more water, stirred restlessly, and faced another battery of queries.
She said, in answer to them, that she mixed and talked with lots of girls when she worked at David Jones’ establishment when only 15 years of age, and added that there were about eighty girls at the place where she now worked.
And were you never told by the girls that Pitt-street, near the Post Office, is an improper place for girls to walk alone at night?—No.
Do you know that that is reputed to be one of the chief haunts of a certain type of woman?—No.
I suppose there are some secluded spots at the Palais Royal, where you could sit out dances with a boy?—Yes.
And have you ever had to dismiss any of the boys you picked up there owing to too familiar conduct?—No, I have never had to do that.
Was Williams the only young man who took you right home from the Palais the first night he met you?—Yes. Some of the others have taken me to the ferry, or just to the tram.
And Williams made an appointment to see you on Saturday night, September 4?—Yes. He said he was going to take me to the Bondi Casino, but he didn’t turn up. I didn’t feel like going to the Casino alone, so I decided to go to a picture show.
The examination then again reverted to the intimate details of the night of horror which the girl had described.
She said that, in addition to threatening to kill her, Harris combined that utterance with another vile threat. That was why she feared to retaliate in at least one obvious way.
GOD WITH HER
Why didn’t you tell all these terrible things to Miss Armfield, a sympathetic woman, in your first statement?—I didn’t say those terrible things to her. I couldn’t. I told them to Detective Thornley, a man, but that was some days later.
Had you ever before heard the filthy expressions which you say were used to you that night?—No.
But you remembered them all?—Yes. God was with me.
How could you remember the words?—It was something I’ll never forget.
How is it that you didn’t faint?—I might have fainted. I think I did. Did you initiate this prosecution?—(after hesitation) I wanted them to be prosecuted.
When you said, “God was with you,” what did you mean?—I mean that they didn’t harm me in a certain way.
Have you been working since these happenings?—Yes. I was in bed one day, but I have been at work except when I have had to come to court.
Have you ever been hysterical?—Yes. I’m highly strung. Sometimes I get upset, but I don’t know whether it’s exactly hysteria.
This concluded her cross-examination, and she sighed with relief.
The next witness was a smart young man who gave his name as Donovan Williams, a builder’s laborer, of Verley, Francis-street, Lidcombe, at present working in Fletcher-street, Bondi.
While Williams was delivering these initial particulars, the permission of the magistrate was sought to allow the girl to leave the court. This was readily granted, and escorted by a policewoman she slowly walked out.
The question was at once raised by the magistrate, when the door had closed behind the girl, as to what sort of evidence Williams could give.
“I propose to show that he had an appointment with Olga Hay that night, as she has sworn in her evidence,” said the Prosecutor.
Mr Kidston objected.
And at that the magistrate said that it had nothing to do with the case. The girl was not on trial, and the facts were that they had to meet, and didn’t meet. The police might as well call her aunt to ask where she had tea on Saturday night.
Accordingly Don Williams was asked to step down, and he was declared a scratched witness—no witness at all in fact.
Then followed the last Crown witness, Miss Lillian May Armfield , who related how she had interviewed the girl, and apprehended the two accused men, Harris and Brauner.
“YOU’D BETTER WAIT”
Miss Armfield told the court that at noon on Monday, September 6, she went with other officers to the fourth floor of 220 Pitt-street, saw a forewoman, and then saw the girl Olga Hay lying on chairs.
The girl was taken to the Central Police Station where a statement was made, and then, with Sergeant Thornley, she went to Rickard House, to the office bearing the name of Harris.
There was no one there so she kept guard, and in Thornley’s absence, Harris appeared.
She followed him into the office.
And following conversation enlivened their dull moments, according to Miss Armfield’s version.
“Are you Mr Harris?”
“Yes. Are you Mrs Armfield?”
“No.—I’m Miss Armfield.”
“What can I do for you?”
“I want you to stay here until Detective Thornley arrives.”
“What have I been doing?”
“I’d rather not discuss it. Detective Thornley will tell you.”
“What’s the trouble?”
“A girl made a complaint regarding you.”
Just then Brauner came in and Harris said to him, “This is Miss Armfield, a policewoman. I’m under arrest.”
“What for?” asked Brauner.
Harris replied, “Something about a girl.”
Then Brauner volunteered the information that they were at the Palais Royal together up to half-past eleven on Saturday night.
“I think I’ll be going,” said Brauner.
WOULDN’T DISCUSS IT
“I’d prefer you to wait,” said Miss Armfield.
“Oh, I think I’d better go,” added Brauner.
“I would rather that you wait until Detective Thornley comes,” reiterated Miss Armfield as she got up and closed the door with a business-like air.
Brauner took off his hat and sat down. “What age is the girl? Is she over 18?” he asked.
“I’d rather not discuss it with you,” said the policewoman again, and shortly afterwards Thornley came in and was introduced by Miss Armfield to Harris and Brauner.
She told him that they had said that they were out at the Palais together on the Saturday night, and he told them that it was alleged that three men in a car picked up Olga Hay outside their office, drove her to the boot shop of Harris’s father, and there committed unspeakable crimes.
Once more the statement was made that they were at the Palais Royal together. Harris told of being at the races in the afternoon, tea at Loosens, and then a dance at the Palais.
They were arrested.
Neither Mr Meagher nor Mr Kidston exercised the right to cross-examine Miss Armfield on her calm, clear and concise evidence.
A bombshell was dropped this week into the camp of William Brauner and Neville Harris, the two men held on capital charges, in connection with the alleged kidnapping and attacking of a girl in a Bondi Junction boot shop.
The case for the prosecution closed and then Mr Meagher asked for an adjournment.
“A third man has been mentioned as being in the car,” he stressed, “when the accused abduction took place, and he is also said to have entered the shop. That man is a reputable person, but a resident of another State, and my instructions are that the police know who he is and what State he belongs to. At this stage I want to put that person in the witness box and it is quite possible that I shall call other evidence.
“He is a business man, registered as the owner of cars himself, and I am doing my best to get in touch with him.
“I might be hampered by the natural reluctance of anybody to be associate with a case of this character, but in the interests of justice, natural feelings will have to be subverted, though I don’t want to use duress.
“I want everything to be fair and friendly in this matter, so I ask for an adjournment for a week to get this man. If he were a mythical person I would take no steps, but all though the evidence there is reference to this man whose evidence is most material.
“My attitude as to whether I will reserve my defence depends on this person.”
Mr Kidston joined in the application. “He ought to be here and I urge your Worship to grant this adjournment.”
The Magistrate’s sole comment was, “I can’t refuse it, if it’s in the interests of justice.”
Next Wednesday will see a further step in the sensational drama.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 6 Oct 1926 8
BURNING OF MOTOR CAR.
Charged with obtaining £275 from the South British Insurance Co by false pretences, Neville Maurice Harris, aged 19 years, agent, appeared before Mr Camphin, SM, at the Central Police Court yesterday. It was alleged that the defendant (who was represented by Mr RD Meagher) obtained the money on April 28 by pretending that a motor car, insured for £350 with the company, had accidentally caught alight through backfiring, about five miles from Gunning, New South Wales, and had been destroyed.
Detective-sergeant Thornley, who arrested Harris, stated, in evidence, that he said to defendant at Clarence-street Police Station: “Oswald Schmidt has made a statement alleging that you set fire to a motor car about five miles from Gunning, in April this year, and that you told the insurance company that the car had back-fired and caught alight.” Schmidt was present at the time, and Harris said” It did back-fire, didn’t it, Ossie?” Schmidt replied: “You said you fixed it.” Harris repeated that the car back-fired.
Oswald Cyril Schmidt, grazier, said that while he was travelling with Harris a tyre blew out, and witness set out across a paddock for assistance. He heard an explosion, and saw the car in flames. Harris was standing near the car. Witness ran back and heard Harris telling some other motorists that the car had back-fired, and that he had thrown sand on the flames. The engine was stationary when witness left the car, which was, however, now about 20 yards from its former position. Full tins of benzine and oil had been brought from Wagga, but witness saw Harris throw the oil tin, empty, across the road as he was hurrying across to the blazing car.
The hearing was adjourned until to-day, Harris being allowed bail in £200.
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The Brisbane Courier, Thu 7 Oct 1926 9
ALLEGATION OF KIDNAPPING.
Sydney, October 6.
In the Central Police Court to-day William Brauner (aged 29 years, engineer) and Neville Harris (aged 19 years, agent) were charged with having assaulted, on September 4, a girl, with intent to commit a serious offence, with indecency, and with an abominable offence, [sodomy]. It was alleged by the police that the defendants kidnapped the girl in Pitt-street on the night of September 4, and took her in a car to a shop at Bondi Junction.
Mr Jennings, CSM, found that a prima facie case had not been made out against the defendants on the charge of assault with intent, and he set it aside. On the other charge the accused were committed for trial. Bail of £200 was allowed in each case.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 7 Oct 1926 10
BURNING OF CAR.
Hearing was continued before Mr Camphin, SM, in the Central Police Court yesterday, of the case in which Neville Maurice Harris, aged 19 years, agent, was charged with obtaining £275 from the South British Insurance Company by false pretences. It is alleged that the defendant obtained the money on April 28 by pretending that a motor car, insured for £350 with the company, had accidentally caught alight through back-firing, about five miles from Gunning, New South Wales, and had been destroyed.
Mr RD Meagher appeared for Harris.
Cross-examined by Mr Meagher, Oscar Schmidt admitted making some false statements to the company’s assessor. Witness admitted having stated that he noticed the engine of the car “popping” about five miles from Gunning, and that all of a sudden the flames came up through the flooring boards.
Mr Camphin said that the thought a prima facie case had been made out on circumstantial evidence. “I would not send him for trial,” said the magistrate, “if the case rested entirely on the evidence of Schmidt, whom I regard to some extent as an accomplice. But some of the evidence seems to corroborate the story that the car was set alight wilfully.”
Harris was committed for trial, bail being fixed at £50.
TWO MEN COMMITTED FOR
Before Mr Jennings, CSM, at the Central Police Court, yesterday, William Brauner, aged 29 years, engineer, and Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, were charged with assaulting on September 4, a girl, with intent to commit a serious offence, with indecency, and with an abominable offence.
Mr RD Meagher appeared for Harris, and Mr RM Kidston (instructed by Mr H Hourigan) for Brauner.
It was alleged by the police that the defendants kidnapped the girl in Pitt-street on the night of September 4, and took her in a car to a shop at Bondi Junction.
Mr Jennings found that a prima facie case had not been made out against the defendants on the charge of assault with intent, and he set it aside. On the other charges the accused were committed for trial. Bail of £200 was allowed in each case.
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The Mercury, Fri 8 Oct 1926 11
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
William Brauner and Neville Harris have been committed for trial at Sydney on a serious charge, following the kidnapping of a girl on September 4.
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The West Australian, Fri 8 Oct 1926 12
ALLEGED ASSAULT ON GIRL.
TWO MEN CHARGED.
Sydney, Oct 6.
At the Central Police Court to-day, William Brauner (29), engineer, and Neville Harris (19), agent, were charged with assaulting on September 4 a girl with intent to commit a serious offence, with indecency, and with an abominable offence.
It was alleged by the police that the defendants kidnapped the girl in Pitt-street, on the night of September 4, and took her in a car to a shop at Bondi Junction.
Mr Jennings, CSM, found that a prima facie case had not been made out against the defendants on the charge of assault with intent, and he set it aside. On the other charges the accused were committed for trial. Bail of £200 was allowed in each case.
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Truth, Sun 10 Oct 1926 13
“It is not a question of how revolting the alleged circumstances are; it is merely a charge of indecent assault,” said Mr RD Meagher, after Mr Jennings had set aside the charge of attempted rape.
IN A JURY’S HANDS LIE THE FATES
OF BRAUNER AND HARRIS
THE “THIRD MAN” DOES NOT
ANOTHER GIRL ENTERS
TO THE TWO YOUNG MEN
HARRIS AND A CAR THAT
WAS BURNT UP
So matters stood at the close of Wednesday’s proceedings in the affairs of these two young men, the allegations against whom have been the subject of almost unprecedented speculation and comment of a sub-judicial nature during the past few weeks.
The police moves have come with dramatic suddenness—bewildering, no doubt, to the two principals in this sordid police court epic—and the completion of the first terrible phase came more suddenly perhaps than anyone connected with it had foreseen.
“We are taking no further steps at this stage,” said Mr Meagher, advocate for Harris, as soon as the court had been cleared on Wednesday morning, and that settled it.
It settled all prospects as to clearing up the mystery of the third man, who was said to have been in the car and on account of whom Mr Meagher had asked for a week’s remand.
“Who,” asked “Truth” last week, “is this mysterious and unnamed ‘third’ man, said to have been in the motor car in which Olga Hay was kidnapped, according to her own account, and taken to the Bondi Junction shop, there to go through alleged unmentionable indignities at the hands of two men?”
Who, thousands of tongues have repeated, is this reputable business man from another State, who, Mr Meagher said, was a vital witness, who “if he did not come by invitation, might be brought as a witness compelled by process of the court?”
Neville Harris entered the court, well-dressed and dapper, his florid face looking healthy.
NO FURTHER STEPS
For all that this “mystery man” was not there last Wednesday.
Harris was there, sitting in the usual place behind his advocate, showing, except perhaps for a very thought ful countenance, no signs of mental wear and tear; Brauner, sitting behind Mr Kidston, looked spruce neither outwardly nor inwardly; Olga Hay, the handsome young woman whose allegations brought about the whole proceedings, was mercifully not required in court.
There were three charges, each involving assaults of a different nature.
Mr Jennings, CSM, expedited matters with an immediate intimation that on the first capital charge the defendants should be discharged.
“Of course,” he added, “that does not say that the Attorney-General will not file a Bill.”
“We appreciate your Worship’s indulgence in the matter,” said Mr Meagher, by way of preface. “We are taking no further steps at this stage.
“In regard to the crime of abominable outrage,” he went on, “I ask your Worship to review the statement made by the prosecutrix, relying on details given of position on an eighteen-inch couch.”?
Mr Meagher brought his arguments, supported by the works of such eminent students of sex as Havelock Ellis, to adduce that the unnatural offence alleged to have been committed upon the girl was quite beyond human—or inhuman—possibility.
“One is confronted with the evidence of Dr Palmer,” counsel said, “that evidence of his examination of a person of small stature, who described revolting events quite incompatible with her injuries. All that he saw, a couple of days after, was such as might be compatible with perfectly natural physical causes. The scientific evidence of Dr Palmer does not synchronise with the evidence of the prosecutrix.
“In the last analysis the case resolves itself into indecent assault, in fact, Oscar Wilde was involved in an indecent assault of the nature alleged. The act of indecency mentioned in the first charge cannot be placed in the category ‘against the order of nature’. Whatever opinion we may have as to the fact of sexual behaviour or lasciviousness in this respect it cannot come under that category.
A FEW years ago William Brauner was known to all and sundry around Adelaide as one of the “sporty” boys of the town. His mother kept different hotels in and around the city, and with plenty of financial backing William blossomed forth as one of the fashion plates of the city.
“In view of the nature of the medical evidence, I intend to ask your Worship that the charge of abomination will be placed in the same category as that of intended criminal assault, and that, a prima facie case being made out on only one charge, this will be a matter of indecent assault upon a female above the age of 16.”
Mr Kidston put it that, as the young woman had definitely stated that Brauner never unnaturally assaulted her as she alleged Harris had done, that charge against Brauner had absolutely failed.
The CSM: For purposes of expediency I have thought it sufficient to deal with two charges instead of three. I am discharging him as regards the one charge of criminal assault.
Mr Kidston: The charge of an unnatural offence is not sustained. The girl says Brauner did not attempt to interfere with her in that manner.
Mr Jennings: I am holding that he is aiding and abetting in the matter.
Asked if he had anything to say, Harris replied to each charge with: “Your Worship, I am not guilty, and on the advice of my solicitor, I reserve my defence at this stage.” He had it all nicely written down.
Brauner, who was not so fortunate, answered the indecency charge with, “I do the same,” and the other charge of abomination with a repetition of Harris’ recital.
Following their committal in the Bondi Junction case, Harris and Brauner were charged with another capital offence, upon which Mr Jennings remanded them till next Wednesday, October 13.
The charge was: “That, at Sydney on or about July 28 they did assault Marjorie Wylie, a female, with intent to commit a capital offence.”
The allegations made by the girl in this case—she is only 18 years old—are that, having accepted a lift in a motor car at Darlinghurst, she was driven, not to her destination, but to the Domain, where she was assaulted.
Bail was fixed at £200, but while it was accepted on behalf of Harris, Brauner is still being held by the police.
A CAR AND INSURANCE
HARRIS FACES MORE TROUBLE
April 1 this year was April Fool’s Day. It was also the day on which the policy on Neville Harris’ Dodge coupe expired with the NZ Insurance Company, upon which that much-courted young man opened negotiations with the South British Company with a view to heavier insurance.
Within a month the car also expired, in flames, on the Harden-Gunning Road, together with all it contained, including a perfectly good bowler hat, a walking-stick, and other accessories to the young gentleman of fashion.
The company, perfectly satisfied that it was a bona fide accident, paid over a cheque for £275. But a few weeks ago, a certain Mr Schmidt, who was a passenger in the car on that last trip, spilt a story which was followed by the company adding a charge of false pretences, amounting to incendiarism, to the many allegations which have recently been levelled against the nineteen-year-old son of the Bondi Junction bootman.
The charge was that Neville Maurice Harris, at Sydney, on April 28, did falsely pretend to Alfred Wycliffe Fairfax that a Dodge Coupe car, No 84,537, insured for the sum of £350 with the South British Insurance Company, had back-fired about five miles from Gunning, and had accidentally caught fire, and been destroyed by fire, by means of which false pretence he did on May 6 obtain £275 with intent to defraud.
Detective-sergeant Thornley said that he told Harris, in the presence of Oswald Schmidt, a man named Oswald Schmidt had made a statement alleging that you set fire to a motor car about five miles from Gunning, and that you told the insurance company that the car back-fired and caught alight.”
Harris said, “It did backfire didn’t it Ossy.”
But Ossy was hostile. “You said you fixed it,” he declared.
Harris insisted, “No, it backfired.”
Officials of the two insurance companies gave evidence, one from the New Zealand Company, of a policy taken out in 1924, and renewed in 1925, for £150, on a 1923 model coupe.
According to the documents the car had originally cost £608 (It was then owned by Mr David Ross, a well-known importer and draper), and had been bought by Harris for £500.
Eric Bennetts, claims clerk of the South British, said that when Harris first interviewed him about April 1, he said that he had paid £600 for the car in 1923. The car was insured for £350.
About the end of April, Bennetts went on, Harris came to the office and said, “My motor car was burned around Gunning. The car back-fired, and I am very sorry.”
When the assessor’s report came to hand Harris was paid £275 in full satisfaction of his claim.
Since that time Harris has been appointed an agent for the company, and, so far as Bennetts knew, that agency had not been revoked.
When asked the cause of the fire, according to Alfred Wycliffe Fairfax, the assessor, Harris said, “I was driving along the Harden-Gunning road, when I noticed flames coming up from underneath my feet. I immediately pulled up jumped out. I cannot account for it at all.”
Two days later, the assessor, with Harris, examined the car at a garage in Gunning, to which it had been brought.
The machine had been almost totally destroyed, beyond reinstatement. In reply to questions, Harris then said that the car had run only 9000 miles, and that although it was a 1923v model, he had paid £600 for it, and it was fitted with many extras.
Mr Fairfax wanted to see “Mr Smith,” who, Harris told him, had been a witness to the fire.
Schmidt was brought to Mr Fairfax’s office early the next week. This is what Mr [Oswald] Schmidt told Mr Fairfax: I was returning from Harden with Mr Harris, intending to stop the night at Goulburn. When about five miles from Gunning, I noticed the engine ‘popping,’ then, all of a sudden, flames came up through the floor-boards.
WENT TO WAGGA
“Mr Harris jumped out and lifted the bonnet, and we tried to put the flames out with sand, without effect. A Chevrolet car passed towards Harden, but I did not get its number.”
But Mr Schmidt had a different tale to tell at the Central Police Court on Tuesday, when, ensconced in the familiar place behind Mr RD Meagher, Harris listened to the case against him.
Oswald, a tall, slightly-bald man of about thirty five, gave this second story.
He said he was formerly a grazier, but had sold up, and was now living on his means at Winterleigh Flats, Darlinghurst.
In April, he went with Harris to Wagga, by train, and they started back from there in Harris’ Dodge.
At Harden a tin of benzine and a tin of oil were bought for the car, a single seater, and the petrol was placed in front of Schmidt’s legs. Harris was driving. Near Gunning the front off-tyre blew out. Owing to accidents, the two spares had already been used, there were no houses in sight, and so they just waited there for perhaps fifteen minutes.
Schmidt, then, seeing a fire in an adjacent paddock, set out in that direction, hoping that someone would be there. He had gone, perhaps anything up to a hundred yards from the car when he heard an explosion.
Turning around he saw the car in flames. He ran back, but before he got there, saw another car, containing four passengers, pull up near the burning car.
OIL ON THE ROAD
It was still burning then, and Harris said that he had thrown sand on it, but it was impossible to do anything further. Eventually, the other car having driven on towards Yass, Harris and Schmidt walked into Gunning.
Up till the time of the fire, said Schmidt, the tin of benzine had not been opened, and he did not notice it after the fire, until about two hours later, when they returned for their luggage.
The tin was then lying open and empty on the road, about ten or twenty yards from the car. He saw Harris throw the oil tin across the road while the fire was in progress. It had previously been opened.
When, some days later, Schmidt visited the assessor with Harris, they had a few words.
Schmidt said to Harris, “You had no right to say I was in the car with you when it caught alight.” Harris replied, “You’d better shut up, because I might not get the insurance.”
Then, apparently, the “boys round town” got to asking questions about the car, and on one occasion, Schmidt said, Harris said he had told them he was having the car repainted. On another occasion Harris said the boys had been asking him again, and he had told them that he had “fixed it.”
It took a long, long time to get this particular bit of evidence out of Schmidt, who kept on explaining that “Beaver’s clothes, a hard-hitter hat and walking stick were in the car, and they had gone up in smoke.”
At length Police Prosecutor Dennis became exasperated, and declared he didn’t care anything about Beaver’s hat, stick, gloves, spats or anything that was Beaver’s.
Schmidt added the information that when he returned to the burning car he found that it had been shifted off a little bridge on which it had stopped and had been moved about twenty yards to the side of the road. He had not heard the engine running, nevertheless, although he had not moved out of hearing distance.
Mr Meagher’s cross-examination of Schmidt on Wednesday had the witness in pitiable plight. In fact, such was Schmidt’s vacillation and evasion that Mr Camphin, SM, who presided, was eventually constrained to remark that “If it rested entirely on this man’s evidence I would not send the case up for trial.”
“Don’t simper like a lamb,” Mr Meagher would thunder. “Mary,’s little lamb,” he dubbed Schmidt, whose “Yes-no’s” made the proceedings as bewildering as the late referendum campaign.
“Was not that a series of foul and deliberate lies that you told Mr Fairfax to enable Harris to get the money?” he asked. After the usual hesitation, Schmidt said that he thought the car might have been burnt accidentally, and he did not want to stop Harris getting the money.
However, although his whole moral nature was in revolt—Mr Meagher framed the words—Schmidt was round town the next day with Harris. And that next day he had come to Harris and said that he had to meet a p.n. [sic] that he only had £25, and did not know what to do.
That was in connection with a motor car transaction in which he and Harris became partners.
Mr Schmidt displayed a great deal of uncertainty at this stage about his financial affairs.
“You, wealthy grazier,” Mr Meagher demanded, “what was the position of your bank account in May?”
Schmidt said he had had one, but he could not say what balance he had then. Mr Meagher went on to pry into Schmidt’s private affairs and inquired into intimate details concerning a lone grass widow who lived in a flat at Hall-street, Bondi, and to whom Schmidt admitted he gave certain monetary considerations.
Then there was the matter of furnishing the flat at Grace Bro, in which Schmidt assisted.
So much having been aired, Schmidt admitted that early in May he and Harris had had a row over that car transaction—not the one that was burnt. He had asked Harris for a cheque in that connection, and had got one for £25, and the day after that he had asked Harris for a further £8.
Mr Meagher: Harris said he was full up and would stop payment on the £25 cheque?—Yes.
But after that, Schmidt admitted, the cheque had been presented and was dishonored. They had a row about that.
Mr Meagher: Did you say to Harris that if he didn’t take that cancellation off the cheque that you would set his car on fire?
Schmidt denied it, and he also denied that Harris had then said, “You can go to —–, you dirty blackmailing cur.”
Mr Meagher: And at that time it hadn’t crossed your mind that Harris had set the car alight?—No. I don’t say even now that he set the car on fire.
And the phrase “fixed it” might have referred to anything at all.
Mr Meagher: I don’t think I need worry your Worship much after that.
But Mr Camphin considered that there was a case for the jury on the evidence of the original owner of the Dodge, Mr David Ross. That gentleman said he had sold the car to Harris for £200.
“There is a certain amount of corroboration,” he said, “in the fact that Harris told an untruth in the first place in saying he paid £600, whereas he had paid only £200, and in the various proposals, in which he said he had paid, first £500 and then £600.”
Harris reserved his defence and was committed for trial at the sessions on November 1.
Mr Camphin made a reference to the Poor Prisoners’ Act.
Mr Meagher smiled.
TALE OF TYRES
BRAUNER AND STATEMAN’S SON
Charged with William Brauner with conspiracy to defraud the Dunlop Rubber Company is Frank Edward O’Sullivan, a well-known city electrical contractor, and son of the man whose memory is honored as one of the greatest of Australia’s State-builders—the late EW O’Sullivan.
It is alleged that these two conspired with a man whose name is unknown to defraud the Dunlop Company of six motor tyres.
On August 27, John Jay, a taxi-driver, told No. 1 Court on Thursday, he was engaged by two men, one of whom was Brauner, at the Elizabeth-street rank, to drive them to Dunlop’s in Wentworth-avenue. On arrival there they got out, and telling him to wait, went away.
Twenty minutes later one of them came back, and said, “Go round to the back. I want you to pick up some tyres for me.”
One of the men, he thought it was Brauner, got in and drove round to a cart-dock, where six new tyres were placed in the back of the car. Then returning to the front of the building, the other man was picked up, and the two passengers and the tyres were dropped in Pitt-street, near Bathurst-street.
As it happened, PC Brown, an observant young officer, had spoken to Jay that afternoon when the taxi was on its way towards Dunlop’s. He saw a man, he said, get out of the car at the Alberta-street entrance of that building and go inside.
He also saw the car backed into Goulburn-street, with a passenger in front and a number of tyres behind. In Wentworth Avenue another man was picked up.
A salesman in Dunlop’s said that that same afternoon a man came to the counter and handed him an order form. Having previously received a telephone communication in connection with it, he sent the man to the delivery room.
There, under instructions, a despatch clerk said, he handed over to the man six new tyres, which he helped place in the back of a car in the cart-dock.
David R Williams, a director of Williams Bros Ltd, motor car importers, of Elizabeth-street, looked at the order form produced by Dunlop’s salesman. It was signed “DRW”, and although it was one of his company’s order forms, he had not initialled it or authorised anyone to make out an order for six tyres. He received no tyres from the Dunlop company about that date.
O’Sullivan, he said, he had known for about eighteen months, and had been employed by the firm doing contract work at the Elizabeth-street premises. As late as the day previous to the case O’Sullivan had been so employed.
Pearl Coe, a saleswoman at O’Sullivan’s shop, 296 Pitt-street, said she knew Brauner, as, up to six months previously, he had had rooms over the shop.
One Friday towards the end of August Brauner came in with another man who had a number of motor tyres, and Brauner got her permission to leave the tyres at the rear of the shop. She saw nothing more of the tyres, and she did not mention them to Mr O’Sullivan until towards one o’clock the next day.
During the eleven years she had worked from Mr O’Sullivan she had never seen anything that might lead her to believe that there was anything dishonest about him.
Mr Meagher (for O’Sullivan): That he was not just as good as his father?—Certainly.
Edmund Thomas Ryan, a rubber manufacturer of 333a Pitt-street, said that Brauner called at his office on the morning of August 28. Brauner said, “I am a friend of Mr O’Sullivan’s across the road. He sent me across, and said that you would buy some tyres from a friend of mine. They are Dunlop tyres, 32 x 577. Will you give £5 for them?”
In the back room were two new tyres, for which Ryan, after an inspection, offered £8. Brauner just said, “Pig’s feet!” and Ryan left.
About ten or fifteen minutes later a dark, sharp-featured man came to Ryan’s office with two tyres of a similar make to those Ryan had already inspected. Ryan bought them for £8. He had since handed them over to the police.
NEVILLE HARRIS and WILLIAM BRAUNER committed for trial on two charges of assaulting and committing an act of indecency, and of carnally knowing and committing an abominable outrage upon a young woman at Bondi Junction on September 4,
To Mr Meagher, Ryan said that he knew, when he bought the tyres for £4 each, that they were worth £9 each at Dunlop’s, and that the list price was about £12. Mr O’Sullivan had since denied having sent anyone across to him.
A storeman from Dunlop’s said that on August 27 he had issued six tyres, the numbers of four of them corresponding with those of four tyres produced in court. Detective-Sergeant Wilson said that with Detective-Sergeants Bowie and Young he called at O’Sullivan’s shop on August 31. O’Sullivan, he said, denied any knowledge of the forged order or the tyres.
He had no tyres on his premises he said, and asked the detectives what right they had to search his premises. He said that “Billy Brauner” had last been at the shop the previous Friday.
When Wilson found two tyres at the back of the shop, O’Sullivan said, “Brauner brought them here last Friday, and I told him to take them away, as I did not want stolen property on my premises.”
“From what Brauner told me,” said O’Sullivan, “I thought they had taken them away to-day.”
Brauner, when arrested in Phillip-street on September 1, and questioned, said he knew nothing about the tyres, according to the evidence.
“This is rather serious,” he said, “I don’t wish to say anything.”
Bowie told him that O’Sullivan had been arrested, and had informed the police that Brauner had brought the tyres to his shop and showed them to him.
“Did he tell you that?” asked Brauner. “He should have kept his mouth shut. O’Sullivan has the wind up properly.”
After identification by Ryan and Jay, Brauner was charged.
To Mr Meagher: There was no evidence to show that the forged order was ever in the possession of O’Sullivan, that he had ever been associated with it in any way, or with its presentation.
“I have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that a prima facie case has been made out against Brauner,” said Mr Camphin, SM. “I can’t understand why he did not, as an honest man, tell the truth to the police, and only for that reason I think there is a prima facie case. I think it is a matter for the Attorney-General to file a bill.”
Both defendant reserved their defence and were committed for trial.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 24 Oct 1926 14
BLACKMAIL IS ALLEGED
Brauner Gets Conditional Bail
PLOT TO GET HARRIS AWAY?
RELENTLESS as the billows of the sea, the police have hurled criminal charge after criminal charge against William Brauner and Neville Morris [sic] Harris, the two young men who were alleged to have committed a remarkable series of offences against the law and decency—ranging in gravity from revolting indecencies against the purity of a beautiful young woman to fraud.
CLINGING to their impregnable legal buttresses Brauner and Harris maintained absolute silence except to plead, until last Thursday, when, his client being further charged, on remand, with a capital offence against a girl, Brauner’s advocate was applying for bail.
“He has previously absconded from bail,” demurred Sergeant Caban.
“Your Worship, that’s not right,” cried Brauner, and then he was silenced.
There was talk and counter-talk of plots and blackmail. The proceedings were brief, and, so the court documents will show, purely formal, but they lasted long enough to show that in these cases, as in all cases upon which the full public searchlight is turned, secret forces are at work beneath the surface.
GIRL OF EIGHTEEN
There were also seen about the court strange men, who were neither habitual court loungers nor of the class attracted by all big cases to drink in every word of the proceedings. They were not interested in the proceedings themselves, but were none the less there in connection with the case. In the lobby and in the court, they were certainly on business bent.
The charge read out on Thursday was:
William Brauner and Neville Morris Harris, you are charged that on or about July 28 you did assault Marjorie Wylie, a female, with intent to commit a capital offence.
Marjorie Wylie is the girl of eighteen who alleged that having accepted a lift in a motor car from the accused from King’s Cross to her home, she was taken to the Domain where she was brutally interfered with, and where a criminal offence was attempted against her.
Earlier in the month, Harris and Brauner had been committed for trial on two charges of criminal assault against Olga Hay—the girl who alleged that she was kidnapped and assaulted in a revolting manner at the bootshop owned by Harris’ father at Bondi Junction. Brauner was also committed on a charge of conspiracy, and Harris on a charge of false pretences in connection with the destruction of his motor car.
Mr Hourigan, Brauner’s advocate, applied for bail.
Sergeant Caban had something to say: “Your Worship, will you place an addendum to the recognisance that, if he secures bail, he will reort daily at No. 1 Police Station?”
Mr Hourigan: I would like to know on what grounds?
Sergeant Caban: I ask that they both report, but I make this request particularly in the case of Brauner. He has previously absconded from bail.
[William] Brauner, from his enclosure, heatedly challenged this statement. “Your Worship, that’s not right,” he cried out in a loud voice.
Brauner had never absconded from bail, insisted Mr Hourigan. The amount involved in the matter of his child was £150, which was to have been paid at 10/- a week.
“He has never paid any of it,” Sergeant Caban put in.
“Arrangements have been made for his relief from that, your Worship, but there is a possibility that he will abscond from bail again.
“In South Australia there is a warrant in existence now for the arrest of the defendant in regard to a felony.”
Four years ago, cut in Mr Hourigan, returning to the maintenance matter, Brauner’s mother paid the mother of the child £100 in full settlement. “If Brauner’s mother were here,” he supplemented, “she would testify to that. This is a subterfuge. The matter has been raked up in view of the other proceedings. He was suddenly arrested, brought before the Children’s Court; he was not represented by any lawyer; he offered to pay on terms, and was summarily sent out to Long Bay. He has never absconded at any time.”
Sergeant Caban: That order was made five years ago.
Mr Hourigan sat down.
Mr RD Meagher’s plea on behalf of Harris brought to light suggestions on both sides of the activities that were masked behind the comparatively formal court proceedings.
“In regard to Harris,” began Mr Meagher, referring to the application that he should report daily, “it not only seems superfluous, but is most extraordinary. Harris is a man, practically only two years from school, with an unblemished reputation.”
Every man was innocent until he was found guilty, Mr Meagher got in. Bail, in the case of Harris was £400, and when he was committed for trial Mr Jennings, CSM, specially excused him the necessity of reporting.
MATTER OF BAIL
Bail at that stage was £450, and Harris had no reason to get away. He was anxious to face his twelve fellow-men. He had been remanded twice since then, with no qualification whatever.
Sergeant Caban’s next words were sensational. “The police have received information,” he said, “that overtures have been made that Harris should leave the State.”
Mr Meagher: I am prepared to put Harris in the box, and he will deny that anything has been done. I also have heard that.
Mr Camphin: Harris may not know of it.
Mr Meagher: It is sufficient that he should answer.
Mr Camphin wanted further particulars.
“There is a report in the hands of the police,” the sergeant elaborated, “that a certain business man has made such overtures.”
“Who is the man?” challenged Mr Meagher.
Sergeant Caban: We cannot divulge that.
“I myself have received much anonymous information, from blackmailers and so forth,” Mr Meagher declared. “At present I am having inquiries made in connection with a demand for a number of ten-pound notes, made by a woman who was supposed to be going to Brisbane. A man who wants to abscond is not like a man who goes duck-shooting with a brass band ahead of him.”
That was the end of the argument. Mr Camphin allowing Brauner bail on condition that he reported at No. 1 Police Station at 10 am daily.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 25 Nov 1926 115
Thursday, November 25.
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
William Brauner and Neville Harris, assault, with intent to commit rape.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Brisbane Courier, Fri 26 Nov 1926 16
TWO MEN CHARGED.
Sydney, November 25.
A case which has caused considerable public interest came before Mr Justice Ferguson in the Central Criminal Court to-day, when Neville Harris (aged 19 years, agent) and William Brauner (aged 29 years, engineer) were charged with assaulting Olga Hay at Bondi Junction on September 4, with intent to commit gross offences.
In opening the case to the jury the Crown Prosecutor (Mr Coyle) said that the girl was 23 years of age, and came to Sydney on Saturday night, September 4, to meet her young man. She missed him, and walked along Pitt-street with the intention of going to a picture show. In front of Rickard House, [84 Pitt Street], she was spoken to by a man whom she had not seen before. The next thing she knew was that she was in a motor car, with a coat over her head. She remembered hearing a voice say, “You’ll smother her.” The coat was removed, and she recognised Oxford-street, and knew they were travelling in the direction of Bondi. She saw Brauner and Harris sitting beside her, and a third man was driving the car. She screamed, and her screams were heard by a woman as the car proceeded along Oxford-street. At the corner of Newland and Oxford streets, Waverley, the car stopped, and Harris and Brauner took her into a room in the building, owned by Harris’s father, a portion of which is used as a dancing hall. It was in this rom, Mr Coyle said, that the assault was committed.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 26 Nov 1926 17
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
(Before Mr Justice Ferguson.)
Crown Prosecutor, Mr WT Coyle, KC.
ALLEGED CAPITAL OFFENCE.
Neville Harris, 19, agent, and William Brauner, 23 engineer, were charged with assaulting Olga Hay, at Bondi Junction on September 4, with intent to commit gross offences.
Mr Mack, KC, with him Mr Robert M Kidston (instructed by Mr H Hourigan), appeared for Brauner; and Mr RD Meagher for Harris.
In opening the case to the jury Mr Coyle said the girl was 23 years of age, and came to Sydney on Saturday night, September 4, to meet her young man. She missed him, and walked along Pitt-street with the intention of going to a picture show. In front of Rickard House she was spoken to by a man whom she had not seen before. The next thing she knew was that she was in a motor car with a coat over her head. She remembered hearing a voice say: “You’ll smother her.” The coat was removed and she recognised Oxford-street, and knew they were travelling in the direction of Bondi. She saw Brauner and Harris sitting beside her, and a third man was driving the car. She screamed, and her screams were heard by a woman as the car proceeded along Oxford-street. At the corner of Newland and Oxford streets, Waverley, the car stopped and Harris and Brauner took her into a room in the building owned by Harris’s father, a portion of which was used as a dancing hall. It was in this room (Mr Coyle said) that the assault was committed.
The jury made a visit of inspection to Harris’s dance hall in Newland-street, Waverley, last night after the court adjourned.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The West Australian, Fri 26 Nov 1926 18
SERIOUS OFFENCE ALLEGED.
Young Men on Trial.
Sydney, Nov 25.
A case which has caused considerable public interest came before Mr Justice Ferguson in the Central Criminal Court to-day, when Neville Harris, 19, agent, and William Brauner, 23, engineer, were charged with assaulting Olga Hay, at Bondi Junction on September 4, with intent to commit gross offences. In opening the case to the jury the Crown Prosecutor (Mr Coyle) said that the girl was 23 years of age, and came to Sydney on Saturday night, September 4, to meet her young man. She missed him and walked along Pitt-street with the intention of going to a picture show. In front of Rickard House she was spoken to by a man whom she had not seen before.
The next thing she knew was that she was in a motor car with a coat over her head. She remembered hearing a voice say, “You’ll smother her.” The coat was removed, and she recognised Oxford-street, and knew they were travelling in the direction of Bondi. She saw Brauner and Harris sitting beside her, and a third man was driving the car. She screamed, and her screams were heard by a woman as the car proceeded along Oxford-street. At the corner of Newland and Oxford streets, Waverley, the car stopped, and Harris and Brauner took her into a room in the building owned by Harris’s father, a portion of which is used as a dancing hall. It was in this room, Mr Coyle said, that the assault was committed.
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The Mercury, Sat 27 Nov 1926 19
ABDUCTION AND ASSAULT
CHARGE AGAINST TWO MEN.
Sydney, November 25.
A case which has caused considerable public interest came before Mr Justice Ferguson in the Central Criminal Court to-day, when Neville Harris, 19, agent, and William Brauner, 23, engineer, were charged with having assaulted Olga Hay at Bondi Junction on September 4 with intent to commit gross offences.
The Crown Prosecutor (Mr Coyle) said that the girl was 23 years of age, and came to Sydney on Saturday night, September 4, to meet her young man. She missed him, and walked along Pitt-street with the intention of going to a picture show. In front of Rickard House she was spoken to by a man whom she had not seen before. The next thing she knew was that she was in a motor car with a coat over her head. She remembered hearing a voice say, “You’ll smother her.” The coat was removed, and she recognised Oxford-street, and knew they were travelling in the direction of Bondi. She saw Brauner and Harris sitting beside her, and a third man was driving the car. She screamed, and her screams were heard by a woman as the car proceeded along Oxford-street. At the corner of Newland and Oxford streets, Waverley, the car stopped, and Harris and Brauner took her into a room in the building owned by Harris’s father, a portion of which is used as a dancing hall. It was in this room, Mr Coyle said, that the assault was committed.
GIRL FAINTS IN COURT.
COUNSEL'S CROSS EXAMINATION.
OBJECTION BY JURYMEN.
Sydney, November 26.
The cross-examination of Olga Hay in respect to gross offences alleged to have been committed upon her by two men named Harris and Brauner at Bondi Junction on September 4 was brought to a dramatic stage in the Central Criminal Court to-day. The witness had been in the box the whole of the previous day, and after half an hour of searching cross-examination to-day she fainted, and was removed from the court. While efforts were being made outside to revive the girl, one of the jurymen stood up and said it was his opinion that the cross-examination was torture, and he thought that a new line of cross-examination should be adopted. Another juryman supported his colleague, saying that the same painful questions were being asked over and over again.
Mr Mack, KC: I thank the gentlemen of the jury.
His Honor: The cross-examination is painful to everybody, but I have found no reason to stop, Mr Mack.
Mr Mack: I am sure if there had been anything wrong with my cross-examination Your Honor would have stopped me. I resent the remarks of the jurymen.
After an absence of ten minutes the girl returned into court, but was not further cross-examined.
Dr Palmer, Government medical officer, in giving evidence, said he had examined the girl, and found her condition consistent with her story. She had a bruised mouth, neck, and left knee.
The hearing was adjourned.
STATEMENT BY HARRIS.
GIRL INJURED WHILE DANCING.
Harris, in a statement from the dock, said that on September 4 he had gone to Warwick Farm races with Brauner, returning about 6 pm. After having dinner in town he drove his motor-car along Pitt-street, stopping opposite the Ambassador. Brauner went down the street, and he saw him talking to a young lady, with whom he returned and introduced as Miss Robinson. He suggested that they should go to the Palais Royal for a dance, but she refused unless there were other ladies. She then accompanied them in the car to Bondi Junction, where he stopped in Newland-street, opposite his father’s shop.
He left Brauner and the lady in the car, and crossing over the street went up to the dancing-hall, and sent a lad for the keys of the shop downstairs. Brauner and the lady came across and entered the shop with him, and he suggested that they should have some refreshment, but there was only a bottle of whiskey on the premises, and the lady refused to drink anything else but wine. They got into the car again and drove down to Campbell-parade to the Hotel Bondi but were refused when they wanted to purchase a bottle of wine.
They returned to the shop, and after Brauner had gone across to a small shop and purchased a bottle of soda water they had some whisky and soda, of which the lady partook. Brauner and the lady went to the other end of the shop while he sat and read. When they came back to where he was she complained that she felt grubby, and had a wash. Just then the music in the dancing-hall upstairs started, and they danced together in the shop, the lady dancing first with one and then the other, and while dancing she fell over a stool on the floor and cut her lip. She seemed to get very irritable then. He suggested that they should go to the Palais Royal, but she said that was impossible with her cut lip. She then left them, going out by herself. He denied having acted indecently.
Brauner also denied having acted indecently toward the girl.
Dr Gordon Bray, in giving evidence, stated that the physical condition of Harris on September 4 was such that it would have been impossible for him to have committed the offence.
Dr P Fiaschi also gave evidence, and agreed with the statement of Dr Gordon Bray.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 27 Nov 1926 20
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT.
(Before Mr Justice Ferguson.)
Crown Prosecutor, Mr WT Coyle, KC.
ALLEGED CAPITAL OFFECE.
The cross-examination of Olga Hay in respect to gross offences alleged to have been committed upon her by two men named Harris and Brauner, at Bondi Junction on September 4, was brought to a dramatic conclusion yesterday morning.
The witness had been in the witness box the whole of the previous day, and after half-an-hour of searching cross-examination yesterday she fainted and was removed from the Court. While efforts were being made outside to revive the girl, one of the jurymen stood up and said that it was his opinion that the cross-examination was torture, and he thought that a new line of cross-examination should be adopted. Another juryman supported his colleague, saying that the same painful questions were being asked over and over again.
Mr Mack, KC: I thank the gentlemen of the jury.
His Honor: The cross-examination is painful to everybody, but I have found no reason to stop, Mr Mack.
Mr Mack: I am sure if there had been anything wrong in my cross-examination, your Honor would have stopped me. I resent the remarks of the jurymen.
After an absence of ten minutes the girl returned into Court, but was not further cross-examined.
Dr Palmer, Government Medical Officer, in giving evidence, said he found her condition consistent with her story. She had a bruised mouth, neck, and left knee.
Detective-Sergeant Lillian May Armfield stated that she was present at a medical examination of Olga Hay on September 6, when she found that there were a number of bruises on the girl’s body, and two pieces of skin off her nose.
Harris, in a statement from the dock, said that on September 4, he had gone to Warwick Farm races with Brauner, returning about 6 pm. After having dinner in town, he drove his motor car along Pitt-street, stopping opposite the Ambassadors. Brauner went down the street and he saw him talking to a young lady, with whom he returned, and introduced as Miss Robinson. He suggested that they should go to the Palais Royal for a dance, but she refused unless there were other ladies. She then accompanied them in the car to Bondi Junction, where he stopped in Newland-street, opposite his father’s shop. He left Brauner and sent a lad for the keys of the shop downstairs. Brauner and the lady came across and entered the shop with him, and he suggested that they should have some refreshment, but there was only a bottle of whisky on the premises, and the lady refused to drink anything but wine. They got into the car again, and drove down to Campbell-parade to the Hotel Bondi, but were refused when they wanted to purchase a bottle of wine. They returned to the shop and after Brauner had gone across to a small shop and purchased a bottle of soda water, they had some whisky and soda, of which the lady partook. Brauner and the lady went to the other end of the shop, while he sat and read. When they came back to where he was, she complained that she felt grubby, and had a wash. Just then the music in the dancing hall upstairs started, and they danced together in the shop, the lady dancing first with one and then the other, and while dancing she fell over a stool on the floor and cut her lip. She seemed to get very irritable then. He suggested that they should go to the Palais Royal, but she said that was impossible with her cut lip. She then left them, going out by herself. Later, he and Brauner wet to the Palais Royal, where they had a few dances, after which he returned to his parents’ house on Bellevue Hill. He declared that he had acted in no way indecently.
Brauner also made a statement from the dock. He said that while he and Harris were standing opposite the Ambassadors, a young lady passed and smiled at him. He followed her, and she said she was going to a picture show. He accompanied her to the outside of the Strand Picture Theatre, but she said she did no like the programme, and they returned to where Harris was standing. She told him she was a moving picture actress. The remainder of his statement was the same as that of Harris. He also denied having acted indecently towards the girl.
Dr Gordon Bray, in giving evidence, stated that the physical condition of Harris on September 4, was such that it would have been impossible for him to have committed the offence. Dr P Fiaschi also gave evidence, and agreed with the statement of Dr Gordon Bray.
The hearing will be resumed this morning.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 28 Nov 1926 21
STIR IN COURT WHEN BRAUNER AND
HARRIS WERE FOUND GUILTY
THEY TOOK IT CALMLY
End of Bondi Motor Horror Case
JURY DIDN’T TAKE LONG
The Two Criminals are Remanded
Till Monday for Sentence
IN an atmosphere made electric by tense, nervous expectation, the two debonair young men whose names have been on the tongues of the public for so long, faced Mr Justice Ferguson and a jury of twelve in a court-room packed to its limits with rows and rows of men.
Ever since the first hearing of the case began at the Central Police Court some eight weeks ago, the interest of the public was kept awake.
There were several reasons for this interest—the accused, typical men-about-town, always clothed in fashion’s very best, are among the best known young men in Bondi, and the crimes with which they were charged were somewhat unique in character.
Naturally, at the news that they were to stand their trial that morning, a vast crowd thronged the doorway of the court-house and the surrounding lawns, hoping to be admitted into the court-room.
As early as 8 o’clock in the morning a little bundle of men clustered about the stone pillars, patiently waiting for the hours to drag by until the doors swung open at 10 o’clock.
And by that time there were fully two hundred people gathered around.
Most of them, however, were disappointed, for only a very limited number was permitted inside.
Inside the court-room, when Mr Justice Ferguson took his seat, every corner was black with groups of men, most of whom were jurors or detectives.
The low buzz of voices wavered over the room like the thick trembling of a violin-string. But when the name of Brauner and Harris were called, there was a sudden silence, and all eyes turned to the little trap-door in the floor of the dock.
Brauner, who has been confined since his committal, slowly climbed the steps, and stood calmly against the iron railing. … From the doorway of the court Harris, cool and with a smile fluttering on his lips, strode across to the dock and stood beside his friend.
From the windows high up in the white walls a veil of soft light fell and encircled them, making them strangely vivid in the surrounding shadows.
Unconcerned, they stood there side by side, their eyes wandering coolly around the crowded court, their hands resting lightly on the dock.
The clerk of the court rose to read the charges. … There were three—a charge of assaulting Olga Hay with the intention of committing a criminal offence, a charge of assaulting her with an act of indecency, and charge of committing an abominable offence.
“Harris, how do you plead?” asked the clerk.
“Not guilty, your Honor!” replied Harris in a firm voice.
“And you, Brauner?”
Brauner coughed. “Not guilty!” he said; but his voice was husky. Both men sat down, folded their arms, and watched the jury being empanelled. When they were given the opportunity of challenging the jurors, Harris challenged eight and Brauner six, while the Crown Prosecutor “stood aside” seven.
Before beginning his address to the jury the Crown Prosecutor drew the attention of Mr Justice Ferguson to the presence of two women in the public section of the court.
“This case is extremely filthy,” he said. “One of the filthiest ever heard in a court of justice. The evidence is sufficient to make a man blush. … I’d ask your Honor to request those ladies to leave.”
But before the judge had said anything the women had gone.
At the close of Crown Prosecutor Coyle’s somewhat impassioned presentation of the facts set out in the indictment against the two accused, Olga Hay was called.
She immediately appeared in company with a faded little woman in a large hat and brown dress. The hush which followed the appearance of the chief actor in this sordid drama was deeper than that which characterised the Crown advocate’s address.
Every eye was fastened upon the frail young woman who suddenly faced the crowded court.
The accused within the iron pen turned wearily, and gazed steadfastly at her, as with wide, open eyes, and a face the color of a corpse, she made her way to the witness stand.
Olga Hay wore a biscuit-coloured hat, somewhat wide in the brim, and a low-cut frock of navy material, trimmed at the neck with lace.
As she took her seat in the witness-stand the strange woman who shadowed her crept close to the box.
Mr Sid Mack, KC, raised an objection to the presence of the woman, unless it was shown that she was a relative of Miss Hay.
His Honor permitted her to remain, and she was accommodated with a chair on the floor of the court.
While she was telling her dreadful story to the judge and jury, Olga Hay sat in the witness-box, her voice trickling over the court-room like thin wisps of silver … like the whisper of the wind in the trees … with an expression of dumb horror on her pale face that chilled the heart … It seemed that it was all a horrible nightmare.
When Olga Hay had partly recovered from the nervousness which had seized her as she gazed about the crowded court-room, she was asked by Mr Coyle to tell the story of her experiences on the night when she was picked up in Pitt-street, City, by two men whom she did not know, and had never before seen in her life, and whisked away in a speeding motor-car.
All throughout the half-hour consumed in relating her terrible experience, she spoke with great effort, occasionally sipping a glass of water.
When she came to certain unprintable details of her evidence—her alleged relations with the two accused—Brauner and Harris—in the boot shop in Bondi Junction, her death-like pallor became more accentuated, and at times, she closed her eyes and her mouth gaped weakly.
And tensely, as if fascinated, Brauner and Harris watched her face. But she did not appear to see them, turning her eyes toward the jury box, where sat the twelve men, immobile of feature.
She told Mr Coyle that she was 23 years old, and that she lived at Lavender Bay with her aunt. She worked for a firm in Pitt-street, City.
On the night of September 4, 1926, she was assaulted by the accused. She had an appointment at Circular Quay with a young man whose acquaintance she had made at a Casino dance-room.
The young man did not keep the appointment, and she decided to visit a picture show, for which purpose she walked up Pitt-street.
In Pitt-street she was addressed by two men in a motor car, and before she knew what had happened, she was seized, dragged into the car and sped away. A coat had been thrown about her head, and this shut out her view of the roadway, and stifled her voice.
Later, it was removed, and she was then able to see that she was in a motor car with two men, who were driving rapidly from the city.
“Can you see those men?” asked Mr Coyle.
“Yes, I see them in court,” said the girl, for the first time looking directly at Harris and Brauner, and indicating them.
PENNED inside the iron-barred confines of the criminal cage, Brauner and Harris sat throughout their trial, unmoved, but stolidly attentive to the terrible indictment which poured in sharp, impassionate sentences from the lips of the Crown Prosecutor.
Miss Hay paled, and gasped, and lifted the glass to her lips with trembling hands.
In quick, short sentences, and in a tone pitched so low that his Honor, a few feet away, had to lean toward the box and place his hand to his ear, she told of her ride to the Bondi Junction boot shop of Harris.
Then she got out with the two accused, and entered the shop.
At first, and under the impulse of fear, she danced with Harris. They asked her to have some whisky, but she refused, and they forced it upon her.
Harris told her “They would kill her and push her body into a cupboard, and none would be the wiser.”
They made certain suggestions of a repellant and unprintable nature to her.
“Oh, it was disgusting—I was disgusted,” she repeated several times, accompanying the phrase with a shudder, while a look of horror crept into her eyes.
“There was a couch in the room,” she added after a painful gulp. “Harris took me to that couch. I screamed and struggled,” she went on, raising her voice for the first time.
“Yes, I screamed for all I was worth. I asked for mercy. ‘I’m a good girl,’ I said.”
“Harris said: ‘Shut up, you little fool; I’m not going to hurt you.’
“Harris then took me to the couch, although I continued to struggle …”
In a low voice, inaudible at the back of the court, witness went on to describe certain treatment to which Harris subjected her while Brauner kept in the background.
At this stage every word uttered by Miss Hay caused her terrible effort. She gasped out her words and her color was chalky.
She described how Brauner came to her, and he struggled with her for some time.
“I begged for mercy,” she said, passionately. “I told him ‘ I was a good girl,’ but he was holding me by the throat.
“I asked for mercy and all I got was kicks,” she added.
She declared that Brauner repeated the acts of brutality to which Harris had previously subjected her.
Witness said that after they let her go, they both tried to make friends with her. When they let her go, she walked to Bondi Junction, caught a ’bus, then a tram to the Quay and ferry to her home, and went home to her aunt’s place.
“I said nothing to my aunt that night. I arrived home about 12.30 that night. My knees, my legs, and body were bruised, and my lips were swollen.”
“You are a working girl?” asked Mr Coyle.
“Yes; I work at a shop in Pitt-street, City.”
She went on to say that she became ill there, and spoke to a fellow employee, and later to Police-woman Armfield. As a result of this interview, she was taken to see Dr Aubrey Palmer.
At this stage a large brown-paper parcel was brought into court and opened. It contained the clothing witness wore on that night.
Mr RD Meagher: You told the court to-day that the couch upon which you were put was turned over?—Yes.
A GIRL, a man, a motor car … How often have these three formed a triangle which Fate has cast into a drama more tense, more symbolic of the dross of earthly things, than that other triangle we hear so much of in the Divorce Court!
Did you on any previous occasion tell anyone that the couch had been turned over?—Yes; I told Sergeant Thornley.
You signed a statement before Sergeant Thornley?—Yes.
The statement was taken from you and typed out?—Yes.
Was it read to you before you signed it?—No; I don’t think so.
You signed that statement on September 8?—Yes.
You gave evidence for the first time on September 23?—Yes.
Did you see that statement between the 8th and the 23rd?—No.
Did you swear that the couch had been turned over?—No.
So this is the first occasion that you have sworn that the couch was turned over?—Yes.
The turning over of the couch gives a spread of 2ft 6in upon which all these horrible things said to have been done occurred?—Yes.
And you swore at the police court that all these things took place on a couch only 18 inches wide?—Yes.
On the Monday that you made your statement to Miss Armfield, did you say you were in a certain way?—I did not care to say anything about Harris’ ill-treatment or mention such an abominable thing to anyone.
But Miss Armfield is a mature woman—she is older than you, isn’t she?—Yes.
Would you rather, as a woman to a woman, confide a matter like that to Miss Armfield sooner than to a man?—To Miss Armfield.
Miss Hay went on to explain that she had not mentioned Harris’ abominable conduct at the time she gave her statement to Miss Armfield, because two detectives were present.
Pursuing this line of examination, Mr Meagher pressed Miss Hay to tell him why, when Miss Armfield took her to see Dr Aubrey Palmer to be examined, she did not mention to the medical man that she had been assaulted by Harris and Brauner.
“It was a delicate subject,” was witness’s reply to this question, and that was her only reason for keeping silent upon the matter.
In answer to further questioning, Miss Hay said that when she left the boot shop, one of the accused held her by the arm and the other walked ahead.
For a bare half hour after the jury rose to consider the verdict, a murmur filled the Court, indicative of the strain of public anxiety.
Two men passed her, but she was afraid that if she called to them to aid her, she would be assaulted again. She was conscious, and in full possession of her faculties at the time, but she was not sure about the respectability of the two men passing by.
“You live with your aunt?” asked Mr Meagher. “Yes,” was the answer.
And you sleep in the same room?—Yes.
Was there a light in the room?—No; I switched it on.
She saw the injury to your eye?—Yes.
You told her that you had fallen and hurt it?—Yes.
That was a lie?—Yes.
You told her that you got it dancing at the Casino?—Yes.
That was another lie?—Yes.
You further said that you were dancing at the time with Don Williams?—Yes.
That was lie No 3?—Yes.
And then, I suppose, you said your prayers and went to bed?—I went to bed.
Mr Sid Mack, KC (for Brauner): Did both of the accused kick you?—Yes.
Which hurt you most?—Both hurt.
You never told your aunt anything about this assault?—N o, I said I had a fall.
You never told Miss Armfield that you had been kicked by anybody?—No.
You can’t deny that the first time you said anything about being kicked on the mouth was at the police court?—No.
You know something about sex, don’t you?—Yes.
A series of questions followed, and when she was asked to write down certain phrases, she bent over the paper, pencil in hand, hunched herself, until the brim of her hat actually touched the desk, and wrote in a shaky hand. Then she sobbed, and the tears fell.
She was permitted to leave the court for a few minutes to recover her poise and self-possession.
After the girl had returned to the witness-box she admitted in answer to a question by Mr Mack that many of the phrases in her statement were not her own, but had been suggested by Miss Armfield.
She said that she was more frightened of Brauner than of Harris.
“Do you like the theatre, Miss Hay?” asked Mr Mack.
“Yes,” replied the girl.
“Ever acted yourself?”
“I used to belong to a musical society—I took a quarter in elocution years and years ago.
“Fond of the pictures?”
“Now, who are your favorite stars?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I have no particular favorites.”
“You’d like to be a movie actress yourself, wouldn’t you?” pressed Mr Mack.
“No—certainly not,” was Miss Hay’s answer.
“But haven’t you told people you were going to America to become a movie actress?”
“Certainly not,” cried the girl, loudly.
“Now, Miss Hay, you suffer from aenemia, [sic], don’t you?”
Miss Hay replied that she did. She added that she had been under the treatment of several doctors.
“And you suffer from fainting-fits at certain periods of your life?”
“You are fond of reading, I suppose,” asked the KC.
The girl admitted that she was. She said she preferred deep reading to sensational fiction and love-stories.
“And you love dancing, don’t you?”
“I like it better than any other pastime.”
“You used to go to dances with various boy friends?”
“And I suppose they made love to you?”
“No—certainly not,” replied the girl.
“Oh, now, come—cut it out! They don’t make love to you?”
“No—I don’t tolerate that kind of thing.”
At that stage of the evidence the further hearing was adjourned till Friday morning.
On Friday morning there was a full attendance of the general public, but the court was not so packed as on the opening day.
Miss Olga Hay was early at the court, attended by her chaperone, who wore a red ribbon in a black hat on this occasion.
Miss Hay was dressed as on her first appearance.
There was a rather subdued air about Harris and Brauner, but they brightened up considerably as Mr Mack’s cross-examination of Miss Hay proceeded.
Mr Mack: When did you first see Miss Armfield?—About 10.30 am.
Were the police there—I mean Thornley and Thompson—at the beginning?—I am not sure, but I think they were.
You were there with them between two and three hours?—I don’t know how long, but not more than an hour.
Did the police send for you?—Yes.
Who came?—Detective Thornley. He took me to the police.
Was Miss Armfield there?—No.
You would have liked another woman to have been there, I suppose?—Yes.
Did they tell you, why she was not there?—No.
At this stage, Mr Mack made a persistent attempt to secure an answer from Miss Hay concerning a certain act.
“Wasn’t it Sergeant Thornley who told you how to express yourself in describing that act when making out your statement?” he asked.
After considerable delay Miss Hay whispered “Yes.”
(Continued on Page 14.)
(Continued from Page 13.)
BONDI MOTOR HORROR CASE—Continued
OLGA HAY BREAKS DOWN IN BOX
Led Out by Chaperone
MR MACK”S SEARCHING CROSS-EXAMINATION
The actual words used in the statement were given you by Thornley?—Yes; but other words I used were given me by Miss Armfield.
At this stage Mr Mack put the question in a blunter fashion, and witness’ face began to work convulsively. Then she broke down, and drooping her head, sobbed.
At his Honor’s suggestion she left the court with her chaperone to enable her to recover.
During her absence, Mr Mack intimated to his Honor that he would call Dr Morgan after lunch to tender certain medical evidence.
When Miss Hay returned, her eyes were blurred with tear-stains, and she resumed her seat, wearing a dazed expression. Her feminine attendant stood by the box, ready to assist her.
Mr Mack took up his questioning where he had dropped it at the moment of her indisposition.
AT THE PALAIS
Persistently he thrust it at her—the query as to how she came to use certain delicate expressions descriptive of an act that she had previously admitted she was not familiar with, but which were virtually contradictory.
And all that could be got out of witness was a strangled whisper.
Mr Mack asked witness: “May I take it that you did not tell the police that if you did not submit to a certain act Harris and Brauner threatened to kill you?—The Sergeant did not put a question like that to me.
Didn’t Sergeant Thornley ask you if the reason you did not take a certain course to protect yourself against this outrage was because you were afraid they would kill you?—Yes, to the best of my recollection he did.
Miss Hay looked much disturbed at this stage, and dabbed her eyes with her sodden kerchief.
Pointing to the bundle of garments on the table, Mr Mack indicated a brown, fur-tipped overcoat.
Were you wearing that overcoat daily before the assault?—Yes.
How long did you know this lad, Don Williams, before this occurrence?—About a week.
You were not introduced to him?—No.
You did not know anything about him?—No.
You told him your name, where you lived, and where you worked?—Yes.
He didn’t tell you where he lived and worked?—No.
You were with him on the Saturday night?—Yes.
Where did you go?—To the Palais Royal.
Are there any sitting-out conveniences there?—No.
Where did you go?—Out in a lane.
Suppose they want to do a little bit of love-making, where do they go?—I don’t know.
Did no girl friend ever tell you that there was such a place?—No.
And so there is no such place at all?—No.
He took you home that night?—Yes.
Did your aunt approve of your coming home so late?—No.
You went out again on the Wednesday night with this boy to the Palais?—Yes.
Danced with him all night?—Yes.
What time did you get home?—I’m not sure.
You didn’t get home until about midnight?—I don’t remember.
Don’t you remember your aunt reproving you?—No.
On many of the questions, witness halted, hesitated, and then with almost preternatural caution, as if weighing each word, whispered her reply. Even to the simplest question she adopted this attitude.
“Your aunt is a mild-tempered woman, isn’t she?” asked Mr Mack.
Miss Hay regarded her questioner anxiously for some seconds, as if doubtful concerning her answer.
“She’s a kind and sympathetic woman?” persisted counsel.
“Yes,” whispered witness.
What time did you get up on the Sunday morning?—Early.
Did you get breakfast?—I set the table.
What did you chat about—Just ordinary subjects?—It was very quiet.
What were you doing during the morning—you didn’t go to church, I suppose?
Miss Hay’s reply was inaudible.
You didn’t ’phone or go out?—No.
Did you get the lunch?—My aunt did.
You never went out all day?—No.
When did you see Williams next?—Reply inaudible.
When did Williams come to see you?—I don’t know.
Didn’t he explain why he did not come to see you?—Yes. He said he met with an accident, and had been in bed. He fell off a building.
Have you seen him since?—Yes; at the Central Police Station.
A few minutes past eleven o’clock, while the clerk was reading out some shorthand notes for Mr Mack, Miss Hay suddenly paled and fell back limply into the arms of the woman who, like a guardian angel, stood beside throughout her ordeal.
She had fainted. With the aid of the court officers she was taken outside for ten minutes.
Just before she returned, however, there was a brush between a juryman and Mr Mack. The juror rose to his feet and said to Mr Justice Ferguson:
“Your Honor, we are of the opinion that if the cross-examination of this girl could be cut down it would enable her to leave the box. It is torture for her …… Mr Mack is asking the same thing over and over again.”
“I thank that gentleman of the jury,” cried Mr Mack.
Then, turning to his Honor he said: “I’m sure that if there was anything irregular in my cross-examination your Honor would soon stop me!”
“Quite so, Mr Mack,” replied Mr Justice Ferguson.
THE GIRL LEAVES
“And I resent the remark of that juryman very much!” cried Mr Mack angrily.
His Honor kept silent when Miss Hay came back to court, Mr Mack closed his cross-examination, and, plainly relieved, the girl was led from the box to a seat in the back of the court.
She had been in the witness-box five and a quarter hours, during which she had gone through a gauntlet of horror, living over again every phase of her story.
Mr Palmer, Government Medical Officer, then described the injuries that the girl suffered from when he examined her on September 3 and September 9. Then Dr Morgan also gave evidence.
TOLD A FRIEND
A thin but very self-confident woman, who gave her name as Ethel Robson, of Maroubra-road, Bondi, married, was called.
Mrs Robson said she was in O’Sullivan-road on the evening of September 4.
“It would be about 8.45,” she said, “when something attracted my attention. I heard a scream from a car, a large, dark car going in the direction of Lewis-street. It passed me. A scream came from the car. That is what attracted my attention to it.”
Mr Mack: When did you tell the police about this?—I didn’t tell the police at all. I told a friend.
His Honor: What kind of a car was it?—It was a large dark car.
Mr Mack: It was after you had read the papers that you told your friend about this car?—Yes.
And she started the conversation?—Yes.
Mr Coyle: Do you think you would know the car if you saw it again?—I don’t think so.
Mr Meagher: She wouldn’t recognise the car when she saw it at the Central Police Court.
An engineer named Albert John Ainsworth, working at General Electric Works, Wentworth-avenue, said he was “just taking a stroll” toward Newland-street on the evening of September 4,when he passed Harris’s bootshop.
Over the shop was a dance-room, and he paused a while to look at the dancing through the open windows.
“It was about a quarter to eight when I got there that night,” he said, leaning lazily on one elbow on the witness-stand.
“Was the corner well illuminated?” asked Mr Coyle. “Did you notice if all the lights were on that night?”
“I was not sure on the first occasion, but last night I had a look, and I’m sure now. I went up and looked at the place last night, and the illumination on September 4 was nothing like as good as it was last night,” was Ainsworth’s reply.
“I saw a car pull up at the footpath of Harris’s shop, and a man helped a girl out of the car. She had a cape or something up to her face, and it was hiding it. One of the men opened the door, and the man with the girl went into the shop.
“The bigger man of the two passed close to me later on going towards a shop, and he passed me returning. He was carrying a bottle of cordial.
“The smaller man was waiting at the door.”
Mr Coyle: Did you recognise the man?—Ya, it was Brauner.
Do you see him now?
Witness turned and gazed sharply at the jury box, whereat a broad smile crept across the faces of the twelve occupants. Witness noticed it, and his eyes roamed to the iron-barred pen in which Harris and Brauner sat, with arms folded, and legs crossed.
Witness indicated Brauner as the man he saw enter the shop with the bottle of cordial.
“The night was sort of hazy,” he added.
Mr Meagher: Do you pass there every night?—No.
When were you there last—I mean before you paid a visit there last night?—Last Saturday night, about 7.30.
Anyone with you?—No.
Where were you going?—To a Mr Edie’s shop.
Were you going there last night?—No; I was going home from work.
Where do you work?—At General Electric, Wentworth-avenue.
How many miles is it from your work to Harris’ corner?—I’d have to put the rule upon it. (Laughter).
BOUGHT SODA WATER
John Beacon, a lad of about sixteen told how, on the night of September 4, he was standing outside the dance-hall beside Harris’s shop, when Harris walked up to him and asked him where was “Mr Kelly.”
“At a theatre,” replied the boy.
“Run around and see if you can get the key,” Harris said, according to the boy.
Beacon returned a little later with a key, and Harris, so he said, crossed the road, got into his car, and drove over to the entrance of the hall.
A man named Roy Masters, who keeps a mixed shop on the corner directly opposite Harris’ shop, said that about nine o’clock Brauner walked into his shop and asked him for a bottle of soda-water. He was served, and then went out.
Then Sergeant Lilian Armfield, the well-known policewoman, described how Brauner and Harris were arrested. On the Monday morning she went, in response to a telephone message, to an office in Pitt-street, where she saw Olga Hay.
The girl’s lips were swollen and bruised, her neck was bruised, and two or three pieces of skin were off her nose. After a conversation she took the girl to the Central Police Station, and then, when certain formalities had been arranged, they went with Detective-Sergeant Thornley to an office on the second floor of Rickard’s Building at 84 Pitt-street.
On the door of the office the name “Harris” was printed. They knocked. There was no reply. Leaving a message with the attendant, Detective-Sergeant Thornley and the girl went away, while Miss Armfield waited.
In a few minutes Harris walked out of the lift, and going to the door opened it with a key. Miss Armfield followed him in.
“Oh, good morning—are you Mrs Armfield?” asked Harris, so Miss Armfield’s evidence ran.
“Miss Armfield,” replied that lady.
“What can I do for you?”
“I belong to the police,” said Miss Armfield.
Harris looked surprised. “What’ve I been doing?”—he asked.
“Detective-Sergeant Thornley will tell you,” was all Miss Armfield would communicate to him.
“Why—what’ve I done?” pressed the young man.
At that moment Brauner strode into the office.
“Bill, I’m under arrest,” said Harris.
“What for?” asked Brauner.
“Oh, something to do with a girl, I’m told,” said Harris.
The two men explained to Miss Armfield that they had been at the Palais Royal on the Saturday night from 8 o’clock until 11. Then Brauner stood up.
“Oh well, I’ll see you later,” he said to Harris.
But Miss Armfield stepped in. Walking across to the door she closed it. “I’d prefer you to stay until Thornley arrives,” she told Brauner, she said.
Brauner put on his hat and sat down.
“Was the girl over eighteen?” he asked after a pause.
“I prefer not to discuss the matter with you,” said the policewoman.
Shortly afterwards Detective-Sergeant Thornley walked in. He explained to the two young men that a girl had made a complaint, alleging that on the Saturday night a girl had been picked up in a car outside their office, taken to a shop at Bondi Junction, and there subjected to unspeakable crimes.
In reply, Brauner and Harris told the detective that they had been to the races on Saturday afternoon, had dinner at Loosens, and then gone out to the Palais Royal, arriving there about eight o’clock.
They were taken to the Central Police Station by Thornley. On the way he told them he would line them up for identification, so that the girl would try to pick them out.
“Oh, if she picked us,” Brauner is alleged to have remarked, “Well, we can’t help it . …”
On arrival at the police station they were charged.
Detective-Sergeant [Thomas Hugh Jonathan] Thornley was in the witness-box some time giving evidence as to the statement made by Olga Hay concerning the assault and the arrest subsequently of Harris and Brauner.
When arrested both accused denied any knowledge of the girl, and stated that they were at the Palais Royal on the night of September 4.
He had interviewed the man who kept a record of the numbers of the motor cars which park at the Palais Royal, but he had no record in his list of cars No 34,537, the one used by Harris and Brauner on September 4.
Mr Coyle (handing statement to witness): Is that the statement Olga Hay made before you?—Yes.
Was the statement read over to her?—Yes.
What did Harris and Brauner say when you read the charge to them?—“We were at the Palais Royal.”
Mr Meagher (for Harris): Were you informed that Olga Hay had made a visit to Dr Palmer on Thursday, September 9?—Yes.
In consequence of the report made by Dr Palmer you laid a charge?—Yes.
When did you lay that charge?—On September 22. The charge was heard in open court on September 23.
Was the delay of a fortnight due to the innocuous nature of Dr Palmer’s report?—No.
Did you search Harris’ pockets after his arrest?—Yes; I was present.
Did you see a doctor’s prescription taken from his pocket?—I will say that I did not do so.
Will you deny that the prescription was taken from Harris’ pocket?—No.
Who examined the papers taken from his pocket?—Probably I did.
Mr Mack, KC (for Brauner): You know, Mr Thornley, there was a prescription in Harris’ pocket?—I do not. I am here to tell the truth. I resent that remark as an insult.
Don’t you look at any papers found in the pockets of those you search?—Yes.
Do you deny that there was a doctor’s prescription in his pocket?—I don’t deny that there was such a prescription in his pocket.
A few minutes ago you told Mr Coyle that when you mentioned the charge to Harris and Brauner they both said, “We were at the Palais Royal?”—Yes; that’s my recollection.
Is that the best you can do?—Yes.
And you are expected to have a good memory in the police force?—Yes.
Well, just look at page 5 in the copy of your own depositions at the lower Court. Read that paragraph.
Sergeant Thornley read out a statement made by him, in which he was recorded as saying that he had no recollection of Harris and Brauner making any remark at all when he charged them with the assault on Olga Hay.
Mr Mack sat down triumphantly, and the sergeant remarked, “Oh, lots of things are left out of depositions.”
Walter Gilkinson, the man who keeps tab on the motor cars which park at the Palais Royal, and who has been doing this work for some seven months, said he had no record of motor car No 84,537 being on Drivers’-avenue on the night of September 4.
Mr Meagher called two medical specialists to give expert evidence on sexual points arising out of the charge. They were Dr Gordon Wolsey Bray and Dr Bero Fiaschi.
Dr Bray is a specialist in VD, and he stated that he had handled 6000 cases during his professional career. He stated that he had been treating Harris for a serious infectious complaint from August 25 up to October 19. He had prescribed for him in the early part of September.
“Harris’ condition is very bad; he is infective. My opinion as an expert is that a man in Harris’ condition would have been physically incapable of accomplishing the offence complained of in the indictment.”
Dr Bray afforded the court some interesting expert testimony concerning the impossibility of an offence of the nature described being committed.
The witness also declared that Harris would be a highly infective vehicle, and that evidence of this would become apparent within 24 hours in some cases.
In the case of a girl suffering from anaemia, contact with the opposite sex, in dancing, for instance, is apt to promote attacks of eroticism, said Dr Bray. “Such women are sub-normal and liable to suffer from hysteria and hallucinations.”
Mr Meagher extracted from this witness the statement that under the circumstances associated with the alleged assault on Miss Hay, infection would occur, and it would be possible to determine the recency or otherwise of the act.
Dr Bero Fiaschi said that he had 20 years practice as an expert in VD. Referring to a certain act alleged to have been perpetrated on Olga Hay by Harris, Dr Fiaschi declared positively that it was highly improbable that such an act could have been accomplished under the circumstances postulated.
He added further that in the case of the accused Harris, the facts being as stated by Dr Bray, infection must inevitably result. He would expect that to follow if the act described had been committed.
At this stage on Friday afternoon Harris arose from the form on which he was sitting in the dock and volunteered a statement to the jury.
He said he first met Brauner about 9 months ago, and he let him an office in which he carried on a business. On September 4 he and Brauner attended the Warwick Farm races and returned to town in the motor car about 8 pm.
They went to Brauner’s office and had a wash, and then drove to Loosen’s Café. Leaving the car outside they had a meal, which they finished about 8 pm.
Then they entered the car and drove down Pitt-street. They left the car, and he was away a little time. Next he saw Brauner talking to a young lady, and they moved off along Pitt-street.
He later on drove off in the car, and as he got near the Strand Picture Theatre he again saw Brauner and the young woman, and the former called him over and introduced her.
Brauner said, “We have been looking at the picture programme, and she does not care about it.”
Harris said he then suggested: “How about coming out for a dance?” She said, “Not unless you get another girl.”
He told her they would get another girl and they all entered the car and drove off. She sat in the back of the car with Brauner.
Harris then described the route taken by the car, which eventually travelled via Nelson-street to Oxford-street, and thence into Newland-street, stopping in front of Harris House, his father’s shop.
I did not hear much of the conversation between the young woman and Brauner,” said Harris, “but they both appeared to be in a jovial mood.”
The accused went on to say that there was a dance in progress above the shop, and he went up to obtain the key. He saw a boy and asked him if Frank had left the key.
HAD A “SPOT”
He opened the door and all then entered the shop. He suggested a cordial drink, but the young woman said, “I’d like wine.”
“ ‘All right,’ I said, ‘we’ll go down in the car to the Hotel Bondi and get a bottle of sparkling hock.’
“We were not more than six minutes in the shop, when we all left in the car for the Hotel Bondi. But it was a failure, so we returned to Harris House, and pulled up as before.
“Brauner went to a shop for some soda-water, and we all had a spot of whisky. I rang up several places to get some girls to come to the dance, and whilst I was doing so Brauner and the girl went away to another part of the shop.
“I stopped near the ’phone reading, and later I rang again. They came back again, and we all had another spot.
“The girl then said she felt a bit grubby and she washed her hands.
“The music started upstairs, and we both had a few fancy steps. The girl tripped in the dance and fell, hurting her lips. She got a bit irritable at this, and I suggested that we go down to the Palais Royal.
“‘I can’t go there with a lip like this,’ she said, and it was decided that she go home. We then drove down to the Palais Royal, and had a dance. After which we left in the car, Brauner went home, and I went out to my people’s place at Bellevue Hill.”
Harris concluded by declaring that he never touched the girl at all in any way, and denied her allegations concerning the assault.
Brauner followed on similar lines, corroborating the story told by Harris. He admitted that he was kissing the girl in the back of the shop, and that she kissed him.
“In Pitt-street I saw a lady smiling, and I said to her, ‘How do you do? We have met somewhere before; perhaps at the Palais? Do you go dancing?” She said, ‘Yes, I do.’
A VENUS FIGURE
“We walked up Pitt-street to the picture show, but after looking at the programme she said she did not fancy it, and I suggested a visit to the Palais Royal for a dance. She agreed to go.”
His story tallied with that of Harris concerning the subsequent events.
“She told me when we were out in the car that she was studying to be a movie picture actress, and that the measurements of her figure were exactly the same as that of Venus.”
Brauner denied assaulting Miss Hay, as alleged.
FIRST IN 31 YEARS
THE “Bondi Case” has made a record for itself. It is the first case since 1895 when evidence has been heard on a Saturday. The last occasion was the famous Dean poisoning case. That case started, as did the Bondi case, on a Thursday, and the court did not adjourn for the week-end, but continued sitting until Saturday at midnight, when the jury returned its verdict
When the case was continued on Saturday morning Mr Meagher put Marcus Marks into the box to recount how, on the night of September 4, he was walking along Pitt-street, Sydney, with his wife about a quarter past eight, when, opposite the Strand Arcade, he saw Neville Harris standing on the footpath beside a motor car.
Frederick William Oysten, a piano tuner, who said he was for eighteen years leader of the Federal Government House Orchestra, declared that between twenty minutes to nine and twenty to ten he saw Harris sitting in a car in Matilda-street, Bondi.
He said he spoke to Harris, who responded with a “Good-night.”
A young man, Arthur Jones, was then called, he said that on September 4 he was at the Palais Royal when about twenty-five past ten he saw Harris in the dance-hall. They exchanged nods.
The door-keeper at the dance-hall in Harris’ buildings at Bondi Junction, Francis Fitzgerald, described how he had seen Harris and Brauner and another big man sitting in a car with a girl.
“I saw Brauner get out of the car and open the door. The girl got out and with the three men walked across the road.
“They crossed to the shop, and I heard the click of the little lock on the door near the dance-hall vestibule.
“About five minutes later I heard the door open. I saw the girl walk out, then Brauner followed. Next came the big man, and then Harris.
“They crossed the road, and getting into the motor car drove off.
“I next saw the car about nine o’clock. It drove along the street, pulled up opposite the vestibule, and the four of them got out. There was nothing to indicate to me that the girl was an unwilling companion.”
In answer to Mr Coyle, Fitzgerald said he had no watch, but he could tell the time by the dances.
“What’s the big fellow like?” asked Mr Coyle.
“Oh, a great big fellow, about 14 or 15 stone; I’ve never seen him since,” was the answer.
Answering a question from the jury-box, the witness said that Harris was driving the car when it first pulled up outside the shop.
With this evidence Mr Meagher closed the case for the defence.
In opening his address to the jury Mr Meagher warned the jurymen against the “corrosive poison of prejudice” and the dangers an accused person runs in a case such as this, which reached to the very hearts of homes, and which is subjected to such great publicity, the danger of being “press-tried.”
“The girl’s story is untrue,” Mr Meagher threw at the jury, “and she is the victim of her own neurosis.”
“I do not say the prosecutrix has deliberately concocted the story to put these men away for years. I say she is the victim of her emotions, and she has no more control of them than a bit of driftwood has in a mountain torrent.”
Mr Meagher addressed the jury in a most impassioned manner, which held the packed court enthralled from a quarter past eleven until a quarter to three.
He had spoken for two and a half hours.
Mr Mack then began his address in the interests of Brauner. He dwelt at length upon hysteria of girls.
“This girl suffers from hysteria and she is a danger to the world,” he said, referring to Miss Hay.
“The young girls of to-day go to picture shows where they see things which pervert their minds. They go to dances—they perform dances derived from the jungles of Africa—dances which are not merely suggestive, but worse … …
“I say this girl is an accomplished actress. She went into the box—you saw her theatrical attitude, and she raised her voice and dropped in like a good dramatic star … I do not suggest for one moment that she is deliberately lying—she believes every word she has said. That is the manifestation of he hysteria …
“Gentlemen, I owe you an apology,” said the Crown Prosecutor, Mr Coyle, when asking the jury to disregard his emotion in returning their verdict.
HIS HONOR SPEAKS
“I present her story, the like of which has never before been heard in Australia.
“Please God, no other woman will ever have to tell such a story,” he said.
“Defending counsel have made this girl out to be a lunatic, suffering from delusions; yet this girl, who was tortured in the witness-box till she fainted, never showed a sign of hysteria while telling this awful story.”
His Honor Mr Justice Ferguson, in the course of his summing up, described the case as one of the foulest that could be conceived.
”How did the girl get to the shop in which she says those horrible things occurred?” he asked. “The story of how she got there can only be described as very improbable.
“Though she says she screamed on the way out, she apparently entered the vestibule, then likely to have been crowded, of the dance-hall quietly and without resistance.
“I say that is improbable; but then the whole case is improbable.
“No evidence has been called to show that the girl is a bad character.
“It has been suggested that her habits indicated a loose character; but we know that girls do go out at night alone now, and at the same time value their chastity as highly as any.
“Is it probable that a girl of her antecedents would invent a story like this?” he asked. “And would any girl in her condition consent to any improper behavior?
“Yet the defence has put forward the assertion that nothing whatever was done without the girl’s consent in the shop; and it is a distinct weakness in the defence that no evidence was produced to support this.”
It was past five o’clock yesterday afternoon when the jury filed out of court to consider their verdict.
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The Brisbane Courier, Mon 29 Nov 1926 22
TO-DAY’S NEWS IN BRIEF.
Neville Harris and William Brauner were both found guilty at Sydney on Saturday, to charges of having committed a number of gross offences on a girl 17 years of age. The prisoners will be sentenced to-day.
SYDNEY ASSAULT CASE.
Sydney, November 28.
For the second time in 30 years a trial was held at the Darlinghurst Courthouse on a Saturday yesterday. The previous occasion was when the man Deane was on trial for the attempted poisoning of his wife. On that occasion, strange to say, Mr RD Meagher appeared for the prisoner, and last Saturday he appeared for the prisoner Neville Harris, who, with William Brauner, was charged with committing a number of gross offences on a girl 17 years of age on September 4, at Bondi Junction. As on each day of the trial the court was thronged with spectators, and numbers who were unable to get into the building, were congregated outside. Mr Meagher, in addressing the jury, said he was not going to say one word against the girl in the case, except that she was more to be pitied than blamed. He suggested that she was a victim of her own imaginations; that she had got hold of an atom of truth and enlarged upon it, as hysterical people were liable to do. She did not tell lies deliberately, but in her sub-conscious condition created by that hysterical condition she believed she was telling the truth.
Mr Mack, KC, who, with Mr Robert M Kidston, appeared for Brauner, said that the girl was a creature of circumstance, and the victim of environment and the disease of hysteria. No one could go through the city to-day without realising the terribly temptations that beset their young people. They were into picture shows, where there was a daily exhibition of lust and adultery. They went to dances where they dance revoltingly, dances that must have been imported from the African jungle. These dances were more than suggestive. Young people to-day could see and do all these things, so he thought he was justified in claiming that the girl had heard about these terrible offences, and in her hysterical state imagined that they had been done to her.
Mr Coyle, KC, the Crown Prosecutor, said that during the girl’s tiring cross-examination she had never revealed the slightest sign of hysteria.
In the course of his summing up his Honour emphasised the necessity for corroborating the girl’s story. He said that if the story told by the girl was true, she had gone through a very nerve-racking experience. It had been suggested that she suffered from hysteria, but no evidence had been shown that she was a girl of bad character, in going with strange men whom she had not seen before in a motor car.
His Honour said that unfortunately many girls behaved in a way that would horrify their fathers. He asked what had become of the third man who had been in the car. He was the only person who could corroborate the story of the accused as to what happened in the shop of Harris’s father, in Newland-street, Bondi Junction. It was said in the Lower Court that he was present, yet he had not been called by the defence. The jury filed out to consider their verdict six minutes after 5 o’clock, and returned in 35 minutes, finding the accused guilty of assault with intent to commit a serious offence, indecent assault, and an attempt to commit another offence of an abominable nature. That a deep interest had been taken in the proceedings, and much sympathy felt for the unfortunate girl, was shown when the police took the two convicted men across to the police station, an angry demonstration being made by the crowd. The prisoners will be sentenced on Monday morning.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 29 Nov 1926 23
Neville Harris and William Brauner were found guilty on Saturday at the Criminal Court of offences against a girl.
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The Argus, Tue 30 Nov 1926 24
Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, and William Brauner, aged 25 years, engineer, were each sentenced to penal servitude for 10 years on three charges of gross offences against a girl, aged 23 years, at Bondi Junction (NSW).
Ten Years’ Imprisonment.
SYDNEY, Monday.—It is very many years since a criminal trial has aroused so much public interest and indignation as that which concluded in the Darlinghurst Courthouse to-day, when Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, and William Brauner, aged 25 years, engineer, were each sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude on three charges of gross offences committed upon a girl aged 23 years, at a shop in Newland street, Bondi Junction. The court was crowded, many hundreds being unable to gain admittance.
In passing sentence, Mr Justice Ferguson said:—Many men who stand in your position in the dock, convicted of some crime of lust or violence, have this to be said for them, that, in a moment of great temptation, or under the stress of great provocation, their passions have got the better of them. That excuse, poor as it is, is not open to you. You set out in company to look for a victim, and, having got her, brought her to your lair in Bondi. When you got her there, the jury found, you committed unspeakable atrocities on her. I admit that from the beginning I had hoped that the defence might have been proved to be true for the credit of our human nature. There was one fatal defect in the case for the defence. Your own story was, and it was corroborated by other evidence, that during nearly the whole of the night there was a third man in your company, and if the story that you told, which you did not submit to the test of cross-examination as the girl’s story was submitted, was true, then there is a man who could have gone into the box and corroborated it. The man was not called. I thought when the case for the prosecution had closed that it had reached the depths of horror. It only required an additional fact to make it more horrible. The jury have found you guilty on three counts. On the first count the maximum penalty which the law allows is 14 years. On that count I sentence you both to 10 years’ penal servitude. On the second count I sentence you both, because I look upon you both as equally guilty, to five years’ penal servitude. On the third count of indecent assault I sentence you to the maximum which the law allows of three years’ imprisonment. Those sentences will be concurrent.
A large crowd of men and women, but principally men, congregated outside the court to see the prisoners taken across to the police station. When they made their appearance there were yells of execration, boo-hooing, and hoots. The police had to force a path through the crown, and, when the way across was partly cleared, run the prisoners across.
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The Mercury, Tue 30 Nov 1926 25
THE NEWS IN BRIEF
Neville Harris and William Brauner, who had been found guilty of gross offences against a young woman at North Bondi (NSW), were yesterday sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude.
NORTH BONDI OUTRAGE.
Conviction of the Accused
Judge’s Scathing Comments
Ten Years’ Imprisonment
Sydney, November 29.
For the second time in 30 years a trial was held in the Darlinghurst court-house on a Saturday. The previous occasion was when the man George Deane was on trial for the attempted poisoning of his wife. On that occasion, strange to say, Mr RD Meagher appeared for the prisoner, and last Saturday he appeared for the prisoner Neville Harris, 19, who, with William Brauner, 25, was charged with having committed a number of gross offences on a girl 23 years of age on September 4 at Bondi Junction.
Mr Meagher, in addressing the jury, said he was not going to say one word against the girl in the case, except that she was more to be pitied than blamed. He suggested that she was a victim of her own imaginations, that she had got hold to a stratum of truth, and enlarged upon it, as hysterical people were liable to do.
Mr Mack, KC, who, with Mr Robert M Kidson, appeared for Brauner, said that the girl was a creature of circumstance, and the victim of environment and the disease of hysteria. No one could go through the city to-day without realising the terrible temptations that beset their young people. They went into picture shows where there was a daily exhibition of lust and misconduct; they went to dances where they danced revolting dances that must have been imported from the African jungle. These dances were more than suggestive. Young people to-day could see and do all these things, so he thought he was justified in claiming that the girl had heard about these terrible offences, and in her hysterical state imagined that they had been done to her.
His Honor emphasised the necessity for corroborating the girl’s story. He said that if the story told by the girl was true, she had gone through a very nerve-racking experience. His Honor asked what had become of the third man who had been in the car? He was the only person who could corroborate the story of the accused as to what happened in the shop of Harris’s father.
The jury, after an absence of 35 minutes, found the accused guilty of assault with intent to commit rape, indecent assault, and an attempt to commit another offence of an abominable nature.
That a deep interest had been taken in the proceedings, and much sympathy felt for the unfortunate girl, was shown when the police took the two convicted men across to the police station, an angry demonstration was made by the crowd.
The prisoners were sentenced to-day to ten years’ penal servitude on the three charges of gross offences.
In passing sentence, Mr Justice Ferguson said: Many men who stand in your position in the dock convicted of some crime of lust or violence have this to be said for them, that in a moment of great temptation, or under the stress of great provocation, their passions have got the better of them, and they have not been able to control them. You set out in company to look for a victim, and having got her you brought her to your lair in Bondi. When you got her there the jury have found that you committed unspeakable atrocities on her. The story she told, as I said, and as Mr Meagher has said, was a most improbable one. It was an incredulous story; it was a story that demanded the most careful investigation and probing that any story could receive. I admit that from the beginning I had hoped that the defence you had set up might have proved to be true, for the credit of our human nature, not that the girl maliciously invented the story, but that with her mind deranged by some hysteria or some other mental disorder, she had imagined the terrible things that she said took place. For the defence there was one fatal defect in the case. Your own story was, and it was corroborated by other evidence, that during nearly the whole of the night there was a third man in your company, and if the story that you told, which you did not submit to the test of cross-examination, as the girl’s story was submitted was true, then there is a man who could have gone into the box, and, on oath, and, subject to cross-examination, could have corroborated it, and if his evidence was believed he would have shown that the story told by the girl was a fabrication from beginning to end. The man was not called. I cannot forget that the defence was to some extent based on the fact that you were diseased. I thought when the case for the prosecution had closed, that it had reached the depths of horror, and it only required the additional fact to make it more horrible that Brauner, too, when arrested, was suffering from disease; so that we have this added fact that not only had you subjected the girl to an outrage, the memory of which must be a nightmare to her all her life, but you exposed her to the risk of infection with a filthy disease.
“The jury have found you guilty on three counts. On the first count the penalty which the law attaches to it is the maximum of 14 years. On that count I sentence you both to 10 years’ penal servitude. There are two other counts upon which the jury have found you guilty, and I formally pass sentence on those, but the sentences will be concurrent. On the second I sentence you both, because I look upon you both as as [sic] equally guilty, to five years’ penal servitude; and on the third count of indecent assault I sentence you to the maximum which the law allows of three years; imprisonment. Those sentences will be concurrent.”
AN ANGRY CROWD.
A huge crowd of mem and women, but principally men, congregated outside the Court to see the prisoners taken across to the police station. When they made their appearance there were yells of execration and boo-hooing, while the police had to force a path through the crowd, and when the way was partly cleared they ran the prisoners across.
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The Northern Territory Times and Gazette, Tue 30 Nov 1926 26
HEAVY SENTENCES FOR HUMAN
Neville Harris, 19, and William Brauner, 25, who were convicted in Sydney on Saturday on three charges involving abominable offences against a young woman, were sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude on the first charge, five years on the second, and three years on the third. Sentences to be concurrent. Brauner had a number of prior conviction. Justice Ferguson in imposing the sentences said the men had set out to look for a victim, and having got one they took her to their lair in Bondi. After the sentences had been passed and when the prisoners were being removed [a] large crowd followed them and hooted. The police had difficulty getting them away.
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Queanbeyan Age and Queanbeyan Observer, Tue 30 Nov 1926 27
At the Central Police Court to-day, William Brauner was remanded till 7th January on a charge of having on 28th July last assaulted a woman with intent to commit a serious offence. The Police Prosecutor said the same charge had been laid against Neville Harris, but he would not appear before the Court.
At the Central Criminal Court yesterday William Brauner, aged 25, and Neville Harris, aged 19, were convicted on three charges of outrageous offences on a young woman in a Bondi Junction shop on Sept 4. Prisoners were sentenced to 10 years on the principal charge, five years’ penal servitude on the second count, and three on the third, but the sentences were made concurrent. The prisoners will therefore only be required to serve ten years’ penal servitude.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 30 Nov 1926 28
Found guilty on three charges of gross offences, Neville Harris and William Brauner each was sentenced yesterday to ten years’ penal servitude.
TEN YEARS PENAL SERVITUDE
The whole of the area in front of Darlinghurst Court-house was crowded yesterday, when Neville Harris and William Brauner, the two men who had been convicted on Saturday evening on three charges of gross offences committed against a girl 23 years of age at a shop in Newland-street, Bondi Junction belonging to Harris’s father, were called to receive sentence.
Mr RD Meagher made an appeal to Mr Justice Ferguson in favour of Harris. He said there had been a huge wave of prejudice which counsel had to contend against. Had the trial been conducted under normal conditions a normal jury would most likely have given a verdict on the minor count of indecent assault.
Mr Mack, KC, who appeared for Brauner, also appealed for leniency.
In passing sentence, Mr Justice Ferguson said:—Many men who stand in your position in the dock, convicted of some crime of lust or violence, have this to be said for them, that in a moment of great temptation, or under the stress of great provocation, their passions have got the better of them, and they have not been able to control them. That excuse, poor as it is, is not open to you. You set out in company to look for a victim, and having got her you brought her to your lair in Bondi. Now, in the view I take of this case, it is quite immaterial whether you brought her there violently or whether you induced her there. When you got her there the jury have found that you committed unspeakable atrocities on her. Now I have looked anxiously, as I have always looked, and as I always shall look while I occupy a seat on the Bench, for any extenuating circumstances which I ought to take into consideration. I cannot find them. I have not forgotten Harris’s youth. If this were a crime of youth—if it were to be accounted for by youthful heat of blood—I could take that into consideration; but it is not that kind of crime. I cannot forget that the defence was to some extent based on the fact that you were diseased. I thought when the case for the prosecution had closed that it had reached the depths of horror, and it only required the additional fact to make it more horrible, and now there is the evidence that Brauner too, when arrested, was suffering from disease. So that we have this added fact that not only had you subjected the girl to an outrage, the memory of which must be a nightmare to her all her life, but you exposed her to the risk of infection with a filthy disease. The jury have found you guilty on three counts—on the first count the penalty which the law attaches to is the maximum of 14 years. On that count I sentence you both to 10 years’ penal servitude. There are two other counts upon which the jury found you guilty, and I formally pass sentence on those, but the sentences will be concurrent. On the second count I sentence you both, because I look upon you both as equally guilty, to five years’ penal servitude; and on the third count of indecent assault, I sentence you to the maximum which the law allows of three years’ imprisonment. Those sentences will be concurrent.
A huge crowd of men and women, but principally men, congregated outside the court to see the prisoners taken across to the police station. When they made their appearance there were calls and hoots, and the police had to force a path through the crowd. When the way was partly cleared, the police ran the prisoners across.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The West Australian, Tue 30 Nov 1926 29
Sydney, Nov 29.
It is very many years since a criminal trial has aroused so much public interest and indignation as that which was concluded at the Darlinghurst Courthouse to-day, when Neville Harris (19), agent, and William Brauner (25), engineer, were each sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude on three charges of gross offences, committed upon a girl aged 23 years, at a shop in Newland-street, Bondi Junction. The Court was crowded, and many hundreds of persons were unable to gain admittance.
In passing sentence, Mr Justice Ferguson said:—“Many men who stand in your position in the dock convicted of some crime of passion or violence have this to be said for them, that in a moment of great temptation, or under the stress of a great provocation, their passions have got the better of them and they have not been able to control them. That excuse, poor as it is, is not open to you. You set out in company to look for a victim, and, having got her, you brought her to your lair in Bondi. The jury have found that you committed unspeakable atrocities on her. The story she told, as I said and as Mr Meagher has said, was a most improbable one. It was an incredible story. It was a story that demanded the most careful investigation and probing that any story could receive. I admit that from the beginning I had hoped that the defence which had been set up might have been proved to be true for the credit of our human nature, not that the girl maliciously invented the story, but that with her mind deranged by some hysteria or some other mental disorder she had imagined the terrible things that she said took place. For the defence there was one fatal defect in the case. Your own story was—and it was corroborated by other evidence—that during nearly the whole of the night there was a third man in your company. If the story that you told, which you did not submit to the test of cross-examination, as the girl’s story was submitted, was true, then there is a man who could have gone in to the box and on oath, and, subject to cross-examination, could have corroborated it. If his evidence was believed he would have shown that the story told by the girl was a fabrication from beginning to end. The man was not called. The jury have found you guilty on three counts. On the first count, the penalty which the law attaches to it is the maximum of 14 years, on that count I sentence you both to 10 years’ penal servitude. There are two other counts upon which the jury found you guilty, and I formally pass sentence on those, but the sentences will be concurrent. On the second I sentence you both—because I look upon you both as equally guilty—to five years’ penal servitude, and on the third count of indecent assault I sentence you to the maximum which the law allows of three years’ imprisonment. Those sentences will be concurrent.”
A huge crown of men and women, but principally men, congregated outside the Court to see the prisoners taken across to the police station. When they made their appearance there were yells of execration, boo-hooing and hoots, and the police had to force a path through the crowd. When the way was partly cleared they ran the prisoners across.
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Western Argus, Tue 30 Nov 1926 30
A STRANGE CASE
GIRL ABDUCTED IN MOTOR
Sydney, Nov 25.
A case which has caused considerable public interest came before Mr Justice Ferguson in the Central Criminal Court to-day, when Neville Harris, 19, agent, and William Brauner, 23, engineer, were charged with assaulting Olga Hay at Bondi Junction on September 4 with intent to commit a gross offence.
In opening the case to the jury the Crown Prosecutor, Mr Coyle, said the girl was 23 years of age and came to Sydney on Saturday night, September 4, to meet her young man. She missed him and walked along Pitt-street with the intention of going to a picture show. In front of Rickards’ house she was spoken to by a man whom she had not seen before. The next thing she knew was that she was in a motor car with a coat over her head. She remembered hearing a voice say, “You’ll smother her.” The coat was removed and she recognised Oxford-street and knew they were travelling in the direction of Bondi. She saw Brauner and Harris sitting beside her and a third man was driving the car. She screamed and her screams were heard by a woman as the car proceeded along Oxford-street. At the corner of Newland and Oxford streets, Waverley, the car stopped and Harris and Brauner took her into a room in the building owned by Harris’ father, a portion of which is used as a dancing hall. It was in this room, Mr Coyle said, that the assault was committed.
SYDNEY MEN FOUND GUILTY.
DENUNCIATION OF MODERN
Sydney, Nov 28.
For the second time in thirty years a trial was held in the Darlinghurst Courthouse last Saturday. The previous occasion was when the man Dennis was on trial for the attempted poisoning of his wife. On that occasion, strange to say, Mr RD Meagher appeared for the prisoner, and last Saturday he appeared for the prisoner Neville Harris, who, with William Brauner, was charged with committing a number of gross offences on a girl 17 years of age on September 4 at Bondi Junction. As on each day of the trial, the court was thronged with spectators, and numbers who were unable to get into the building were congregated outside.
Mr Meagher, in addressing the jury, said he was not going to say one word against the girl in the case except that she was more to be pitied than blamed. He suggested that she was a victim of her own imagination, that she had got hold of a stratum of truth, and enlarged upon it, as hysterical people were liable to do. She did not tell lies deliberately. In her subconscious condition, created by that hysterical condition, she believed she was telling the truth.
Mr Mack, KC, who, with Mr Robert M Kidston, appeared for Brauner, said that the girl was a creature of circumstance and the victim of environment, and the disease of hysteria. No one could go through the city to-day without realising the terrible temptation that beset their young people. They went into the picture shows, where there was a daily exhibition of lust and adultery. They went to dances where they danced revoltingly, dances that must have been imported from the African jungle. These dances were more than suggestive. Young people to-day could see and do all these things. So he thought he was justified in claiming the girl had heard about these terrible offences and in her hysterical state imagined that they had been done to her.
Mr Coyle, KC, the Crown Prosecutor, said that during the girl’s trying cross-examination she had never revealed the slightest sign of hysteria.
In the course of his summing up his Honour emphasised the necessity for corroborating the girl’s story. He said that if the story told by the girl was true, she had gone through a very nerve-wracking experience. It had been suggested that she suffered from hysteria, but no evidence had been shown that she was a girl of bad character in going with strange men, whom she had not seen before, in a motor car. His Honour said that unfortunately many girls behaved in a way that would horrify their fathers. His Honour asked what had become of the third man who had been in the car. He was the only person who could corroborate the story of the accused as to what happened in the shop of Harris’ father in Newlands-street, [sic] Bondi Junction. It was said in the lower court that he was present, yet he had not been called by the defence.
The jury filed out to consider their verdict at six minutes after 5 o’clock and returned in 35 minutes, finding the accused guilty of assault with intent to commit rape, indecent assault and attempt to commit another offence of an abominable nature. That a deep interest had been taken in the proceedings and much sympathy felt for the unfortunate girl was shown when the police took the two convicted men across to the police station. An angry demonstration was made by the crowd. The prisoners will be sentenced on Monday morning.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Argus, Wed 1 Dec 1926 31
Two Men Again Charged.
SYDNEY, Tuesday.—William Brauner, aged 25 years, engineer, who was yesterday sentenced to penal servitude for 10 years on three charges of having committed gross offences against a woman aged 23 years, was again before Central Police Court to-day, when he was charged with having, on July 28, assaulted a girl with intent to commit a capital offence. Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, who received a sentence similar to that imposed on Brauner, was also involved in the new charge, but did not appear in court.
On the application of the police the case was adjourned until January 7.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Brisbane Courier, Wed 1 Dec 1926 32
FURTHER CHARGE PREFERRED.
Sydney, November 30.
William Brauner (aged 25 years, engineer), who was yesterday sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude on grave charges, was again brought before the Central Police Court to-day, when he was charged with having assaulted a girl on July 28 last, with intent to commit a capital offence. Neville Harris, who received a similar sentence to Brauner on Monday, was also involved in the new charge, but did not appear in court. On the application of the police, the case was adjourned until January 7, 1927.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Mercury, Wed 1 Dec 1926 33
FURTHER CHARGES PREFERRED.
Sydney, November 30.
William Brauner, aged 25 years, engineer, who was yesterday sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude on grave charges, was again before the Central Police Court to-day, when he was charged with having assaulted a girl on July 28 last with intent to commit a capital offence. Neville Harris, who received a similar sentence to Brauner on Monday, was also involved in the new charge, but did not appear. On the application of the police the case was adjourned until January 7, 1927.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 1 Dec 1926 34
BRAUNER AGAIN IN COURT.
William Brauner, aged 25 years, engineer, appeared before Mr Gates, CSM, at the Central Police Court yesterday, on a charge of having assaulted a girl on July 28 last, with intent to commit a capital offence. Neville Harris was also included in the charge, but he did not appear in court.
On the application of the police prosecutor (Sergeant Napper), the case was remanded to January 7, 1927. Bail was not applied for.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 5 Dec 1926 35
In Their Lair in Bondi They Bartered
Their Youth and Freedom
Brauner and Harris Pay for their Sins
TEN YEARS’ GAOL
For a Mad Night Devoted to a Girl’s Torture
Ten years penal servitude for both Brauner and Harris. …
At one minute past ten by the court clock His Honor Mr Justice Ferguson moved swiftly to his seat.
There was a stir, a loud cry of “Silence!” and then the sound, down below the court, someone stumbling over a step. Brauner appeared at the top of the stairway in the dock, and walked to the left-hand side of the barred cage, facing the judge. Harris followed, and walked to the right side of the dock. The whole length of the enclosure was between them, and they ignored each other.
Neither, on this occasion, showed any inclination to treat the situation with any of the insouciance that had marked their bearing on previous attendances in court. Both were neatly dressed, but Harris had lost all the red glow from his cheeks. His now clean-shaven face was a bloodless, olive hue, while a dark cloud suffused the countenance of his older fellow-criminal.
“Neville Harris and William Brauner,” a voice sounded, like the opening note of the trumpet of judgment, “a jury have found you guilty of assault to commit an offence, guilty of an abominable offence, and guilty of an indecent assault.
“Have you anything to say?”
“Nothing to say,” said Brauner. Harris did not speak, and his counsel spoke for him.
Mr Meagher asked that before sentence was passed the records of the convicted men should be read out. Gaol-recorder Cosgrove went into the box and read them. They are reprinted on this page.
Brauner, it was added, had been certified by Dr Lee Brown on September 29 to be suffering from a disease.
CENTRAL PC, 23/1/18 — Indecent language, 15/- or 3 days; do, 23/7/18—do, 15/ or 3 days; do, 10/1/21—Offensive manner, 10/ or 7 days; do, 10/1/21—Indecent language, £3 or 21 days; do, 20/5/25—Indecent behavior, 20/ or 7 days.
CENTRAL PC.—27/4/24, drove motor car dangerously, £3 or 21 days.
“Wave of Prejudice”
Mr Meagher was not prepared to let it go at that, and he launched into a characteristic fight in an endeavor to win a last-minute mitigation of Harris’ sentence.
“This has been one of the most extraordinary cases ever told in this court,” he said, “and in your Honor’s judicial experience. There are so many angles of a contradictory character that even your Honor draws attention to the possibilities of the story as told by the prosecutrix.
“The alleged offence is supposed to have taken place at a shop at the corner of Newland and Oxford streets at 8.15 pm on September 4, and leaving aside the witnesses for the defence it is made clear by the prosecutrix that, whereas the parties went there at that time, they never left for hours afterwards.
“Yet Deacon says he saw Harris in a car turning round and facing towards Oxford-street, and the police say that five minutes after leaving the car they returned and left for Bondi, and returned again. The fact does remain that, leaving the defence entirely aside, the prosecutrix is contradicted in that most material particular. Whereas Harris established his whereabouts between 8 pm and 8.30, she says he remained continually in her presence for several hours.
“The witness Deacon fully confirms the story told by the defence. Witness Masters says that Brauner went to his shop about 9 o’clock and purchased a bottle of cordial, whereas the prosecutrix is positive that Brauner and Harris were continually in her presence. Ainsworth describes three people going into the shop, and Brauner going to Masters’ and buying cordial—all of which we entirely agree with.
“When we talk of reconciliation, I do not put the case for the defence in juxtaposition with the Crown case, but I go right into the heart of the Crown case, and take two of their witnesses as evidence for the defence.”
His Honor broke in: Are you suggesting that the verdict should be reversed?
Mr Meagher: No, not here. But I suggest that the evidence for the defence should be taken into consideration in mitigation of the penalty.
“I am pointing out those facts,” Mr Meagher resumed, “more fully—those facts of improbabilities which your Honor was so good as to show to the jury at a time of such excitement and in an atmosphere such as I myself have never seen at this court—the prejudicial atmosphere which has saturated the court against the defendants, and which has been created largely by press reports and press photographs.
“Your Honor and I did our best to eliminate these prejudices from the minds of the jury, but when for a matter of months a man’s mind had been saturated by such phrases as ‘immoral monster’—I think that was how one paper put it. …
THE members of the jury in the Harris-Brauner case were, comparatively speaking, all young men, one being over fifty.
* * * *
A small mob hooted Mr Meagher for defending Harris, and he received an anonymous letter denouncing hin for “defending a Jew who had outraged a Christian girl.”
* * * *
Many notorious criminals, who generally avoid the police, surged about Detective-Sergeant Thornley after the sentence was pronounced, clapped him on the back, wrung his hand, and congratulated him on his preparation of the case for the prosecution.
* * * *
Mr Justice Ferguson declared that he had never listened to a more abominable case.
* * * *
Fifty pressmen tried unsuccessfully to sit in the fifteen seats set apart at the desks for newspaper representatives.
Mr Meagher did not finish the sentence, but went on:
“I know no case in which I myself have received for months anonymous communications, as I have done in connection with this matter. I have handed them to my manager and they have been dealt with as such poisonous reptiles should be dealt with.
“There has been a huge wave of prejudice. Mr Mack and I knew when we faced the case that we were confronted with circumstances such as only have been paralleled [sic] in the case of Loeb and Leopold at Chicago some time ago.
“That one should get letters in his daily mail, expressing surprise that an advocate such as myself should be defending a Jew against a Christian girl. That is the sort of thing we have had to put up with.
“I ask your Worship,” pleaded Mr Meagher, “to look at the whole contours of the case. The atmosphere is to heavily-laden with prejudice that if it had been possible to add, on account of those bruises, an extra count of attempted murder, it would have been set out in the indictment.
“Your Honor knows as well as I do that Dr Palmer never found any marks that suggested violence in an attempted crime such as that in the first indictment. The woman herself has never sworn that any attempt has been made to accomplish this crime.
“There were marks of violence on the neck, throat and knee, but I put it that the atmosphere was so super-laden with prejudice that the jury, without the slightest evidence that the crime was attempted, found guilty on that count.
“Dr Palmer attaches no importance to the slight indication of injury mentioned in connection with the second offence. He says it might have resulted from quite other causes than those alleged.
“In view of the condition of Harris, an infection would have resulted. Two experts say it would have been a miracle had it not occurred.
“On the third count, the jury were entitled, had they so desired, to find a verdict of assault with indecent acts.
“If one could create a vacuum of fairness, get away from the microbe of prejudice, any normal-minded jury, working under normal conditions, would possibly have only found a verdict on the third count.
“THE PRISON ATMOSPHERE”
“I submit, with respect, that the verdict on the three counts is an extraordinary verdict.
“Visualise the future position of this lad (Harris)—nineteen years of age—his family, I suppose, one of the most highly-respected in the Eastern Suburbs—I am aware that in this country your Honor only deals with individuals, not with families, so I hope you will not think I am dragging a sentimental herring across the trail.
“It is two years since he left Sydney Grammar School, where he was highly-respected—he was earlier at Scots College. I ask your Honor to take the view that he has come in contact with minds much older than himself, and has suffered the effect of such contact.
“The boy possesses an unimpeachable career up to date, and I ask your Honor that you will consider it possible that he should serve sentence under that more lenient section of the Crimes Act. The worst possible use which you can put any man to, as Bernard Shaw said, is to send him to prison.
“ ‘The twig is young, the sap is fresh, and it can be bent back into its proper shape again.’
“The prison atmosphere,” he said, “is so antagonistic to reform, that in many cases it saturates a man’s temperament and drives him lower. I am not at all clear that incarceration will have the best results, apart from the question of shame to those near and dear to him.”
“In consideration of the distortion, exaggeration and gross prejudice, I ask your Honor that your thoughts might be concentrated on the finding on the third count, which might rationally and logically be looked for based on the Crown case.
“The defence is impregnable and irrefutable. But I am leaving that entirely out, and ask that your Honor look at the defence with a general purview, why evidence of the Crown should not have been concentrated on the third count.
“It has been a most unpleasant case for the counsel for the defence. The offence has not been enlightened in any way here, and I only ask your Honor to take into consideration that this youth of 19 has become the contaminated subject of various surroundings.”
“Brauner is a young man also,” opened Mr Mack. “That order (referring to the maintenance upon which Brauner has been held) was made eight years ago, or more, when he was sixteen. He tells me that the girl had been paid off eight years ago, but, unfortunately, it was never recorded. But she has never pursued him in any way.
“The maximum imprisonment for the first (attempted) offence is fourteen years—in England the maximum is life. In England the maximum sentence for the offence itself is life, and the strange thing is that there is the same sentence for the attempted offence as for the offence itself. But a court of appeal has upheld in England that a normal sentence for the greater offence is five years.
“It is adduced that where here it is less severe, the normal sentence for attempted offence should certainly not be more than five years.”
—Mr Justice Ferguson to Brauner and Harris.
Mr Mack sat down, and there was an ominous pause.
His Honor cleared his throat.
“Neville Harris … William Brauner.”
The two men in the dock got to their feet .…… the countenance of both had lost all color. They were not white, but a deathly yellow.
“Many men who have stood in your position in the dock,” his Honor began, “convicted of some crime of lust or violence have this to be said for them—that in a moment of great temptation or under the stress of great provocation their passions have got the better of them, and they have not been able to control them.
Scenes Outside the Court
THE SOUNDLESS STRUGGLE
ALL during the week Brauner and Harris were more hotly discussed than the recent big political crisis. One caught snatches of comment in the trams, and on approaching Darlinghurst almost every group of men, young or old, seemed to be engaged in discussing the term the presiding Judge had handed down to them.
At an early hour on Monday morning scores had queued up before No. 2 Court, just as they might have done at a first matinee performance, to secure a front seat. Knots of men, among whom were half-a-dozen women, crowded the precincts of the Criminal Court, spilled over the lawn, and even on to the footpaths fronting the building. Within handy reach of the bars of the adjacent hotels other groups discussed the probable sentences, and cooled the argument by sundry adjournments within.
Back of the chain of motor cars on the lawn were several women, young and old, but they made no move toward the court entrance when the latter was opened, and the crowd of men surged in with much pushing and shoving.
It was a heterogeneous crowd; business men, sleek, alert and self-confident; dapper clerks; messenger boys; and youths in tailor-mades fought with sturdy laborers, unshaven corner idlers, and post-leaners for front seats.
THE COMMON FEELING
In that surging mass of excited humanity all consideration of caste or class was submerged. Animated by a common feeling, some old vestigal [sic] instinct which lies embedded in the sub-consciousness of us all, these men of diverse manners, moods, and passions, found themselves surging in one tempestuous stream into the Temple of Justice.
It was a soundless struggle. Wordless, each member of the hustling throng bent solely on one thing—the capture of a vantage point from which he might hear the words that were to “absolve the just doom the guilty souls.”
Within a few minutes of the doors being thrown wide the excited crowd had left the bright sunshine of the open courtyard, the green lawn with its wealth of orange and red blooms, and was swallowed up in the cloistered twilight of the great gaunt chamber.
Once inside it was noticeable that every available inch of seating space was filled; packed and jambed with perspiring men and youths. The galleries, benches set apart for the jury panel, the floor in the body of the court, all the passageways and annexes, and the barristers’ arena, aye, even the limited space about the press desks, were crowded with spectators.
And over all hung the pall of a silence that could be felt. Occasionally a sibilant whisper cut the startled air, and every eye roamed in the direction of the sound.
The muted crowd was stirred to action, and the tension broke when Mr Justice Ferguson arrived in his scarlet and ermine robes, making a bizarre splash of color in the austere gloom of the dim chamber.
EACH SHUNNED THE OTHER
Immediately there was a clang from below the chamber. The trapdoor flew open, and from the depths two pallid-faced men emerged, blinking in the unaccustomed light. Brauner was wearing a brown suit, a brown tie and soft collar, hitched with a safety pin and brown shoes. Harris wore a dark suit, his double-breasted coat being tightly buttoned. Both sat at opposite ends of the bench within the pen until ordered to arise and hear their sentences.
The stir created by the entrance of his Honor was not so marked as that aroused by the appearance of Harris and Brauner. Every eye was strained to catch even a fleeting glimpse of the two men. Brauner turned his head and glanced rapidly over the packed benches behind him, as if seeking a friendly face in the crowd, but Harris fixed his gaze upon the judge, nor did he remove it, except for a few moments, until he heard the fateful sentence that doomed him to a decade of hard labor, fall from the white lips of the judge.
It was noticeable that the two men did not fraternise in the pen, narrow as are its confines. They neither sat nor stood together. Each took up a position in a corner as far removed as possible one from the other. They did not even glance at each other. Brauner stood grasping the iron rail before him and so tightly that the whites of his knuckles showed. Once he removed his hands during his Honor’s address.
Harris stood, his hands clasped before him, resting lightly on the rail. Only in an accentuated pallor, and a dilation of the eyes, did either betray emotion. When the sentence was stated, Harris sagged slightly.
He groped unsteadily with his feet for the steps, and his eyes were dilated with terror. Brauner looked neither to the left nor the right, but plunged doggedly below.
Not until fully half-an-hour after the two prisoners had descended into the underground cells did the Prison Van back into the narrow lane at the rear of the court buildings to take them across to the police station. The lane is long. On one side the yellow stone wall of the old Darlinghurst gaol peers high into the sky; on the other there is the lower wall of the courthouse, with narrow little doors cut into the grey stone every few yards.
Out of one of these doors, the inpatient, murmuring crowd knew, Brauner and Harris would emerge. But the army of police and detectives would not allow anybody except pressmen an photographers near the door, so the crowd was forced to stay at the Forbes-street end, where they bellied darkly into the mouth of the lane.
And then … The Prison Van, menacing and significant, forced its way through the throng and backed up the laneway until it stopped at a little black door in the wall.
A policeman thrust out his head … gave a signal … The door of the van was opened. Timidly, a corner of the crowd edged further into the lane, then raced towards the Prison Van, pressed eagerly around it, every eye set on the little black door.
TWO BROWN FIGURES
Suddenly it opened … Four big policemen scrambled out and swiftly stood in a half-circle around the back of the van. The little group of hungry-eyed, excited men shuffled forward. Then … two small brown figures flashed from the door … a leap … And Harris, his fair curly hair gleaming in the sunlight, melted into the shadowy darkness of the van.
Almost on his heels, stooping so low that nothing could be seen of him between the cordon of police but a glimpse of his brown suit, Brauner followed.
The door banged, three constables jumped on to the foot-board, and in two seconds the Prison Van was shooting down the yellow lane towards the crowd. …
The mixed crowd gathered at the entrance to the laneway, waited for the prisoners. There were many women among the crowd, some young and well dressed, and other of the rusty, fusty, frowsy type which may be seen any week-day hanging about the neighboring hotels. One woman, of this type, led a chorus of hoots for Brauner and Harris. It was heartily re-echoed by the crowd.
Several of the more daring of the disgruntled mob rushed to the fence and leaped up, with outstretched arms, grasping the top rail. In their anxiety to get a final glimpse of Harris and Brauner, the two men whose crimes had been a topic of conversation on ferry, tram, train, and ’bus for months, they clung like flies to the fence.
With the Grey-clad Throng
THEIR NEW LIFE
DOWN on the hot beach two little figures stretched languidly in the sunshine, their brown limbs shining with the gleam of youth. They stand up, race down the soft sand of golden beach and leap laughingly into the creamy swirl and thunder of the glinting sea. …… William Brauner and Neville Harris.
A dance hall … Two young men, black and white and stiff in their dress-suits, clinging to fluffy, laughing girls, dip and plunge rhythmically to the soft enchantment of the music. … Brauner and Harris.
One word from a jury, and the scene changes like a flash on the silver-screen, and the very color of life has gone …
Two figures in wide flapping hats and grey uniforms walk down the gloomy corridors. A numbered circlet of canvas gleams on their jacket. “Quick march!” … The warder’s voice comes sharp and sudden, and with weary eyes they file with twenty other men in grey uniforms and straw hats across the cemented yard to the big workshop with the wooden forms … Brauner and Harris.
Because of that one word, “Guilty,” which came huskily from the lips of the jury, life for Brauner and Harris changed from a pageant of pleasure to days of unimaginable dreariness. In a second, as it were, their fashionably-cut suits slipped from them and left them clothed in the grey woollen uniforms of the prison. They were no longer the gay, reckless, jazzing lads of Bondi, whose life was a whirl of girls and dancing and races and parties, but the drooping, spiritless prisoners of a gaol.
Always these two have lived gaily. Brauner’s life has been the more chequered. Born in South Australia in 1894, the son of a German father, and an Australian mother, he was brought across to Sydney when he was a mere child. His mother shortly afterwards became the proprietoress [sic] of a hotel on the corner of Sussex and Margaret-streets, where she became a very popular figure.
Brauner, when he was only eighteen years of age—in 1912—stood his trial on a charge of abducting a young girl with the intention of committing a serious crime. He was acquitted, but from that charge arose a prosecution against him for the maintenance of a child, and at the present time he is serving a sentence because he got into arrears with the payments.
The police declare that they have information regarding several serious crimes charged against Brauner. However, as one well-known detective remarked: “There is no one among the girls concerned brave enough to go into a court of law and tell her story.”
Harris, on the other hand, was brought up in a better and more cultured environment. His parents are wealthy. His mother and sisters are remarkably fine women, and his father is a kindly, progressive business-man. Harris was schooled first at the Scots’ College, and later at the Sydney Grammar School.
ROUTINE OF THE GAOLS
But it seems that for his age he has been permitted more than an ordinary youth’s share of luxuries. He had the use of a handsome motor-car, and after leaving school opened an office in Pitt-street as an agent.
His wardrobe was a revelation in the sartorial art. It was always packed with the most fashionable of suits, hats, shoes, and so forth, and with his host of companions whose inclinations and pleasured were similar to his, he frequented the most exclusive hotels in the city. And almost daily he was to be seen with Brauner “doing the block.” In fact, the two men became so conspicuous and well-known in that section of Sydney—Pitt, King, and Market streets, that they earned the title of the “Pitt-street gentleman.”
THE LIFE THEY’LL LEAD
But now, because they unveiled their passions and in a mad moment wrought evil, these two young men must sacrifice the golden years of their youth in a prison. For many long years they must expiate their crimes as units of a grey-clad throng whose days are long and searing, and filled with the brooding visions of unutterable loneliness. From languidly beckoning waiters, they will be harshly beckoned by warders.
The prison to which they will go has not yet been chosen. The name of Maitland gaol has been on the tongues of many people, but that gaol is exclusively for the incarceration of sexual perverts, and Brauner and Harris may not be classed as sexual perverts.
They may go to Goulburn, to Bathurst, they may remain at Long Bay. They may even go to one of the unimportant gaols which dot the country-side. But, whatever gaol they are finally sent to, they will not set eyes upon each other for seven and a half years, presuming that they get their three months remission yearly for good conduct. Harris is only 19 years of age, a mere youth. Brauner is thirty-two. And the law provides that Harris shall be segregated from his elder friend.
Seven and a half years! … It is a long, long time. But in a prison it is an age, a dark eternity. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year, the endless chain of monotonous spirit-breaking routine, bereft of a speck of color, never made glamorous by a single tinge of variety.
This must be their life. At six-thirty each morning they must scramble from their bunks, don their grey uniforms, their worsted shirts, their crude, heavy boots, and clean out their bare, shadowed cells. At seven o’clock they munch their breakfast of bread and maize-meal and tea. At eight o’clock they will file from their cells down the hard corridors with the rows and rows of grim, iron-barred doors, into the muster yard. And then they will be marched by the warders to their various workshops. They may toil in the carpentering shop; they may fashion prison-boots in the shoe-making shop; they may stitch for hours and hours over the tailoring of clothes. … They may do any of these things. Brauner, having been an engineer, he will probably go to the engineering workshop, and Harris will, perhaps, work in the boot-shop.
When the gaol clock booms out the noon hour, they will again muster in the cemented yard, and march through the corridors to their cells, where for an hour they will eat a meal of meat and vegetables; and then, another muster, and a dispersion to the workshops to labor persistently under the unshifting eyes of the warders.
At four o’clock the shops will close, the prisoners will muster and file to their cells, eat their tea of hominy and bread, and remain there with the silence of their thoughts and the row of taunting iron bars always before their eyes, until half-past six the next morning.
During the first year of their imprisonment they may enjoy the momentary pleasure of seeing visitors once a month; they will be permitted to write three letters to relatives every six weeks, and to receive them once in every four weeks. Tobacco will be issued, but the cigarettes to which they have been so accustomed will be a luxury they will never taste.
And on May 25, 1934, when the North Shore Bridge stretches its gleaming arm across the shining harbor, when the City Railway hums with the noise of rushing trains, when, perhaps, Sydney is tall with peering sky-scrapers, and the blue dome of the sky buzzes with ’planes, Brauner and Harris will walk out of the gaol—free men.
But their souls will always be tortured by the sharp memory of those seven and a half dead years.
(Continued on Page 14.)
The Bondi Case.
The Judge Trembled as He Reviewed Evidence
(Continued from Page 13.)
Fatal Defect in Case for the Defence
NO EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES
“That excuse, poor as it is, is not open to you. You set out in company to look for a victim, and having got her, you brought her to your lair in Bondi. Now the view I take of this case, it is quite whether you brought her there violently or whether you induced her there, when you got her there the jury have found that you committed unspeakable atrocities upon her.
“The story she told, as I said, and as Mr Meagher had said, was a most improbable one. It was an incredible story; it was a story that demanded as careful investigation and probing that any story can receive.
“And in this case it is a matter of satisfaction to remember that you both were most ably defended—and I use that expression not in any spirit of idle compliment, but because I do feel a very great satisfaction to remember it. The advocates who have defended you both were advocates of great experience and great ability, and I don’t know that they ever displayed their ability more than in this case.
“I admit that from the beginning I hoped that the defence that they set up might be proved to be true, for the credit of our human nature, not that the girl maliciously invented the story, but that, with her mind deranged by some hysteria or some other mental disorder, she had imagined the terrible things that she said took place.
“It was necessary that the story should be examined as it was examined; that all the improbabilities should be brought to light; that all the conflicting evidence should be made prominent; that every fact that could be brought out in favor of the defence should be brought out, and I am sure that the jury themselves will feel very great satisfaction to remember that whatever facts could be proved in your favor were proved and whatever could be said in your favor was said and most ably said.
MISSING THIRD MAN.
“But there was one fatal defect in the case for the defence. Your own story was, and it was corroborated by other evidence, that during nearly the whole of that night there was a third man in your company. If that story that you told—which you did not submit to the test of cross-examination as the girl’s story was submitted—if that story was true, then there is a man who could have gone into the box and on oath and subject to cross-examination, could have corroborated you, and if he were believed he would have shown that the story told by the girl was a fabrication from beginning to end. That man was not called.
“Now, Mr Meagher has laid stress upon the improbabilities and the weaknesses of the case for the prosecution. It is not part of a judge’s duty, when he comes to sentence, to allow his own view of the facts to govern him in assessing the sentence. Whether he agrees with the jury’s verdict or not, his duty is to accept the stated facts as fond by them, as shown by their verdict, and those are the facts he must take as proved and established. It is on those facts that he must base his sentence.
“So that, even if I did agree with the jury’s verdict, I could not be influenced in the slightest degree by that circumstance.
“But I ought to say this, that when the case for the defence closed, and that man was not called, I found it hard to see how any jury could possibly come to any other conclusion than that the girl’s incredible story was in all essentials true.
“I have looked anxiously, as I always look, and as I always shall look while I occupy a seat on this Bench, for any extenuating circumstances which I ought to take into consideration.
“I cannot find them.”
His Honor’s voice dropped and he hesitated before going on.
“I have not forgotten Harris’ youth, if this were a crime of youth, if it were to be accounted for by the youthful heat of blood, I could take that into consideration, but it is not that kind of crime.
“I cannot forget that the defence was to some extent based upon the fact that you were diseased.
“I thought when the case for the prosecution was closed that it had reached the depths of horror, and it only required that additional fact to make it more horrible. And now there is the evidence that Brauner, too, when arrested, was suffering from disease.”
His Honor’s voice was trembling now.
“So that we have this added fact—that not only had you subjected that girl to an outrage, the memory of which must be a nightmare to her all her life, but you exposed her to the risk of infection with a filthy disease.”
There was a distinct pause.
It was noticed then, as he pronounced the first of the sentences, that his Honor spoke only with repressed agitation, and he could not suppress the tremor that sounded in his voice. The eye wandered down to the judge’s hand—the left hand—which lay loosely on the bench. It was trembling, beyond his control. He clutched it, once, and went on, speaking with great deliberation, almost jerkily, a distinct pause between each word or phrase.
“The jury has found you guilty on the three counts,” he said. …
“On the first count the penalty which the law attaches—to it—is the maximum of fourteen years. … On that count I sentence you to ten years’ penal servitude. …
“There are two other counts upon which the jury has found you guilty, and I formally pass sentence upon those … but the sentences are concurrent. …
“On the second count” (of attempting to commit an abominable outrage) “I sentence you both … because I look upon you both as equally guilty … to five years’ penal servitude, and on the third” (he was speaking with more ease now, as though some great responsibility had been released from his shoulders) “count of indecent assault, I sentence you to the maximum which the law allows, of three years’ imprisonment. Those sentences are to be concurrent.”
With the dread pronouncement, Brauner’s face changed to a sickly bilious yellowness, and he swayed, clutching at the rail in front of him for support. And Harris—till this moment had not come realisation of the horror that he had committed. It could be seen in his staring face, a dazed looking for something that had gone far away from him, and fear of the abyss was in his eyes. His legs gave way, and he almost sank on to the bench behind him. Then they took the two most execrated men of their race away—down below.
His Honor had risen, almost as he said the last word, and the court crier was heard above the released clamor in the court, adjourning the proceedings. But Mr Meagher was on his feet again, speaking.
“Silence!” roared the crier, and his Honor slowly, it seemed reluctantly, resumed his seat.
MR MEAGHER PROTESTS
“Would your Honor, before you rise,” Mr Meagher was saying, “allow me to make an explanation of an incident which arose on Saturday. I ask your Honor’s indulgence to refer to this incident in fairness to myself.
“The learned Crown Prosecutor made a statement, I being the only counsel at this table at that time, that I ‘had tortured the prosecutrix in cross-examination.’
“I desire to say that no exception was taken by the prosecutrix to any questions which I put in a temperate and delicate way, and that she was not unduly distressed nor fainted during my legitimate cross-examination, conducted with every consideration to the painful position of the witness. Neither was any exception taken by any member of the jury either to my questions or method of interrogation; neither was any exception taken by your Honor.
“At a later stage of the proceedings, in which I had no part, the prosecutrix collapsed and was taken out of court, whereupon a juryman protested against the prosecutrix ‘being tortured.’
“Thus this allegation by the learned Crown Prosecutor against myself is both ungenerous and devoid of fact.
“I have practised in these courts as far back as 1890—that is thirty-six years—and have won commendation from the majority of presiding judges as to my conduct of cases. I have been opposed to the learned Crown Prosecutor on innumerable occasions in cases involving almost every crime in the criminal code, and I leave it to his inner consciousness to say if I am a fair or foul fighter.
“Through physical and health reasons the end of my active professional career is in sight, but while I remain in the firing line I shall act as I have hitherto done, in accordance with the best traditions of the British Bar, and discharge my professional obligations with fearlessness and fairness—and whether my client be Jew of Gentile, black or white, he shall have my best in a clear, straight and honorable run.
“It is with pain I refer to this matter on account of long years of personal and professional friendship; but while making every allowance for the strong emotion under which the learned Crown Prosecutor spoke, I shall allow no man with impunity, be he friend or foe, to even unwittingly place me in a false position by a statement which is not in accordance with fact.
“Hence my reason for interrupting during the address on Saturday was out of no disrespect to the court, but for my own protection from an unwarrantable assertion.”
Mr Meagher had spoken evidently under no little emotional stress, and Mr Mack, KC, who now rose, was not one whit the less affected. He began in even tones, but as the sense of the charge that had been made against him asserted itself in his mind his tones rose to a vociferous challenge.
“I say this,” said Mr Mack, “that I never had a more painful duty in my life than to examine that girl. As long as I am practising I shall do my duty fearlessly. I was doing my best in my duty to my client to suppress that prejudicial atmosphere to which reference had already been made.
“And I hope, so long as I am in this court I shall never again hear such a remark from a juryman. … I am quite certain that if that girl were asked she would agree with me she was being treated with consideration and kindness.”
The Crown Prosecutor’s reply was to make a public apology, and he hastened to accept the opportunity of making an explanation that he might have been carried away by his feelings, such was the nature of the case.
“Since my name has been mentioned,” he said, “if I have digressed in any way, then I am very glad if Mr Meagher should call attention to it, because it gives me an opportunity of publicly apologising.
“I can assure Mr Meagher, when I used the word ‘torture,’ I used it perhaps in the heat of advocacy, because, I very much, too, and perhaps in my advocacy I have used a word that has been used—I think, a word that your Honor have [sic] said before, I have felt this case used himself afterwards. It was torture for that girl there.
“But when the defence of hysteria was set up I wished to emphasise to the jury that that girl had been examined for eight or nine hours, but had given no sign of hysteria.
“I regret that it should be said that I had attacked personally any man at this table.”
“It is quite clear,” said his Honor, “that it was not intended to make any imputation against the work of members of the profession in the advocacy for the defence. It is right that I should say, in my opinion, the defence was con ducted in regard to the witness with a delicacy compatible with the discharge of their duty.
“It was an incredibly painful case, and it was a case in which it was absolutely necessary, in the interests of justice, that the girl’s story should be subjected to the most searching scrutiny, and I repeat that I don’t think it was possible for these questions—which it was imperative to counsel to put in the interests of their clients in order to test the truth of her statements—I don’t think it possible that these question could have been put with greater regard to the feelings of the witness.
“If the cross-examination in the slightest degree exceeded, or if I thought that there was the slightest excess, I should have stopped it at once.”
His Honor then rose to his feet and passed quickly out of court.
SUGGESTIONS FOR AN APPEAL
ASPECT OF THE CASE
Alderman Richard Brennan has given notice to the Council Clerk of the Council of the Municipality of North Sydney that he intends to move at the next meeting of the Council that:
“The Mayor call a public meeting of citizens of this municipality, with a view to raise funds to assist financially Miss Olga Hay, whose health has been much impaired through having been taken by force from the footpath in Pitt-street, Sydney, on the 4th September, 1926, by two criminals, and thence conveyed by motor car to Bondi, where unprintable offences were perpetrated upon her.”
The motion will be before Council next Tuesday.
APPEAL FOR A FUND
(To the Editor.)
Dear Sir,—I feel too deeply sympathetic to Miss Olga Hay to write a clever letter to you. I only regret that I am not a rich woman, in which case I would give her a substantial sum of money to go away somewhere—somewhere where in time, she would perhaps recover from—she can never forget the awful experiences at the hands of those men. I suggest a fund being started to collect sufficient money to give this poor girl—if she is not too proud to accept it, and surely if she knows that every shilling is given with a kind wish she could not object to accepting the money—a change of scene with her aunt or some suitable companion, and enough money in her purse not to have to look at every pound is my prescription. I’ll send along my bit.—Thanking you.,
On Tuesday last William Brauner again appeared before the Central Court charged with an assault on a girl with intent to commit a serious offence on July 28 last.
EDUCATION OF SEX
Dear Sir,—These men have committed an awful, an atrocious, crime against that poor girl, and it is to be hoped that the shock of their sentence—if it is a shock to them—will waken them up to the enormity of their conduct. They evidently thought only of their own lust, and cared little for the ruin they have brought upon the mind and body of their victim, in satisfying it. Such men can only be considered white barbarians, and suffering is the only thing that will bring them, or any other wrong-doer for that matter, to his or her senses. When one studies life deeply in all its bearings, one cannot but come to the conclusion that all wrong-doing is primarily due to ignorance, and secondarily to selfishness, which is the inevitable result of such ignorance.
The horror of the crime of these men should bring home to thinking people at least the necessity for early and proper education on the subject of sex. The emphatic declaration must be made that its abuse for sensual pleasure is immoral and unnatural, and that humanity can only be raised out of its present sensuality by self-control.
For the perilous condition in which humanity finds itself at the present time there is but one remedy—the restoration of the sex function to its one proper use by the gradual raising of the standard of sex morality. Man must remount by self-control the steep incline down which he has slipped by self-indulgence, until he becomes continent, not incontinent, by nature. Nature is protesting every day.—Yours etc, ZB COX
Aubin-street, Neutral Bay,
December 1, 1926.
TO-MORROW a decision on the matters of appeals by Brauner and Harris will be made known.
TO THE LORD MAYOR.
The Lord Mayor (Ald Stokes) told a deputation on Wednesday that he was prepared to call a public meeting to consider the inauguration of a public fund in aid of the girl involved in the Bondi case.
Alderman EC O’Dea introduced the deputation which was composed of representative business men.
The Lord Mayor was informed that there was a strong feeling in the city that the girl had performed a public service in having brought Brauner and Harris to trial, and that she should be recompensed for the ordeal she had undergone.
Members of the delegation stated that already they had received promises of public support.
The meeting was fixed for Monday at 4 pm in the vestibule of the Town Hall.
ARE ALL MEN TO BLAME?
Dear Sir,—I am afraid that we may have to number more Olga Hays among our young girls unless something is done to check the unblushing impertinence of Sydney’s flapperdom.
Nothing can be said in favor of Brauner or Harris, but more decent men than they may, through no fault of their own, be branded as criminals if, in a weak moment, they fall into the clutches of brazen girls of the type we now see around the city, and I do not refer to the Magdalens.
Last Sunday evening, at 7.45, two girls were standing on a corner opposite the Bondi Beach. They were about 16 years of age.
Each had a cigarette in her fingers, and a strong breeze lifted her short flimsy skirt. Their troubles about decent men who were taking their wives and sisters down to the band on the promenade.
I kept an eye on these girls while I waited for a friend. As one cigarette was puffed away they lighted another, and all the eligible men who passed were vamped. The girls made fun of an elderly couple, and it was plain to anybody that they were a little elevated by alcohol.
At last two young fellows of decent appearance stopped and away went the foursome to fresh fields and pastures new. I felt as sorry for the yong men as I did for the girls, but where were the parents of the girls?
Later on, I saw brazen-faced girls entice men off the promenade—and many other young girls, smoking and laughing uproariously at sedate passers-by.
A girl, also a little elevated, seemed to take a fiendish delight in driving a one seater car up and down the esplanade and scattering decent Australian mothers. A middle-aged lady with three children was forced to dash on to the sand outside the Surf Club, in order to avoid the reckless young lady.
In my opinion, sir, the time has arrived when parents should exercise proper control over their irresponsible daughters. Who owns the battalion of silken-stockinged flappers who keep warm the leather lounges of our fashionable hotels, between 4 and 6 pm each day for the express purpose of flaunting their femininity before middle-aged men financially capable of buying them drinks in the lounges.
These “gold-diggers” in many cases, belong to respectable families, and their parents are oblivious to the fact that, out of sheer devilment, some run flats in the vicinity of King’s Cross for the purpose of entertaining men with wives and children in the suburbs.
How is it that girl typistes in the city can run cars and flash flats at £2/10/ a week? How many men holding prominent commercial positions in Sydney are victims of girls much their junior in years, but vastly older in cunning?
As the father of four children, two of whom are growing girls, I can rightly claim to have a stake in this glorious continent. But what will our future be if these hard-brained flappers are to be accepted as future mothers?
Last week my partner had to dismiss a girl of 17 because she was a bad example to the other girl employees. The dismissed one, I am told, was in the habit of arriving in my partner’s office attired in a motor coat, 30 minutes after the other girls. Out of her pockets she produced cigarettes, which she threw on the desk.
Needless to say, she went without a reference. My partner did not desire to unload her on to anybody else. What will her future be?
Hotels ought not to serve young girls unless accompanied by a male escort, and the same should apply to dance halls. We read wild cables in the evening papers about wild life in the West End and USA, but, sir, I have seen those places lately, and can assure you that neither place—not even old Rome—had anything on us.
Bondi, November 30, 1926.
PERSONALITIES IN THE COURT
MR JUSTICE FERGUSON, suave, courteous, refined in sensibility, and very human, sat almost motionless throughout the trial. Occasionally he took a note in shorthand, an invariable habit with him. His features paled, his lips trembled a little as he listened, and his voice broke as he pronounced the sentence.
THE GIRL.— She looked pitifully small in the box. Her dark eyes were shaded partly by the wide-brimmed hat, but it could be seen that they were red from weeping. Her chin is small, the nose delicate, and the mouth full.
HARRIS, a sturdy, strongly-built youth, with a mop of thick brown hair. Originally he wore Valentino side-levers, and a wisp of moustache, but he removed them while on bail. His nose is bulbous, and the lips red, and as thick as those of a negro. His features are dark, with a coffee-colored pallor. During the lng trial his face was expressionless, and he rarely moved.
BRAUNER, taller, thinner, and more evenly-balanced in build than Harris, was somewhat restive in the pen throughout the trial. He seems to be hypnotised by The Girl, and rarely moved his gaze from her pale face. A regularly-featured face of a pasty color, eyes of indefinite tint, a pair of side-levers, a small, dark moustache, and thin lips, sums up his facial topography. He appeared to be more callous that Harris, and only betrayed slight emotion by a sudden accession of pallor, when the sentence broke on his ear.
SID MACK, KC, who represented Brauner, seemed the embodiment of cool, calculating caution. Keen grey eyes, sparkling with the light of battle, a lean jaw that clamped occasionally. Whem a searching question was parried, and small, restless hands that toyed with his papers.
“DICK” Meagher, overwhelming, dominant, purring like a great satisfied Persian cat, as the questions rolled of his tongue. Patiently pertinacious—returning again and yet again to a point upon which there was the faintest doubt he wa the advocate par excellence. His sudden passionate appeal changed at times to a whimsical humor or a cutting shaft of sarcasm.
CROWN PROSECUTOR COYLE, merry of eye, with a rotund figure, reminiscent of the capon-lined corpis of the fanous Adda of Meudon. Flashing with indignation, scathing in his outraged virtue, clamorous for the vengeance of the law, but fatherly in his tenderness to the pallid girl trembling in the witness-box.
THE WOMAN who sat behind The Girl through the long hours she was in the box was Mrs Paulette, the well-known policewoman. Her identity excited much conjecture. It was generally assumed that she was a relative of friend of The Girl. It must have been a painful ordeal to Mrs Paulette, for, besides the Principle Figure, she was the only woman in court, and she had to listen to every scrap of the evidence.
DETECTIVE-SERGEANT THORNLEY—the most anxious of the leading characters in this drama. Weeks of weary investigation; the patience of a Red Indian on the trail; and the long labor ended. In the box he was submitted to a gruelling examination, and left it with delighted alacrity.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 6 Dec 1926 36
Counsel for Neville Harris and William Brauner, who were each sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude for offences against a young woman at Bondi Junction, have not take any further steps in the matter of lodging appeals.
“We have practically until Wednesday to lodge the appeals,” said Mr RD Meagher, who, with Mr Mack, appeared for the accused, last night. “We are still considering the matter.
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Western Argus, Tue 7 Dec 1926 37
GROSS OFFENCES ON GIRL
Sydney, Nov 29.
It is very many years since a criminal trial has aroused so much public interest and indignation as that which concluded at the Darlinghurst Courthouse to-day, when Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, and William Brauner, aged 23 years, engineer, were sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude on three charges of gross offences committed upon a girl, aged 23, at a shop at Newland-street, Bondi Junction. The court was crowded to suffocation, many hundreds being unable to gain admittance.
In passing sentence, Mr Justice Ferguson said “Many men who stand in your position in the dock, convicted of some crime of lust or violence have this to be said for them, that in a moment of temptation or under the stress of great provocation, their passions have got the better of them, and they have not been able to control them. The excuse, poor as it is, is not open to you. You set out in company to look for a victim, and got her. You brought her to your lair at Bondi. When you got her there, the jury have found that you committed unspeakable atrocities on her. The story she told, as I said, and as Mr Meagher has said, is a most improbable one. It was an incredible one. It was a story that demanded the most careful investigation and probing that any story could receive. I admit that from the beginning I had hoped that the defence they set up might have proved to be true for the credit of our human nature, that the girl maliciously invented the story, that her mind deranged with some hysteria or some other disorder she had imagined the terrible things that she said took place. For the defence there was one fatal defect in the case. Your own story was, and it was corroborated by other evidence, that during nearly the whole of the night there was a third man in your company, and if the story that you told, which you did not submit to the test of cross-examinations as the girl’s story was submitted, was true, then there is a man who could have gone into the box on oath and submitted to cross-examination and could have corroborated the story, and if his evidence was believed he would have shown that the story told by the girl was a fabrication from beginning to end. The man was not called. I cannot forget that the defence was to some extent based on the fact that you were diseased. I thought that when the case for the prosecution had closed that it had reached the depths of horror, and it only required the additional fact to make it more horrible, and now there is the evidence that Brauner too, when arrested, was suffering from disease. So that we have this added fact that not only had you subjected the girl to an outrage, the memory of which must be a nightmare to her life, but you exposed her to the risk of infection with a filthy disease. The jury had found you guilty on three counts. On the first count the penalty which the law attaches, is the maximum of fourteen years. On that count I sentence you both to ten years’ penal servitude. There are two other counts upon which the jury found you guilty, and I formally pass sentence on those, but the sentence will be concurrent. On the second I sentence you both because I look upon you both as equally guilty, to five years’ penal servitude, and on the third count of indecent assault, I sentence you to the maximum which the law allows of three years’ imprisonment. Those sentences will be concurrent.”
A huge crowd of men and women, but principally men, congregated outside the court to see the prisoners taken across to the police station. When they made their appearance there were yells of execration, boo-hooing and hoots, while the police had to force a path through the crowd, and when the way was partly cleared they ran the prisoners across.
Sydney, Nov 30.
William Brauner, aged 25 years, engineer, who was yesterday sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude on grave charges, was again before the Central Police Court to-day, when he was charged with having assaulted a girl on July 28 with intent to commit a capital offence. Neville Harris, who received a similar sentence to Brauner on Monday, was also involved in the new charge but did not appear in court.
On the application of the police the case was adjourned until January 7, 1927.
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The Brisbane Courier, Thu 9 Dec 1926 38
PRISONERS DECIDE NOT TO
Sydney, December 8.
Mr Mack, KC, and Mr RD Meagher, counsel for William Brauner and Neville Harris, recently convicted of serious offences against a girl at Bondi, and who were each sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude, have announced that their clients would not appeal against their conviction. Up till a late hour yesterday afternoon the men had intended to do so, but after a consultation between their counsel this morning, following interviews with the prisoners yesterday, it was decided not to lodge the appeal, which had been drawn up in preparation.
TO-DAY’S NEWS IN BRIEF.
William Brauner and Neville Harris, who were recently convicted of serious offences against a girl at Bondi, Sydney, and who were each sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude, have decided not to appeal against their conviction.
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The Mercury, Thu 9 Dec 1926 39
PRISONERS WILL NOT APPEAL.
Sydney, December 8.
Mr Mack, KC, and Mr RD Meagher, counsel for William Brauner and Neville Harris who were recently convicted of serious offences against a girl at Bondi and were sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude, announced that their clients would not appeal against their conviction. Up till late yesterday afternoon the men had intended to do so but after a consultation between their counsel this morning following interviews with the prisoners yesterday, it was decided not to lodge the appeal which had been drawn up in preparation.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 9 Dec 1926 40
NO APPEAL TO BE LODGED.
Mr Mack, KC, and Mr RD Meagher, counsel for William Brauner and Neville Harris, recently convicted of serious offences against a girl at Bondi, announced that their clients would not appeal against their conviction. Up till late Tuesday afternoon the men had intended to do so, but after a consultation between their counsel yesterday morning, following interviews with the prisoners on the previous day, it was decided not to lodge the appeal, which had been drawn up in preparation. The time allowed for the appeal expired yesterday.
It has been pointed out that a Court of Criminal Appeal has the power not only to reduce a sentence, but to increase the term of imprisonment, and, in addition, to order a flogging. The increasing of a sentence imposed for a crime of a serious nature is not unprecedented.
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The West Australian, Thu 9 Dec 1926 41
Sydney, Dec 8.
Mr Mack, KC, and Mr RD Meagher, counsel for William Brauner and Neville Harris, recently convicted of serious offences against a girl at Bondi, and each sentenced to 10 years’ penal servitude announced that their clients would not appeal against their conviction.
Up till late yesterday afternoon the men had intended to do so, but after a consultation between their counsel this morning, following interviews with the prisoners yesterday, it was decided not to lodge the appeal which had been drawn up.
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The Queenslander, Sat 18 Dec 1926 42
Thursday, December 9.
William Brauner and Neville Harris, who were recently convicted of serious offences against a girl at Bondi, Sydney, and who were each sentenced to 10 years penal servitude, have decided not to appeal against their conviction.
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The Brisbane Courier, Sat 8 Jan 1927 43
Sydney, January 7.
William Brauner (29 years), an engineer, appeared against [sic] at the Central Police Court to-day to answer a charge of having committed a criminal offence. The name of Neville Harris (19 years), an agent, also was on the charge sheet, but he did not appear in court. Sergeant Napper, the Police Prosecutor, intimated that the police had no evidence to offer against Brauner, and Mr McMahon, SM, dismissed the charge. Brauner and Harris are at present serving a term of 10 years’ penal servitude for an offence of a similar nature to that which Brauner was charged with to-day.
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The Mercury, Sat 8 Jan 1927 44
BRAUNER AGAIN BEFORE COURT.
Sydney, January 7.
William Brauner, aged 29 years, engineer, appeared again at the Central Police Court to-day to answer a charge of having assaulted a girl with intent to commit a capital offence. The name of Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, was also on the charge-sheet, but he did not appear in Court.
Sergeant Napper, police prosecutor, intimated that the police had no evidence to offer against Brauner, and Mr McMahon (Stipendiary Magistrate) dismissed the charge.
Brauner and Harris are a present serving a term of 10 years penal servitude for an offence of a similar nature to that with which Brauner was charged to-day.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 8 Jan 1927 45
BRAUNER APPEARS AGAIN.
William Brauner, aged 29 years, engineer, appeared again at the Central Police Court yesterday, to answer a charge of having assaulted a girl with intent to commit a capital offence.
The name of Neville Harris, aged 19 years, agent, was also on the charge sheet, but he did not appear in Court.
Sergeant Napper, (police prosecutor) intimated that the police had no evidence to offer against Brauner, and Mr McMahon, SM, dismissed the charge.
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Truth, Sun 9 Jan 1927 46
WHEN BRAUNER AND HARRIS
FOUGHT ONE ANOTHER IN DOMAIN
LIKE CAVE MEN
Fighting for the Passion of a Girl
in the Night
REAPING AS THEY HAVE SOWED
Police Hear Almost Incredible Story,
but Charge is Withdrawn
William Brauner and Neville Harris, the two Bondi malefactors who recently were sent to gaol for ten years because of their crimes upon a girl, are now reaping as they sowed.
On Friday morning, at the Central Police Court, the last charge against them—that of assaulting a girl with criminal intent—was withdrawn.
The Police Prosecutor informed the Magistrate that he had no evidence to offer.
The allegations involved a terrifying adventure in the Domain one night, when these two men are stated to have fought like tigers for the possession of a girl they had brought there in a car.
THE story to the police was, briefly, that the girl had been taken to a secluded spot in the Domain, instead of home, and assaulted, but before anything more serious had happened to her, she made her escape while her two attackers stood on the grass beside the motor car and fought—fought with bare fists to decide who first should subject the girl to his will.
The assault occurred on the night of July 28—before the Bondi case—and the complainant told the police that she was able to identify the two men by the photographs which appeared in “Truth” in connection with the Olga Hay case.
Those two men, she declares, were William Brauner and Neville Harris.
Somewhere about 10 o’clock on Wednesday night, July 28, the girl was strolling along King’s Cross on her way home when a car with two young men in it, both fashionably dressed. As the car stopped one of them spoke to her.
“Hullo!” he said cheerily and in a rather familiar tone. They were well dressed, and as their attitude suggested that they knew her she thought that she knew them, so she smiled in return and replied to their greeting with “Hullo!”
“Where are you going?” asked one of the men.
“Home,” answered the girl.
“Well, come on hop in; we’re going home, too.”
“Oh, I’m going to the railway.”
“Well that’s all right; we’re going that way too. Come on, jump in!”
IN THE CAR
Leaping from the car, one of the young men, in a disarming, gentlemanly fashion, opened the door and stood aside to allow her to get in. The young lady stepped into the car. She sat down and sank back into the cushioned seat—with misgivings. But then the bright, familiar voices of the two men sent the flash of doubt from her mind, and she chatted to them as they swung the car around and drove down William-street. Past the rows of gleaming shops they sped, past the throng of people on the pavements, until they came to the end of the street. Then the driver turned the headlights of the car to the right, towards the Domain gates.
The girl became rather alarmed; but the men assured her that they were only going for a spin around the Domain road first. It was such a beautiful night to be out driving, and you could get such entrancing glimpses of the light-speckled harbor through the trees.
The car sped on—through the big stone gates of the Domain, along the smooth asphalt roadway. It was very quiet, and now and again the blurred figure of a man crept out of the darkness. Laughter came from the car—soft, merry laughter. The two men knew how to talk to a girl.
STRUGGLE IN THE DARK
Soon the car was running almost noiselessly between the rows and rows of fig-trees, which dappled the grass with soft black shadows. Now it was on the little hill near the Domain Baths, and the two men and the girl could see the random lights of Woolloomooloo Bay and hear the water lapping gently against the rocks.
Suddenly the car stopped. The girl looked up at the men—questioningly.
And then they made their purpose plain. Grasping her by the shoulders, one of the men tried to press her down on the seat, while the other helped him by holding her legs.
She struggled. She cried out. She told them, in a voice strangled with terror, that she was a good girl. She begged them to let her go.
But they took no notice of her frenzied pleadings. With hands strengthened by their aim, they forced her down on to the narrow, padded seat, and held her wrists and tried to stop her cries of terror, and tore at her savagely.
BARE KNUCKLE FIGHT
The two men, while struggling with the girl, were mumbling excited injunctions to each other.
“Get out of the way!” cried one.
“Get out yourself!” replied the other.
The blood of each man rose. They pushed and scrambled with each other on the floor of the car, their legs stumbling over the gears.
For the moment the girl was forgotten. Anger and resentment held them. Hurling imprecations at each other, they scrambled out of the car, stood, feet apart, on the grass beside it, and in a moment were fighting with the heat of hate. Their bare fists glimmered in the dark, lunging, shooting, jabbing wildly at each other’s face.
The girl was amazed. She was half-fainting and exhaustion almost numbed her body. Her eyes staring wildly at the two men fighting like tigers on the grass, she half rose from the seat of the car and dashed off through the friendly darkness of the trees. Along through the grass she ran until, at last, panting and almost dropping with weakness, she was able to get on to a tram, and eventually to her home.
How the fight finished, she does not know.
From feelings of reticence, the girl did not tell anybody of what had happened to her. Fortunately, she had escaped, but her ordeal upset her for days.
Then, when “Truth” in its report of the Police Court hearing of the Bondi case, published pictures of Brauner and Harris, she called at the police station and stated that they were the men who had assaulted her in the Domain.
So that she could make sure, Brauner and Harris were lined up with several other men, and unhesitatingly she walked up to Brauner and Harris. So they were then charged with attempting to commit a capital offence upon her.
This, then, is the story that lies behind the charge the police withdrew last week. When the prosecuting officer said “Call William Brauner,” a hush, tense silence fell upon the court.
BRAUNER IN COURT
In a few moments, Brauner was led into the dock by a constable. Dressed in the smartly-cut brown suit in which he has appeared during all his court appearances, he leaned rather casually against the side of the dock while the charge was read out to him.
He looked slightly fatter than before, although his face was worried-looking, and black circles ringed his eyes. And his hair, of course, has been shaved almost clean by the Long Bay prison barber.
In a minute it was all over. The Crown formally told the Magistrate, Mr Macdougall, that the police would offer no evidence.
“William Brauner,” said the magistrate, “you are, therefore, discharged.”
A constable walked over to the dock and opened the little gate. Brauner stepped through the narrow doorway leading to the cells at the back. …
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRAUNER
“Mother Must Not Worry”
HOW HE AND HARRIS SPENT
CHRISTMAS IN GAOL
“Don’t worry. I’m not worrying. But if I know that you are, it will make me worry. Tell mother she MUST not.”
These parting words of William Brauner to his relatives, when, the whole shocking, sordid proceeding at an end, they left him to his ten years of durance vile, throw light from a different angle upon a character that, for months, has been displayed to public reproach.
THE proceedings were at an end. The charge against William Brauner—the second charge of having attempted to commit an atrocious offence against a young girl—had just been withdrawn. Brauner, alone, the elder of the two, had formally appeared in court.
Now, everything over—everything, except the years of retribution, of travail and penance—Brauner awaited in the cell at Central, the waggon that was to take him back behind the grim stone walls that keep a thousand souls in purgatory.
Through a small wicket in the iron door, peered the white face of the prisoner. But his expression was composed, serious, showing a full realisation of what had happened.
Rarely in the history of criminology have names been held in such reproach as those of Brauner and Harris, now undergoing sentences of ten years penal servitude for one of the most revolting of crimes. Once more these men have been charged with another attempted capital offence, but the charge was not proceeded with, and so its truth or otherwise was not tested. The story, so remarkable in its melodramatic detail, staggered those who heard it, and it is here published for the first time.
The elderly man, and the younger who faced him through the aperture in the iron door, were troubled of countenance, and it was with difficulty that they held back their tears.
“There’s no beg pardon about it now,” began Brauner, endeavouring, in his slanginess to lighten the position of those others who had suffered through him.
Suffering! Travail! It is those that, despite all, still cling desperately too the belief that the felon is innocent; still, despite all, endeavor to hold up their heads in defiance of the world—it is those who pay.
Good people they are; honest people; people in this case who have always been ready to help the transgressor and have never turned their backs upon the down and out … charitable people.
A mother, fast-aged, greying, bears the greatest burden. What burdens she has had to bear! And what pains some “righteous” people have taken to increase the pain in her sorrow-stricken heart.
Her daughter in America, well married and prosperous — some “kind” person has taken all the trouble to send reports of the case to her in America, letting her know the complete facts of her brother’s shame. Somebody equally kind sent papers to friends of the family in Calcutta. The story has been distributed wantonly throughout the world. What cruelty could be more exquisite! The mother pays!
Brauner and Harris are separated, Harris being in the boy’s division. They are not well-disposed towards each other now. Harris seems to be quite irresponsible, says Brauner, and there was some talk of an attempt by him, when on bail, to abscond and leave the older man alone to face the music.
Brauner, at that time, was held on a maintenance order. The mother of that child, which was born about ten or twelve years ago, has not seen it since very soon after its birth. It has been looked after, since then, by another woman who took it home to Scotland, but has latterly returned and is living near Sydney in one of the outer western suburbs.
The mother herself is now in Tasmania. She saw Brauner while he was in Long Bay on remand, and, he says, did not wish to press the proceedings against him.
THE THIRD MAN
It was Brauner’s people who negotiated with the third man who was mentioned in the sensational court case by both parties. A relation of Brauner went to Adelaide and interviewed him—a married man—and, it is stated, while he admitted that he was there on that fateful night of September 4 at Harris’s boot shop, he was not to be induced, by the various representations made to him, to come to Sydney and give evidence. Since then, the relatives of the criminals have been wondering why that man was not subpoenaed. Certain it is that the absence of that man from the trial was a decisive factor in the conviction of the two young men.
Early in the piece, Brauner had said to that third man, “Get away; keep out of this.” When they wanted him he would not come.
CHRISTMAS IN GAOL
At Christmas time relatives of both men visited them at Long Bay. A merry Christmas for them!
“I wish that my worst enemy shall never experience such a Christmas and New Year as we have had,” said a close relative of Brauner, to a “Truth” representative.
Brauner, being on remand, was able to receive many things of good cheer that other prisoners could not have. Chicken and plum pudding, dried and tinned fruits—everything that is essential to a Christmas meal, was taken out to him—a huge hamper.
And many were the unfortunates who would have dined on prison fare, that were thankful for the fact. He handed it round. But there is little communication between him and others out there.
“It was a bit hard making friends with the tucker,” Brauner said; but he is looking well on it, and the face that looked through the grating at Central was not such a bad advertisement for prison food.
He was dressed in the fawn suit he wore throughout the court proceedings, and was only changed in that his moustache was shaven off, and his hair close-cropped—a convict now!
NO HARD WORK
But the warders treated him well out there he said.
If you do what you’re told, you are treated all right.” he said. “I haven’t had much to do so far,” he added, and his hands do not show any signs of hard work.
Brauner is a highly-skilled electrical engineer, a specialist in armatures, and it is possible that, now he is put to work, it will be somewhere in this department. It is to be remembered that he was once employed at the Sydney Town Hall as an expert in his trade.
Harris is doing a little oakum-picking, but has not been hard worked so long as he has been on remand.
What will happen to them now is not decided, but Brauner expresses the hope that he will be sent to Tuncurry Afforestation Prison Camp!
His only complaint is the restriction of the prison walls—he want to get out in the open air.
HIS BIG ENEMY
Previously, as might be expected, Brauner has not been too well disposed to Detective-Sergeant Thornley, who conducted the police case, but it is significant that for an hour on Friday the two, detective and convict, had a long talk in Brauner’s cell. Prison may be the means of convincing these two young men that they have responsibilities to society.
But it is a terrible price that the mothers are paying for the lesson that their sons are learning. The Harrises may go abroad when Mrs Harris is well enough to make the trip—at least, that is the information that Brauner imparts; prison telegraphy is a remarkable source of information.
“TRUTH” IS FAIR
And there is another remark of Brauner’s, which, in view of the part the press was stated to have taken in his conviction, is of some interest.
“‘Truth,’ ” said Brauner, “has been fair.” It is a strange source from which to receive a testimonial, but even a convict in Long Bay can appreciate an unbiassed adherence to facts.
It is all over now. It is for Brauner and Harris now, if they will, to expiate their crime; for those who still care for them, to nurse their grief with fortitude; for the public to forget all but the terrible consequences of looseness, folly and depravity.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 23 Feb 1930 47
GUILTY OF FOUL CRIME,
HARRIS AT TUNCURRY
BRAUNER TOILS AT BATHURST
Strange Contrast After Judge’s Scathing
Remarks on Bondi Outrage
“I WILL BE FREE IN SIX MONTHS”
An echo of one of the most revolting sex crimes in the history of NSW comes from Tuncurry Prison Camp.
HARRIS was removed to Tuncurry camp about three months ago.
The only man in the camp who associates with Harris is Harry Waldemar Baum, the Sydney solicitor, who was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in May, 1927, for mishandling funds. The two men spend most of their spare time together, and appear to enjoy each other’s company.
Apart from the fact that he has grown older, Harris is still the same confident, individual who whistled gaily outside Central Police Court on the morning following his arrest on a charge of having attempted a criminal assault on Olga Hay at Bondi on the night of September 5, 1926.
Harris is employed in one of the clearing gangs.
Harris has visitors at frequent intervals, and the parcels of groceries and other luxuries he receives makes him the envy of the camp.
William Brauner, Harris’s associate in the dreadful crime, is in Bathurst Gaol, where conditions are not nearly so congenial as in the Tuncurry Camp.
BEGGED FOR MERCY
Harris was confident he would not have to serve ten years’ penal servitude to which he was sentenced by Mr Justice Ferguson. The crime was described by the judge as “one of the foulest that could be conceived.”
“Many men,” continued his Honor, “have the excuse that in a moment of great temptation their passions have got the better of them, but that excuse, poor as it is, is not open to you. You set out in company to look for a victim, and having got her, you brought her to your lair in Bondi.”
Unprecedented interest was taken in the trial of the two men, and daily crowds surged round the entrance to the Central Criminal Court at Darlinghurst in an effort to gain a seat.
Chief interest centred in the appearance of the girl Olga Hay, who told a story of brutal treatment at the hands of the two men probably without parallel in the history of sex crimes in Australia.
There was a deathly silence in the court as the girl, under great mental stress, told of the happenings on that dreadful night.
“I begged for mercy,” she said passionately. “I told him I was a good girl, but he was holding me by the throat. I again asked for mercy, but all I got was kicks. ‘We will kill you and push your body in a cupboard , and none will be the wiser,’ was the ghastly threat made by Harris at one stage.”
The girl could not raise her voice above a whisper as she told the jury of the shocking treatment to which Harris subjected her while Brauner stood in the background. Plainly she lived again in the witness-box the torments of that night of unspeakable horror.
And Neville Harris, boastful, braggart and callous criminal, who contributed so much to the girl’s suffering, is now, after a little over three years, enjoying privileges which many prisoners convicted of far less serious offences would like to have.
Of the many weird and wonderful things done by the Prisons Department in the name of Reformation, this is surely the most difficult to understand. Public opinion has never yet found fault with the policy of tempering justice with mercy, but Harris appears to have been treated with far greater leniency than his foul crime deserved.
At Blackhead camp, some miles away from the Tuncurry establishment, toils Martin Jacobsen, the Woy Woy dairyman, who was convicted of a capital offence late in 1928, and was sentenced to death. Public opinion revolted at the sentence, and, as a result of the agitation, the Executive Council commuted it to 18 months’ imprisonment.
There were many remarkable features associated with Jacobsen’s trial and conviction. The girl he was charged with having assaulted was his ex-fiancee, Josephine Lamont, who at the time was employed at a well-known boarding establishment at Woy Woy. She was the principal witness against him at the trial, and it was mainly as a result of her testimony that the jury returned a verdict of guilty. The death sentence followed as a matter of course, and following this Jacobsen appealed to the Full Court, but was refused a new trial. After a number of indignation meetings had been held at Woy Woy a largely-signed petition was presented to the Government praying for a remission of the young man’s sentence.
IRONY OF FATE
By the irony of Fate the first to sign it was Josephine Lamont, the girl whose story of what happened in the bush a few miles away from her home one Sunday afternoon, had brought her lover within the shadow of the gallows.
After a short confinement at Long Bay Jacobsen was sent to Goulburn and then to Tuncurry. Later he was drafted to Blackhead, where he is now employed as motor driver on road construction work.
He is regarded as the best-behaved hard hardest-working prisoner in the camp, and is popular alike with warders and prisoners.
Back in the tinsmith’s shop in Goulburn Gaol is Alister Jenner Clark, the wife-poisoner, who burnt his face badly with sulphuric acid some months ago in what is generally believed to have been an attempt to commit suicide.
At first it was feared he would lose his sight, but skilled medical attention at Long Bay averted this, and Clark went back to Goulburn wearing a ghastly scar that will remain for life.
Clar’s second wife, whom he married within a week of the other’s death, visits him in gaol, and the scene between them is always a touching one. Clark has a photo of his second wife in his cell, and warders peeping in at night have observed him kneeling before it in silent prayers.
There is also a strong religious note running through the young man’s letters to the girl who is his wife in name only. “The sun will yet shine for us,” he wrote recently, “and life will be the sweeter because of the dark days through which we have passed.”
Alas, it is a vail hope. Clark is one of the few prisoners against whom the dread words, “Never to be released,” have been written by order of the Executive Council, and he can never again know the meaning of freedom.
Warrall, the constable who callously shot his wife with a service revolver at Woronora some years ago and went to a dance the same night, is also an inmate of Goulburn Gaol, where he is looked upon as a religious maniac.
Worrall has an organ worth about £30 in his cell, bought out of his own funds. He plays it at frequent intervals, and also acts as organist for the services held by ministers of every religious denomination who visit the gaol. Amongst the strangest fancy cultivated by the ex-policeman is a fondness for spiders. Recently the painters discovered three huge black spiders in his cell when they entered it. Worrall warned them that in no circumstances must the insects be interfered with; but despite his protest, the painters killed them. Worrall was so upset that he reported the matter to the Governor, but no one was censured.
According to “Truth’s” information, Worrall enjoys greater privileges than any other prisoner in the gaol. He goes from wing to another without the customary pass, and is even allowed to play one of the official’s gramophones at gaol concerts.
Horace Prott, the telegraph linesman who shot and wounded Nurse Grunsell at Kiama Hospital in October, 1927, and was sentenced to life imprisonment, is also an inmate of the Blackhead prison camp.
Probably the most picturesque figure in the Tuncurry camp, outside of Harris, is Walter Keogh, the land g-getter who was sentenced last year.
He does not take kindly to the hard physical toil which is now his daily lot, and recently confided to a friend that pick and shovel work will not be his means of livelihood when he returns to civil life.
MINISTER IN DEFENCE
“It is true that Harris is at present located at Tuncurry prison camp, but there is absolutely no ground for the suggestion that he got there by favouritism,” said the Minister for Justice (Mr JR Lee) when asked to comment on the contrast in the treatment meted out to Harris and his partner in crime, Brauner.
“I had Harris watched very closely when he was at Maitland and afterwards at Goulburn, and from both gaols I received excellent reports regarding his conduct and willingness to work,” said Mr Lee. “The warder at Goulburn told me he was the best man that had ever passed through the carpentering shop there. In sending him to Tuncurry I did what I would have done in the case of any other prisoner who showed such a marked tendency to reform. Harris’s treatment is quite in accordance with the system, and it is open to the worst criminal in our goals to follow in his footsteps.”
Asked why Brauner had been sent to Bathurst, Mr Lee pointed out that his conduct in gaol left the authorities no alternative.
“I believe he was the principal in the crime in which the two men were concerned,” he said, “and his behavior since has been in marked contrast to that of Harris. He is now amongst some of our worst criminals because he has qualified for it.”
“Does Harris’s removal to Tuncurry indicate that his release is close at hand?” the Minister was asked.
“At the moment—no,” Mr Lee replied. “He will receive the extra remission to which very prisoner in the camp is entitled, but unless some extraordinary circumstance arises he will receive nothing beyond that. I consider his treatment quite in accordance with the sentence of 10 years’ penal servitude passed upon him.”
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The Canberra Times, Wed 19 Mar 1930 48
Against State Minister
When the Legislative Assembly met to-day, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lang) gave notice of his intention to move the following motion of censure: “That His Excellency the Governor be informed that owing to the action of the Minister for Justice in sanctioning the transfer to the Afforestation Camp at Tuncurry of the prisoner, Neville Harris, before one-third of his sentence for abominable crimes had been served, the Government no longer retains the confidence of this House.”
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 19 Mar 1930 49
Mr Lang Gives Notice.
In the Legislative Assembly yesterday the leader of the Opposition (Mr Lang) gave notice that to-day he would move “That his Excellency the Governor be informed that, owing to the action of the Minister for Justice in sanctioning the transfer to an afforestation camp at Tuncurry of the prisoner Neville Harris before he had served one-third of his sentence for abominable crimes, the Government no longer retains the confidence of this House.”
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The Brisbane Courier, Thu 20 Mar 1930 50
NSW MINISTRY ATTACKED.
Sydney, Mar 19.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr J Lang) submitted a motion of censure on the Ministry in the Legislative Assembly to-day, in relation to a prisoner, Neville Harris, who had been convicted of a serious offence three years ago, and who had been removed from the Goulburn Gaol to the Prisoner’s Afforestation Camp at Tuncurry.
Mr Lang complained that the Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) had not shown impartial treatment in the case of Harris. Mr Lee replied that the prisoner was transferred by the prison authorities without his knowledge, but the transfer was subsequently approved. After a long debate the closure was applied, and the motion was defeated, on a party division, by 45 votes to 38.
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The Mercury, Thu 20 Mar 1930 51
MOTION OF CENSURE
Prisoner’s Conviction Recalled
Defeat of Party Division
Sydney, March 19.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lang) submitted a motion of censure on the Ministry in the Legislative Assembly to-day in relation to a prisoner, Neville Harris, who had been convicted of a serious offence three years ago, and who had been removed from the Goulburn Gaol to the prisoners’ afforestation camp at Tuncurry. Mr Lang claimed that the Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) had not shown impartial treatment in the case of Harris.
Mr Lee replied that the prisoner was transferred by the prison authorities without his knowledge, but the transfer was subsequently approved.
After a long debate the closure was applied, and the motion was defeated on a party division by 45 votes to 38.
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The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 20 Mar 1930 52
Mr Lang’s Attack.
Charges Against Minister for
The censure motion moved by the leader of the Opposition (Mr Lang) in the Legislative Assembly yesterday was defeated on a party division by 45 votes to 38.
Mr Lang charge the Minister for Justice with having shown preferential treatment for Neville Harris, who was convicted of a serious crime three years ago.
The Minister, in a vigorous reply, defended his administration, and declared that the transference of Harris from Goulburn Gaol to Tuncurry Prison Farm had been made without his knowledge by the Comptroller-General of Prisons. He subsequently approved the action.
THE CENSURE MOTION.
Mr Lang moved: “That his Excellency the Governor be informed that owing to the action of the Minister of [sic] Justice in sanctioning the transfer to the afforestation camp at Tuncurry of the prisoner Neville Harris, before one-third of his sentence for abominable crimes had been served, the Government no longer retains the confidence of this House.”
“The indictment against the Minister in this matter,” said Mr Lang, “is that he has used his influence as a member of the Government, and the power which he holds as Minister for Justice, to prevent a sentence imposed by the Court being put into effect. The crime of which Neville Harris, together with William Brauner, was found guilty was of such a dreadful nature that I do not think the few years which have elapsed since it was committed have obliterated from the minds of members the fiendishness of the action which led to those men being placed in the prisoners’ dock. Both these men were sentenced to 10 years penal servitude.
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS.
“If there is any merit in our prison system,” said Mr Lang, “then these two men, because of the crime they committed, should have been subjected to its most rigorous application. It may have some bearing on the case that Brauner, so far as we can understand, had little or no means; Harris, on the other hand, retained the devotion and attendance of wealthy parents and relatives. What treatment do we find that these men are receiving in the respective gaols? Brauner is being treated in a manner, apparently, which befits his crime. So was Harris, until this Government came into power.
“For some reason, not apparent, the Minister for Justice has come to the conclusion that Harris, guilty of this beastly crime as he is, should become an object of extraordinary clemency so far as the prison administration is concerned. The fact is that, while less than one-third of his sentence is completed, this man is taken from the gaol and placed in the afforestation camp at Tuncurry. While men who are guilty of lesser offences are languishing in gaols, this fiend in human form is enjoying the comforts and privileges of the prison afforestation camp at Tuncurry.
“Not only does the Minister defeat the sentence of the Court, but his action will probably ruin a splendid feature of our prison system. In placing this debased person among the men at Tuncurry he will probably contaminate men for whom there is every hope of reform and readjustment in civilian life. Many years ago Parliament recognised that there were going through our gaols a type of person who was not by any means instinctively criminal. Through some peculiar set of circumstances a person of this type had come in conflict with the law, but there is every reason to believe that that person, having paid the law’s penalty, would re-enter society and be as good a citizen as those who had never seen the inside of a gaol. The men who came within this category were guilty mostly of some crime against poverty; some clerk in an office, overcome with the burden of debt, submits to the temptation to embezzle from the office in which he works.
“Parliament realised that it was not in the best interests of society generally that these men, during their sentence, should be associated with men of vicious inclinations and criminal instincts who are to be found within our gaols. It was to meet these circumstances that the Tuncurry camp was established. This better type of person is sent to Tuncurry for the latter portion of the sentence; he is allowed to lead a healthy outdoor life, the only gaol wall surrounding him is his own word of honour not to leave it. He is allowed to earn up to 2/6 a day, so that he may have money when he is released. It is a rule with the Prison Department, but not an inflexible one, that the first half of the sentence is served in gaol.
Harris’s Uncompleted Sentence
“Now, it is among these men that Harris has been placed, while yet two-thirds of his sentence remains uncompleted. In addition to the remission on the sentence which first offenders get for good conduct, the mere fact of a person being placed in Tuncurry permits him to earn additional remissions. Harris, too, presumably, solely because he has been placed in Tuncurry, will be able to earn these remissions. Above everything else, the Minister has broken a rule of prison administration. That rule is, that sexual offenders should not be allowed to associate with the cleaner type of prisoners. What punishment is this man Harris suffering? What could be the deterrent value of the sentence when he is treated like this?
“The Minister’s action is an outrage on justice,” Mr Lang added, “and the most glaring case of preferential treatment of prisoners that has been brought under notice.”
“I listened not with interest but with a feeling of regret,” said the Minister in reply, “that the history of this case should be dragged before the public mind by the leader of the Opposition.”
Mr Davies: It is due to your action.
“I particularly watched for the main charges,” Mr Lee continued, “that the leader of the Opposition was prepared to make to pass his censure on the Government. If, after two and a half years of administration, this is all that can be found against the Bavin Government we have done well in the eyes of the public. (Opposition dissent.) Some of Mr Lang’s arguments are that I have been too generous and too kind to Harris, and not kind enough to Brauner. To-day he charges me with something which is quite contrary to that which he charged me only a few days ago. Then he told me I was hard-hearted and cruel, and that I was trying to put legirons on men. Now he has gone to the other extreme, and declares that I am too kind to prisoners.”
Mr Davies: To rich people.
Mr Lee said that this was not the first time that a charge of preferential treatment for Harris had been made. On February 26, 1927, during Mr McKell’s term as Minister for Justice, a Sydney newspaper had made charges that Harris was being given privileges denied other prisoners. When Mr Eli asked if there were any truth in the allegations, Mr McTiernan, who at the time was acting for Mr McKell, promised to investigate. The report from the Prisons Department was that the statements were fabrications.
An Opposition Member: That was in Labour’s time. It is different in yours.
The next time the matter was dragged up, continued Mr Lee, was in November, 1928. This time another newspaper revived it. Certain people get their information from the same source. They paid released prisoners for stories, and were told all kinds of tales which were served up to the public as “good stuff.”
“A representative of the newspaper,” the Minister went on, “came to me for verification of a statement that Harris and Brauner were to be released. Although I assured him that this was not true, he came out the next day with a story under the heading, ‘Are Sex Maniacs to be Released?’ and stated that Brauner had been seen in the streets of Sydney. Later on a request came to me to have the boy transferred to Emu Plains.”
An Opposition Member: Where did the request come from?
Mr Lee: His father—the man who has the most right to make it.
Mr Lamaro: And there was something else as well.
The request, Mr Lee added, had been forwarded to the Prisons Department for report.
The report of the Comptroller-General, said Mr Lee, had expressed the opinion that it was much too early to give favourable consideration to the question of transferring Harris to the Emu Plains prison farm. He though, however, that he might be placed under the more favourable conditions that existed at Maitland Gaol, or he might be transferred to Goulburn Gaol. Very much had been said about the foul disease that Harris had. Mr Lang had mentioned that a man with those characteristics about him had been sent into what he (Mr Lang) was trying to term the gentlemanly Tuncurry camp. The report received from his officer yesterday morning said: “I noticed in ‘Smith’s Weekly’ to-day that Harris was suffering from a disease. This is not true.” it also had been stated that Harris was transferred before he had served one-third of his sentence. There is another way of looking at this. In the ordinary course, according to prison regulations, he would have served seven years and six months if he had been left to lie in Bathurst or Maitland or Parramatta gaol. It was not correct to say that he had not served one-third of his sentence.
Mr Lang had also said that Brauner was receiving different treatment from that which Harris was receiving, said the Minister. Brauner, when received, was suffering from a very serious disease. He was subsequently certified to be suffering from a disease which if it could be worse, was worse than the one he was suffering from when he went to gaol. Brauner was convicted twice in 1918 for indecent language; in 1921 for offensive behaviour; and was also convicted of a number of minor offences against the Motor Traffic Act , so that the history of Brauner was in no way comparable with the history of Harris.
Mr Connell: Didn’t the Judge know that? (Laughter.)
Mr Lee: I will remember that when the hon member comes to me with a request about a prisoner.
Mr Bruce Walker: Did Harris have any previous convictions?
Mr Lee: He did have a few. (Laughter.) He had three convictions for traffic breaches.
Mr Lee said that the minute based on the report of the Comptroller-General stated that the submission of Harris to Emu Plains was undesirable from every point of view. To give him the benefits of the prison camp at that comparatively early stage would probably not be to his ultimate advantage. Moreover there might be other prisoners more entitled. His (Mr Lee’s) own minute on those papers was to transfer him to Goulburn, as suggested, and keep him at the same trade of carpentry. That was dated February 2, 1929. When a request was made to him he tried to take a personal interest in the case. He had cases held up at present until he could get time to go to Tuncurry camp.
Mr Davidson: You ought to have been there long ago.
Mr Lee: To look at your face one would think you had been there before.
The Minister said that on September 19, 1929, he received a request from Messrs HV Jaques and CFS Glasgow, MsLA, that consideration should be given to the question of transferring Harris to one of the prison camps. He (Mr Lee) had always opposed the sending of Harris to Emu Plains, where young boys were, and the parents of the youth and the members who had made the request were informed that he could not in any case consider that he should be sent to Emu Plains camp. He called for a report as to his conduct since he had been at Goulburn, also the views of the Comptroller-General, with a view of transferring him to Tuncurry camp, and received a report from the Comptroller-General on December 13, 1929, that the conduct and industry of the prisoner at Goulburn Reformatory had been reported as excellent. After discussing the case with the governor of the gaol it had been decided by the Comptroller-General to include Harris in an escort going to Tuncurry camp on December 9, and he was then in that camp when the report was made.
“The charge is made,” said Mr Lee, “that I have broke [sic] the regulations, that I walked rough-shod over the opinions of the officers of the department, and that I determined that this boy should go to Tuncurry. The files proved that I never gave any direction.”
Mr McGirr: No verbal direction?
Mr Lee: the Comptroller-General, after consultation with his own officers at Goulburn, satisfied himself that he could trust Harris in an escort. The next information I got was that Harris was in camp. That gives the lie direct to the charge that I broke the regulations.
Mr Davies: Why don’t you send him back?
Mr Lee said that it was within the jurisdiction of the Comptroller-General of Prisons to transfer prisoners, and it was the practice for officers to suggest to the Comptroller-General that certain prisoners should be transferred to certain camps.
Mr Lysaght: When you received the report that Harris had been transferred to Tuncurry did you do anything to review it or approve it?
Mr Lee: I approved it. (Opposition laughter.)
Continuing, the Minister said that since Harris had been at Tuncurry the reports indicated that his conduct was good, and that his work had given satisfaction. It could be fairly said that no preferential treatment had been meted out to Harris.
Mr McKell said that after listening to the Minister’s speech members would think that he had been making a plea for an inoffensive youth who had made one slip in life and for whom a little bit of clemency was necessary to bring him back to righteousness. That was not the case. Harris was the most vile and infamous prisoner that had ever been sent to gaol in New South Wales.
“The Minister has said” Mr McKell continued, “that if he had been the son of a working man there would have been no complaint. I have not the slightest doubt that he is correct, because if Harris had been the son of a poor man he would never have been transferred to Tuncurry. (Opposition cheers.)
Mr Bavin: We expect that sort of things from some members on that side of the House, but we don’t expect it from you.
Mr McKell added that as the result of his transfer Harris would have special privileges, a special monetary allowance, and special rations.
MR BAVIN’S SPEECH.
The Premier said that after the Minister’s explanation the leader of the Opposition might have withdrawn his motion without losing respect.
Mr Lang: I don’t want your respect.
The motion meant, Mr Bavin proceeded, that the Government should be put out of office because one man had been removed from one prison to another, and because Mr Lee did not overrule the action of the Comptroller-General. Whether that officer had done the right thing was a matter of opinion, but the Government accepted the full responsibility for what had been done. The motive of the leader of the Opposition was apparent. He (Mr Lang) hoped that it would go out to the public that the Minister had acted improperly. “He knows he can’t get away with that here,” Mr Bavin said, “but hopes that it will go out to the country. So far as that aspect of the question is concerned no honest man on either side of the House believes that there is a shred of foundation for it.”
Mr McKell: Can you see any justification for Harris being picked out to go to Tuncurry out of 200 prisoners at Goulburn?
Mr Bavin: I should be sorry to say that Mr Hinchy was wrong.
Mr Lysaght said that one thing which, he thought, would be conceded by every member was that the public mind of the country, having heard the cowardly defence of the Minister, would have little confidence in the administration of justice and the Prisons Department. When the Premier had thought fit to base his defence upon the words of the official records he had overlooked the fact that the document contained an impeachment of the Minister, because on the very minute upon which the action of sending the prisoner to Tuncurry appeared to be based—
Mr Chaffey: I move that the question be put. (Labour uproar.)
Mr Lysaght: You know what was coming, you cowards.
The motion was carried on a party division.
MR LANG’S REPLY.
In his reply Mr Lang said that the papers showed that the Minister had been persistently calling day after day, to the officers for something to happen. Mr Lee had asked Mr Hinchy for a report on Harris at Goulburn Gaol. The officer at Goulburn declined to give Mr Hinchy a report, and the Comptroller-General went to Goulburn himself, and later informed the Minister that Harris had been removed to Tuncurry. That showed without doubt that Mr Hinchy had instructions to do that when the report was written. He (Mr Lang) wished to read some extracts from the girl’s evidence, but they were so revolting that he could not read them before the public. He suggested that the Speaker should exercise his right and clear the House of strangers while the extracts were read.
The Speaker (Sir Daniel Levy) said that that right was only exercised by the Speaker in case of disorder. He pointed out, however, that a member could direct his attention to the presence of strangers in the House, and the House could decide whether they should be requested to withdraw.
Mr Lang directed the Speaker’s attention to the presence of strangers, but the motion that they should be ordered to withdraw was defeated on a party division by 45 votes to 38.
Subsequently Mr Lang said he would read extracts from the evidence with a view to showing that Harris was the prime mover.
He had not gone far when Mr Fitzpatrick moved that he should be no further heard. On a party division the motion was carried by 44 votes to 38.
Mr Lang’s censure motion was defeated on a division by 45 votes to 38.
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The West Australian, Thu 20 Mar 1930 53
CENSURE MOTION FAILS.
A Debate Over a Prisoner.
SYDNEY, March 19.—The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Lang) submitted a motion of censure on the Ministry in the Legislative Assembly to-day in relation to a prisoner, Neville Harris, who was convicted of a serious offence three years ago and has been removed from the Goulburn Gaol to the prisoners’ afforestation camp at Tuncurry.
Mr Lang claimed that the Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) had not shown impartial treatment in the case of Harris.
Mr Lee replied that the prisoner was transferred by the prison authorities without his knowledge, but the transfer was subsequently approved.
After a long debate the closure was applied, and the motion was defeated on a party division by 45 to 38.
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Truth, Sun 23 Mar 1930 54
FAVORS TO HARRIS INFLAME
Minster for Justice Lee Attacked in
“IF HARRIS HAD BEEN A POOR MAN — ”
AFTER a week of public indignation and rumbling political eruption, the searing question of why satyr Neville Harris was removed from gaol to partial freedom at the Tuncurry afforestation camp remains unanswered.
FOUR weeks ago “Truth” surprised the people of the State with the definite information of Harris’s transfer, and, heeding the insistent demand, Mr Lang last week flayed Minister for Justice Lee on the matter.
MR LEE offered a long defence for his actions, and amid a bedlam of interjections from Labor members he frequently referred to a bulky file containing particulars of Harris’s gaol doings.
MR McKELL, ex-Minister for Justice, added fuel to the blaze by stating that “if Harris had been the son of a poor man he would never have been transferred to Tuncurry.”
MR BAVIN also had his say.
THEN arose Mr Lysaght and commenced in ponderous determination to say something decidedly pointed regarding the file of official records upon which Mr Lee’s defence was based, only to be “gagged” in frenzied haste by Chief Secretary Chaffey.
NOT to be silenced Mr Lang replied by reading portion of the girl’s evidence concerning that night’s revolting happenings—and another “gag,” from Mr Fitzpatrick, silenced him as swiftly as the guillotine.
SO the matter ended in a welter of dissatisfaction …… but Harris is still enjoying the sunshine at Tuncurry and “Truth” is still asking why?
WHY in the name of all that is just and equable should such preferential treatment be handed out—forgive the term, you real men of Australia—of Harris’s warped type?
Justification for it cannot be found in the word “mercy.” Sympathy just does not extend to those as inhuman as Brauner and Harris proved themselves to be.
The very thought that this sin-seeped blackguard was not to serve his justly merited sentence to the uttermost left decent, clean-minded people aghast. It was not a matter of an eye for an eye; far from a matter of vindictiveness. Harris’s crime didn’t leave a single thought behind save that of horror, and in the fair name of British Justice he deserves nothing less—perhaps more—than the sentence the court imposed upon him.
Where, in the concise, biting summing-up of Mr Justice Ferguson—who presided at the famous trial—was there the slightest peg upon which Mr Lee or any other person in the Justice Department could hang justification for the removal of Harris to Tuncurry?
Such a loophole they cannot find. Of extenuation for the dreadful doings on the night of September 5, 1926, there is not the slightest trace.
Yet, despite all these implacable facts, despite every code of our prison system, Harris merciless debaser of a pleading and defenceless woman, has mercy unaccountably extended to him. He leaves cold cell stones—so like his own pitiless nature—behind him to swagger in his churlish arrogance in the freedom, sunshine, and easy-going life of an afforestation camp!
Why? …… Why you might well ask!
It is a question that defies and baffles. Sufficient it is to know that Neville Harris, “the most vile and infamous prisoner who has ever been sent to gaol in New South Wales” (to quote Mr McKell), is at Tuncurry camp.
There he is allowed extraordinary freedom. He is practically on parole. Supervision is not nearly as strict as it is within gaol walls, and the very fact that Harris is located at that camp entitles him to extra remission!
He can also earn up to 2/6 a day there.
Surely this is no just punishment for a man who has committed such an abominable offence.
And at whose door actually rests the blame for this travesty of justice, this lampooning of our prison system?
Hundreds of prisoners must have had prior claim to transfer from the environs of gaol walls. Men suffering and working out their sentences for crimes less revolting than that which Harris was guilty of. Yet he is picked, pampered, and favored before them.
It is a real life example of the Gilbert and Sullivan idea of making the punishment fit the crime!
No wonder people were amazed and incredulous at the strange and weird workings of our Justice Department. No wonder they clamored for an explanation and grimly ruminated over the prevalence of sordid sex crimes, for in this very pampering of the foul Harris there was anything but a deterrence to similar offenders.
A crowded house saw Mr Lang wield the sword of Justice, and ask why the perpetrator of one of the vilest crimes in the history of New South Wales had been granted such unheard of clemency?
“The indictment against the Minister in this particular matter,” said Mr Lang, “is that he used his influence as a member of the Government and the power which he holds as Minister for Justice to prevent the sentence imposed by one of our courts being put into effect.
“The crime which Neville Harris, together with William Brauner, was found guilty was of such a dreadful nature that I do not think the few years which have elapsed since it was committed have obliterated from the minds of members the fiendishness of the actions which led to their being placed in the prisoners’ dock. …
“Both these men were sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude.”
He then quoted Mr Justice Ferguson’s remarks at the close of the case, in which his Honor stated that the matter reached “the very depths of horror.”
Continuing, Mr Lang stated: “It may have some bearing on the case that Brauner, as far as we can understand, had little or no means. Harris, on the other hand, retained the devotion and attendance of wealthy parents and relatives. …
“What treatment do we find that these men are receiving in their respective gaols?
“Brauner is being treated in a manner, apparently, which befits his crime.
“So was Harris … until this Government came into power. For some reason not apparent the Minister for Justice has come to the conclusion that Harris, guilty of this beastly crime as he is, should become an object of extraordinary clemency so far as the prison administration is concerned.
“Instead of paying for his crime by suffering the penalties which the law has imposed upon him, this man will enjoy an existence little more irksome than that which is the lot of a soldier in a military camp.
“Not only does the Minister defeat the sentence of the court, but his action will probably ruin a splendid feature of our prison system. In placing this debased person at Tuncurry he will probably contaminate men for whom there is every hope of reform and readjustment in civil life. …
“The rule is that sexual offenders, particularly of the abominable type, should not be allowed to associate with the cleaner type of prisoner. …”
In reply, Mr Lee said: “To sum up the argument of the Leader of the Opposition, it would appear that I have been over-merciful, over-generous, too kind to Harris and not kind enough to Brauner.”
Opposition chorus: “Rubbish!”
Mr Lee said that this was not the first time that a charge of preferential treatment for Harris had been made. On February 26, 1927, during Mr McKell’s term as Minister for Justice, a Sydney newspaper had made charges that Harris was being given privileges denied to other prisoners.
The next time the matter was dragged up, continued Mr Lee, was in November, 1928. This time another newspaper revived it. Certain people get their information from the same source. They paid released prisoners for stories, and were told all kinds of tales which were served up to the public as “good stuff.”
Later on a request came to me to have the boy transferred to Emu Plains, he went on.
An Opposition member: Where did the request come from?
Mr Lee: His father—the man who has the most right to make it.
The request, Mr Lee added, had been forwarded to the Prisons Department for report.
The report of the Comptroller-General, said Mr Lee, had expressed the opinion that it was much too early to give favourable consideration to the question of transferring Harris to the Emu Plains prison farm. He thought, however, that he might be placed under the more favourable conditions that existed at Maitland Gaol, or he might be transferred to Goulburn Gaol.
Mr Lee said that the minute based on the report of the Comptroller-General stated that the transference of Harris to Emu Plains was undesirable from every point of view. To give him the benefits of the prison camp at that comparatively early stage would probably not be to his ultimate advantage. Moreover, there might be other prisoners more entitled. His (Mr Lee’s) own minute on those papers was to transfer him to Goulburn, as suggested, and keep him at the same trade of carpentry. That was dated February 2, 1929.
When a request was made to him he tried to take a personal interest in the case. He had cases held up at present until he could get time to go to Tuncurry camp.
The Minister said that on September 19,1929, he received a request from Messrs HV Jacques and CFS Glasgow, MsLA, that consideration should be given to the question of transferring Harris to one of the prison camps.
Mr Lee added that he had always opposed the sending of Harris to Emu Plains, where young boys were, and the parents of the youth and the members who had made the request were informed that he could not in any case consider that he should be sent to Emu Plains camp.
He called for a report as to his conduct since he had been at Goulburn, also the views of the Comptroller-General, with a view to transferring him to Tuncurry camp, and received a report from the Comptroller-General on December 13,1929, that the conduct and industry of the prisoner at Goulburn Reformatory had been reported as excellent.
After discussing the case with the governor of the gaol it had been decided by the Comptroller-General to include Harris in an escort going to Tuncurry camp on December 9, and he was then in that camp when the report was made.
“The charge is made,” said Mr Lee,, “that I have broken the regulations, that I walked rough-shod over the opinions of the officers of the department, and that I determined that this boy should go to Tuncurry. The files proved that I never gave any direction.”
Mr McGirr: No verbal direction?
Mr Lee: The Comptroller-General, after consultation with his own officers at Goulburn, satisfied himself that he could trust Harris in an escort. The next information I got was that Harris was in camp. That gives the lie direct to the charge that I broke the regulations.
Then followed fierce argument and the gagging of Mr Lysaght and Mr Lang.
But nothing on earth can gag opinions about the injustice of Neville Harris being now at Tuncurry Camp instead of working out his sentence behind prison walls.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 15 Apr 1930 55
TREATMENT OF A PRISONER.
The Women Justices’ Association has forwarded a letter to the Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) protesting against what the association regards as the lenient treatment meted out to Neville Harris, who, three years ago, was convicted of a serious offence.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 13 Apr 1930 56
Protest Meeting of
To protest against the unfortunate precedent recently created with regard to the sentence imposed on a sexual criminal, Neville Harris, as revealed by “Truth,” a public meeting will be held at the Town Hall next Tuesday afternoon, at 2.30.
The Soldiers’ Mothers, Wives, and Relatives’ Association feels it is necessary to take some action to safeguard women and children, and proposes to pass resolutions with a view to having the law amended.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Argus, Fri 9 May 1930 57
TRANSFER OF CRIMINAL.
ALLEGATION OF CORRUPTION.
SYDNEY, Thursday.—Many women’s organisations were represented to-day in a deputation which protested to the Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) against the removal from the Goulburn Gaol to the prisoner afforestations camp at Tuncurry of Neville Harris, who, in company with William Brauner, was convicted nearly three years ago of an outrage on a young woman at Bondi.
Members of the deputation declared that the removal of Harris savoured of political interference, and that the women’s organisations would not like to feel that anyone in authority could for financial reasons interfere with the sentences of men found guilty of crime. The women assured Mr Lee that they were concerned for the safety of young girls. It had been rumoured that the girl in this case had died.
Mr Lee said that he had been informed that the deputation was the result of a political move. A member of the Legislative Assembly had been heard to say that women’s organisations were being moved to support an attack on the reputation of the present Ministry, and that it would lose three seats in consequence. If it were found upon inquiry that there was no truth in the inference that emoluments had passed between the relatives of Harris and the administration the statement must be withdrawn. Harris had been sent to the camp on the recommendation of the governor of the gaol, who had reported favourably upon his conduct during his imprisonment. Harris would remain at the camp for the remainder of his sentence if he behaved himself. The girl in the case was not dead; she was in good health.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 9 May 1930 58
Attacked by Minister.
THE HARRIS CASE.
ALLEGED POLITICAL MOVE.
After a deputation of representatives of various women’s organisations, yesterday, had stated their views concerning the removal of Neville Harris from Goulburn Gaol to Tuncurry Camp, the Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) charged the deputation with being a political move. He declared that the agitation followed a conversation at Parliament House, when it was openly stated by a member of the House that a women’s organisation would be used to help unseat three members of the National party.
Members of the deputation repudiated the Minister’s assertion. They said that their only motive was to safeguard the young womanhood of the city.
Mrs Connell, of the Soldiers’ Mothers, Wives, and Relatives Association, said that the deputation was the result of a meeting of women’s social organisations, held at the Town Hall recently, but not in any spirit of hostility toward the Government. Members of the deputation belonged to various political parties, but the question they considered was near and dear to the hearts of all. In the first place, they felt that the sentences imposed on Harris and Brauner (his associate in an outrage upon a woman at Bondi) were not adequate. The only way to make a criminal realise the enormity of his crime was to inflict adequate punishment. Members of the deputation felt sure that the law, as it stood, did not adequately safeguard the interests of their girls.
Mrs Glanville, of the Moral and Social Reform Association, said that they understood that the prison camps were established for prisoners who had committed offences of a minor nature.
“If you put a rotten apple in a case it is not long before all the fruit is contaminated,” she said, “and humans are just the same. Is it not a dangerous practice to allow these men to associate with others who have committed crimes not so serious?”
Matron Attenborough asked the Minister whether there were other men of the same type as Brauner and Harris in Tuncurry camp.
Mrs Griffiths, speaking as a citizen, and not as a member of the Women Justices’ Association, urged that sexual perverts should not be sent to the Tuncurry camp.
Mrs Calloway, on behalf of the Soldiers’ Mothers, Wives, and Relatives Association, said that Brauner and Harris had been dealt with too leniently. The law should be strengthened to cope with lawlessness.
Mrs Edward Gates, of the Council of Social and Moral Reform, declared that Harris’s removal to Tuncurry savored [sic] of political interference.
The Minister, in reply, said that he was going to speak very frankly. Public attention had been focussed on the case and an attempt had been made in Parliament to use it for censuring the Government.
“I have been informed,” said Mr Lee, “that this deputation is a political move. A member of the House was heard to say in the billiard-room that a political movement was contemplated and that a series of meetings was to be held all over the State and that the first meeting would be held in the vestibule of the Town Hall. It was further said that that meeting would link up with all the women’s organisations, the mothers of soldiers, and others. When I subsequently heard of your Town Hall meeting I immediately came to the conclusion that what was said in the billiard-room of Parliament House was genuine. It was said that the Government would lose three seats in Parliament and the seats were even named. I want to tell you that no political capital can be made out of this case unless by those who do want to go through the whole sordid story again. Such a campaign would achieve very little politically, or even socially. I want to give the lie direct to the rumour that the girl is dead. She was never better in health than she is to-day.”
Mr Lee went on to say that the rumour that Harris was suffering a disease when imprisoned was not true. His conduct in gaol had been good, and, as a result, the governor of the gaol had recommended to the Comptroller of Prisons that he should be sent to Tuncurry camp. The comptroller had exercised his power in the ordinary way, and had acted on the recommendation of his officer. Harris would not be released until his full sentence had been served. The meeting at the Town Hall had declared that he (the Minister) had made a “mistake in clemency.” He found it difficult to understand what they meant by the phrase.
“I don’t know whether you want us to put the boot into this man until his full ten years have been served” said the Minister, “or whether you want us to get him on the treadmill or keep him locked up in Long Bay until we have embedded in his soul more criminal instincts. I don’t know whether you want us to find whether there is any good in the man. None of you have mentioned what you think we ought to have done. The policy of the Prisons Department is that if a man shows any tendency towards helping himself, it is the duty of the department to help him.”
Mr Lee said that suggestions of political interference inferred that emoluments had passed between the relatives of Harris and the Administration. He hoped that the lady who made that suggestion would let him have any knowledge she had of the matter; otherwise he hoped she would withdraw the statement.
The Minister said that when he compared Harris’s case with that of other men, some of them poor men, who had received similar treatment when Mr McKell was Minister for Justice, he could not help thinking that the agitation about Harris was a political move. Harris was not the only sexual pervert at the camp. There were others whose crimes were almost as abominable, but when he did a thing similar to the action of a previous Minister it was used as a political move to attack the fair name of the Government.
Reading from official records the Minister mentioned the names of a large number of men who had been convicted of serious offences against little girls and women. Was it possible that Harris would contaminate these men? He asked.
“Would you like to see Harris repeat his crime?” the Minister asked the deputation.
Mrs Connell: That is what we want to avoid, and the reason why we are here.
Mr Lee: It doesn’t matter what I do, there is a time coming when Harris will be a free man. The policy of the department is to send out their prisoners better men than when they received them. That is all we are trying to do. Harris is going to stop at Tuncurry so long as he behaves himself, and the moment he misconducts himself he will go back to gaol.”
Mrs Connell denied that there was any political significance in the motives of the deputation.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 11 May 1930 59
DOES William Brauner, associate of Harris in crime, pining in Bathurst Gaol, receive the news of his erstwhile comrade’s treatment?
What must Brauner think? But then Brauner, according to Mr Lee, is not a model prisoner like Harris, and possibly Brauner does not get a glimpse of an afternoon, morning, or Sunday paper. It’s against rules at Bathurst, anyway.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 14 May 1930 60
MOTHERS, WIVES, AND WIDOWS’
Mr JR Lee, Minister for Justice, was the speaker at a meeting of the Sailors and Soldiers Mothers, Wives, and Widows’ Association, held yesterday afternoon at Empire House, Castlereagh-street, when the president, Mrs M Mercer, was in the chair.
Mr Lee spoke about the Neville Harris case, and explained his reasons for moving the man to the Tuncurry Prison Camp. A resolution to the effect that the association had entire confidence in the administration of prisons as carried out by the present Government was moved by Mrs Walsh, secretary of the association, and was carried.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 8 Jul 1930 61
During a lecture which Mr Lee, Minister for Justice, gave before the Howard Prison Reform League of New South Wales last night, he remarked that even he was not immune from the housebreaker’s activities. Someone had entered his home by the bathroom window and later his (the Minister’s) coat was found in the hall, and his trousers and vest in the back lane.
The Minister made a spirited defence of his actions in regard to sending Neville Harris to Tuncurry prison camp, while Brauner was kept in gaol, and claimed that Harris’ treatment would made him a better man; Brauner, he said, could not be sent to a prison camp, for he had put himself against the authorities from the time he entered prison.
In regard to the proposal to use prison labour on road building in Kuring-gai Shire, Mr Lee said he had 200 men sitting in Long Bay prison doing nothing all day, and conditions in some of the prisons were overcrowded, so that it would be conferring a boon on some of these men to put them out roadmaking. “The trust has, so far, succeeded in placing obstacles in the way of my getting the hulks, which are still tied up in Darling Harbour,” said Mr Lee, “but I will overcome these objection if I remain in office long enough.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 13 Jul 1930 62
BRAUNER BLAMES NEWSPAPERS
CLOSE-UPS OF CONVICTS
Ex-Prisoner Tells of Gaol From Within
Brains, Ability, and Breeding,
Brawn, Brutality, and Bestiality.
THERE you have the epitome of life behind prison walls as ai appeared to me on close acquaintance in the role of a convicted person. There I knew that among my future companions were former members of learned professions and commercial life together with the outcast and the derelict.
WHAT a variety! What a pity! On arrival at Goulburn prison, and after taking stock of my surroundings, an old-timer gave me some good advice.
There I saw Worrall, Oakes, and other life sentence prisoners.
Worrall is employed in the tailoring shop, and had learned to play the organ. He accompanies the choir of all denominations, but is not popular.
Strange to say, his fellow-prisoners cannot forgive him for having been a policeman. To say a good word for a member of the force or a warder—according to my informant—is to break a strict unwritten law of the gaolbird.
Another lifer there is Bill Isles, who, as hospital orderly, has the “plum” of prison labor. Two months back Bill was in Long Bay daily expecting discharge after serving some 16 or 17 years.
Murray, the Wagga murderer and the Belgian captain who shot a girl at Darlinghurst some years back, were employed in the printing shop, and the captain always struck me as a particularly pathetic figure. A foreigner condemned to serve a life sentence in a strange land.
Strange to relate, however, the life-sentence men are usually much more contented than the prisoners who are serving comparatively short sentences, and invariably their cells are models of cleanliness and finely decorated.
Bathurst Prison, if one accepts the statement of the Minister for Justice, is a gaol designed for the irreclaimables, is looked upon by prisoners as quite a “good” prison.
There also are several lifers and long sentence men.
Bradley has served 16 years; Doran, the Mohammedan, who, for murder on the high seas, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and who is now at Long Bay awaiting deportation after eight years; Ehrsman, for murder, who has served 10 years, and McPherson, the Petersham murderer, who has done about three years, and whose sentence was altered by the Bavin Government to “natural life.”
There also is Brauner, whose case has recently been the subject of controversy. Brauner was transferred from Maitland to Bathurst when Harris was sent to Goulburn, and has been employed in the tailors’ shop.
He has never fallen foul of the authorities for any breach of the regulations, and is hopeful of gaining at least the statutory remission for good conduct. He is on full indulgence, and is entitled to receive parcels at the usual times. Brauner, in conversation, blamed the newspapers for the severity of the sentence.
Maitland prison, to which all prisoners convicted of sexual offences are sent, has several lifers and long sentence convicts, including two aboriginals—Roy Governor, brother of the outlaws, doing twelve years, and Jackie, a lifer sentenced 19 years ago, whose surname is almost forgotten. Jackie’s one object in life is to become an expert at draughts, and every new arrival must play him. As a rule he wins, and his pleasure in a victory is sufficient reward and consolation for his opponent.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 26 Sep 1930 63
MR LEE OPENS CAMPAIGN.
The Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) opened his campaign in the Drummoyne electorate by addressing a big meeting in the Regal Theatre, Fivedock, [sic] last night. Labour sympathisers made frequent interjections.
Mr Lee said the Bavin Government had cleaned up the City Council, which had become a by-word for corruption, and had put the electoral law beyond the control of party politics. “Our policy,” he said, “is based on the demand of the moment, and we will strive to do whatever is necessary to win back the employment that has been lost, and to restore posterity among the people of the State. It is not a political problem, but an economic one that touches all.
“It will not be solved by the man who talks of borrowing £200,000,000 when the country finds it impossible to pay the interest on what it already owes,” Mr Lee continued. “It is going to be solved only be each taking his fair share of the burden and pulling the full weight. Mr Lang cannot withdraw from the Loan Council without the consent of the other States, and his master’s voice is Mr ‘Jock’ Garden, who carries a special key—similar to those carried by State Ministers—for admission to Parliament House at any hour of the day or night. I have seen Mr McTiernan, Mr Lazzarini, and Mr Tom Mutch standing outside the Premier’s door while Mr Garden was inside with Mr Lang.”
Amid dissent from the back of the hall, Mr Lee said the reason why Mr Beasley and Mr Blakeley were endorsing Mr Lang’s platform was because of a threat that if they did not they would be thrust out of the Labour movement.
Dealing with what is known as the Neville Harris case, Mr Lee complained of what he termed his opponent’s endeavours to “sneak into Parliament on the back of a criminal now in gaol,” and said a pamphlet that had been circulated in the electorate was the lowest thing in politics.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Advertiser, Sat 8 Nov 1930 64
Fines to be Remitted
Sydney, November 7.
The State Ministry has decided to remit all fines imposed for offences committed by the striking miners at the Rothbury colliery disturbances.
The Ministry has also decided that Neville Harris, who during the regime of the Bavin Ministry was removed from the Goulburn gaol to the Tuncurry prison camp, will be returned to the gaol. Harris was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years for having committed a criminal offence.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Brisbane Courier, Sat 8 Nov 1930 65
FINES TO BE REMITTED.
Sydney, November 7.
The State Ministry has decided to remit all fines imposed for offences committed by striking miners at the Rothbury colliery disturbances. The Ministry also has decided that Neville Harris, who, during the regime of the Bavin Ministry, was removed from the Goulburn Gaol to the Tuncurry prison camp, will be returned to the gaol. Harris was sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years for having committed a criminal offence. Inquiries will be made into the working of various State enterprises.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Canberra Times, Sat 8 Nov 1930 66
HARRIS CASE AGAIN
Lang Cabinet Acts
The State Cabinet to-day decided that Neville Harris, who is undergoing a sentence of ten years for his part in what is known as the Bondi outrage, shall be transferred from Tuncurry Prison Camp to Goulburn Gaol.
The order resulting in Harris’ transfer to Tuncurry was signed by the former Minister for Justice (Mr Lee) and the matter was made the issue in the Drummoyne electorate where Mr Lee was defeated.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 8 Nov 1930 67
Governor to Open Parliament
REMISSION OF ROTHBURY FINES.
The opening of the State Parliament on November 25 is to be performed by the Governor (Sir Philip Game), with the customary ceremonial. This announcement was made on behalf of the Government yesterday. At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting the Neville Harris case was brought under review. It was decided that the prisoner should be removed from the Tuncurry prison camp to Goulburn gaol, his former custody.
Another decision of the Ministry was to remit all fines in connection with the Rothbury colliery disturbances during the period the Bavin Government took control of the mine, and conducted it with free labour.
The Government has also decided to instigate an inquiry into the State enterprises with the object of ensuring greater business activity. These enterprises include the State metal quarries, State brick works, the building and construction branch, and the State Monier Pipe Works. The investigations will be conducted by the Minister for Education (Mr Davies), the Minister for Labour and Mines (Mr Baddeley), the Minister for Agriculture (Mr Dunn), and the Minister for Works (Mr Davidson).
The Government has decided to take immediate steps to authorise the Newcastle Abattoirs to continue without interruption its bacon trading operations.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 14 Nov 1930 68
At Goulburn Reformatory.
Following the decision of the Cabinet, Neville Harris, who is serving a sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment for a criminal offence against a girl, was brought to the Goulburn Reformatory last night from Tuncurry prison camp. He was under a strong escort.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 10 Apr 1934 69
HARRIS AND BRAUNER
To be Released from Prison.
It was announced yesterday that Neville Harris would be discharged from prison on April 24, and William Brauner on May 26. Their sentences, with the usual remission for good conduct, will expire on these dates. They were sentenced late in 1926 for serious offences against a girl in the eastern suburbs.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 15 Apr 1934 70
HARRIS AND BRAUNER ARE
CHANGED BY GAOL
BENEFIT OF REMISSIONS
BRAUNER and HARRIS, the two culprits of the Bondi kidnapping outrage, will be released from prison soon.
They intend to change their names and begin life afresh in other States.
Neville Harris was a youth of 19 years when he was sentenced. Now he is approaching 27. Then he was a willow boy of slight physique. Now he is a mature man, and the years of prison diet and routine, have considerably altered his stature.
At the time of the crime William Brauner was 29 years of age. He was fat, overweight; almost flabby. Now he is a middle-aged man, and as hard as nails.
They have been “good” prisoners, and because of that, remissions for good behavior have considerably reduced the 10 years hard labor to which they were sentenced. Harris will be released on April 24. Brauner will be discharged on May 26.
The victim of their crime, an attractive girl, disappeared shortly after the trial. The case was a terrific ordeal for the poor girl, and as soon as it was over she desperately wanted to escape from further unwelcome public attention.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 6 Dec 1934 71
Thursday, December 6.
No. 1 Court.—William Tarpey, stealing in a dwelling (for plea only); Lames Albert Knight, assault a female under the age of 16 years and commit an act of indecency; William Thomas Waddell, carnally knowing.
No. 2 Court.—Walter Grace, John O’Brien, Vincent Francis Carey, and Thomas Joseph Maitland, stealing a motor car (for plea only); William Beaver, false pretences; Eric Kelly and Harry Barker, break, enter, and steal; Edward Weyman, steal from the person.
William Brauner, 1934
Truth, Sun 18 Nov 1934 72
WILLIAM BRAUNER APPEARS AT
RYDE POLICE COURT
WILLIAM BRAUNER faced a charge of false pretences at the Ryde Police Court last week.
And few people recognised the middle-aged, dapper-looking man; well-dressed, self-confident—the man who called himself William Beaver and gave his age as 32. He must be much older than that now.
The charge against Brauner, or Beaver, is said to arise out of a long investigation by the police of allegations from many quarters that unauthorised persons were misrepresenting themselves as collectors for well-known and greatly respected charitable institutions.
The police have been informed that money is solicited as subscriptions, and never reaches the charities to which benevolent folk willingly give.
It was on Wednesday last at Eastwood that Detectives Lee and Lane, of Ryde, arrested a man whom they believed to be canvassing. He said that his name was William Beaver, 32, an engineer.
Later, he was formally charged before Mr R Palmer, JP, but no evidence was tendered and a remand was granted, apparently so that the police could produce evidence to support the charge they made.
The actual charge against the suspect was, “That at Eastwood on the 13th day of November, 1934, he did falsely pretend to one Mervyn Ford, that he represented the Church of England, and that he was authorised to sell advertising space in the Church England Calendar, by means of which false pretence he did then obtain from the said Mervyn Ford the sum of £1/1/-, with intent to defraud.
Brauner, or Beaver, listened to the charge unmoved, but afterwards entered into an earnest discussion with the police.
When the remand was granted, Mr R Palmer, JP, fixed a substantial bail, self £30, and sureties of another £30. The case is listed for hearing again on November 29.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 5 Feb 1935 73
(Before Judge White.)
William Bevers, alias Brauner, 32, engineer, who had been arrested in Melbourne for failing to appear for trial at the Sydney Quarter Sessions on December 6 last on a charge of false pretences, was before the Court. Bevers had been charged with falsely pretending to Mervyn Ford that he was authorised to sell advertising spaces in the Church of England Calendar for 1935, and thereby obtained £1/1/ with intent to defraud.
When Bevers did not appear for trial in December last, Judge Curlewis issued a warrant for his arrest.
Accused was remanded for three weeks. Bail was refused.
Mr RM Kidston (instructed by Mr CL Sheehy) appeared for the accused; and Mr TS Crawford for the Crown.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Canberra Times, Sat 23 Feb 1935 74
Accused to Serve in Full
William Beaver, alias Brauner, 37, was convicted at the Quarter Sessions to-day of false pretences and sentenced to nine months imprisonment.
Beaver made a plea to the Judge to recommend his licence be not revoked, stating that he had done seven years in gaol, but Judge Thompson declined to do so. For having broken his licence, Beaver, it is stated, will have to serve the unexpired portion of his sentence of ten years passed at the Central Criminal Court on November 27, 1926, for assault on a young woman.
Beaver was convicted to-day of having obtained money on representation that he was authorised to sell advertising space for a church newspaper. According to the police, similar offences were being committed in many suburbs and also in country towns.
Detective Lane described the accused as an associate of the lowest class of people.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 23 Feb 1935 75
(Before Judge Thomson.)
Crown Prosecutor, Mr LJ McKean, KC, instructed by the Clerk of the Peace.
William Beaver, 37, engineer, was charged with having at Eastwood on November 13, falsely pretended to Mervyn West Ford that he was authorised by the Church of England to sell advertising space for the church calendar for 1935, whereby he obtained £1/1/.
Accused pleaded not guilty, and was defended by Mr Williams.
The jury returned a verdict of guilt.
A sentence of nine months’ hard labour was imposed.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Truth, Sun 24 Feb 1935 76
WILLIAM BRAUNER GOES
BACK TO PRISON
BONDI CRIME IS
Sentenced to Nine Months
ACCUSED PLEADS IGNORANCE
At the Darlinghurst Sessions last week, William Beaver, or William Brauner, was sentenced by Judge Thomson to nine months’ imprisonment for false pretences.
THIS is the same Brauner, now 37 years of age, who, with an associate, was convicted and sentenced on Nov. 27, 1926, to 10 years’ imprisonment for a revolting crime on a young woman at Bondi Junction.
BEAVER, ALIAS BRAUNER, WAS RELEASED ON LICENSE ON MAY 26 LAST AFTER SERVING APPROXIMATELY SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS IN GAOL.
Dressed in a brown suit, he appeared in the dock the embodiment of comfort and propriety, and bearing no signs whatever of his long incarceration.
The charge against Beaver, or Brauner, was that at Eastwood on November 13, 1934, he falsely pretended to Mervyn West Ford that he was authorised by the Church of England to sell advertising for the Church of England Calendar for 1935, by means of which pretence he received £1 1s.
Accused was charged in the name of Beaver only and his real identity was not disclosed till Gaol Recorder Fitzgerald mentioned his alias and his list of convictions after the jury had pronounced him guilty of the charge against him.
PAID A GUINEA
Mervyn West Ford told the Judge that the accused called at his shop in Rowe-street, Eastwood, on November 30 last, and stated he was authorised to sell advertising space in a Church of England calendar. Ford agreed to take a space indicated at a cost of £1/1/-, which he gave to Beaver.
To Beaver’s counsel (Mr T Williams), Ford admitted that he parted with his money because he wanted his name on the calendar and because of the results he expected to obtain from the publicity.
John Torr, motor mechanic, of Eastwood, declared that Beaver visited his shop and announced himself as a canvasser for advertisements on a church calendar, the price being £1 1s for large ads and 10s 6d for small. Torr took a small space and handed over 10s 6d.
“No,” he admitted with a bland smile, “I have not received the money back, nor do I expect to.”
Herbert Archinall, secretary and accountant to the Diocese of Sydney, informed the Court that the Church of England issued no calendar officially nor did it recognise any calendar printed outside its jurisdiction. The calendar produced was not a church publication.
Detective Lane, who first questioned Beaver, or Brauner, said that accused admitted having called on Ford, but denied that he had represented himself as an official of the Church of England.
“I belong to the Church of England,” he said he told Ford.
It was a fact that the calendar Beaver, or Brauner, carried had been annually published for some years, said Detective Lane to Mr Williams.
Mr Williams later confidently submitted to the judge that there was no case to answer.
Judge Thomson:: The case must go to the jury, who will consider all the circumstances.
Mr Williams: Ford admitted the only reason he took the space was because of the publicity in view.
His Honor: I decline to take the case from the jury.
In a statement from the dock Beaver, or Brauner, protested his innocence. He said he obtained the calendar from “am advertising man in Sydney.”
This man, he explained, in halting sentenced, had also shown him calendars of the Catholic and Presbyterian Churches and football clubs.
In his canvass he had made contracts for some £40, of which he received about £3 in cash. The calendar was to be published in the new year, and accused said he informed Ford that he would distribute them outside the Church of England.
“FORD,” BEAVER OR BRAUNER ADDED, “ASKED IF HE COULD HAVE 25, AND REMARKED THAT HE WOULD HAVE TO BE CAREFUL THAT HE DID NOT GIVE THEM TO ANY CATHOLICS.”
It was on Ford’s recommendation, Beaver went on, that he latter called on Torr, to whom he said he presented a card bearing the name of the printer.
“I was honest and fair and above board. I received none of the money,” he said in conclusion.
Sydney Holland, managing director of a printery at 433 Kent-street, Sydney, said Beaver had visited his establishment and asked for a quote for printing a calendar on November 13, 1934. Holland’s firm offered to do 200 for £6. None, however, was printed. Beaver’s draft was headed “Church of England Calendar—Fast days and feasts to be observed throughout the year.—Published by the Church Press.”
His Honor Are you the “Church Press”?
Mr Holland: No.
Torr recalled by the judge, emphatically denied that Beaver or Brauner had handed him a card bearing the name of the printery where the calendar was to be produced.
Summing up, his Honor emphasised that the document carried by accused was not put forward as “a mere bit of paper to be produced by a private printer, but a calender authorised and to be circulated by the church,” whereas Mr Archinall had made it clear that the church issued no such calendar.
After a retirement of 30 minutes the jury returned with its verdict, which in way ruffled accused’s calm.
The police said similar offences to the one preferred against Beaver, or Brauner, had been committed all over the suburbs and as far away as Grafton.
Detective Lane said the prisoner associated with a low class, and while awaiting trial absconded to Melbourne, where he was arrested on January 26.
“Do you say I am an undesirable character?” Beaver, or Brauner, asked the officer, in tones of child-like simplicity.
Detective Lane ignored the inquiry.
“I have been out of gaol for eight months,” Beaver, or Brauner, moaned, when Judge Thomson asked him whether he had anything to say in mitigation of sentence. “I was honest and fair and aboveboard. If I am here it is only because of my ignorance. I have just done a long sentence, and surely your Honor will not punish me twice.”
Judge Thomson: Punish you twice! You have been released on license and while on license you commit this offence. You are sentenced to 9 months imprisonment with hard labor.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 4 May 1935 77
COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEAL.
(Before the Chief Justice, Mr Justice Jordan,
Mr Justice Halse Rogers, and Mr Justice
REX v. BEAVER.
The Court dismissed the appeal of William Beaver, alias William Brauner, 32, who was sentenced at the Sydney Quarter Sessions to nine months’ imprisonment on a charge that, in November 1934, at Eastwood, he obtained £1/1 from Mervyn West Ford by falsely pretending that he was authorised by the Church of England to sell advertising space in the Church of England calendar for 1935.
The Chief Justice said the substantial issue for the jury was: Was the intent of the accused to obtain from the prosecutor money which he must have known he could not have got if the true state of the facts had been before the prosecutor. Now it was established that intent to defraud might exist, notwithstanding that the false pretence was used to support a claim which was genuine. It might be that it was open to the jury to find on the facts that there was an actual intention on the part of the accused to supply a calendar; but that was not the whole question by any means. The question was whether the accused ought to have known that he would not have obtained the money, except on his allegation that the prosecutor would have obtained, not merely the calendar, but a calendar of the particular kind which the accused held out. There was evidence on which the jury were entitled to find that that was the state of mind of the accused.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Neville Harris, Gaol photo sheet 78
Gaol Photo Sheet - Transcribed Details
Date when Portrait was taken: 30-11-1926
Name: Neville Harris
Native place: Sydney
Year of birth: 30-9-1906
Trade or occupation
Education, degree of: R & W
Height: 5' 5¼"
Weight On committal: 155
Colour of hair: Dark brown
Colour of eyes: Hazel
Marks or special features: Minus one tooth on right side of lower jaw
(No. of previous Portrait ... )
Convicted with William Brauner
Where and When
Central Criminal Court
Drive motor car dangerously.
1) Assault with intent to commit rape.
£3 or 21 days HL. Paid fine
1) 10 years PS.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
William Brauner, Gaol photo sheet 79
Gaol Photo Sheet - Transcribed Details
Date when Portrait was taken: 1-12-1926
Name: William Brauner
Native place: South Australia
Year of birth: 19-3-1898
Trade or occupation
Religion: R. C.
Education, degree of: R & W
Height: 5' 8¼"
Weight On committal: 154
Colour of hair: Brown
Colour of eyes: Hazel
Marks or special features: Wart on back left ring finger. Slight caste right eye
(No. of previous Portrait ... )
Convicted with Neville Harris
Where and When
Childrens Court, Sydney
Central Criminal Court
Drive motor car in a dangerous
No front light
Illegitimate child desertion
1) Assault with intent to commit rape
15/- or 3 days
15/- or 3 days
10/- or 7 day
20/- or 7 days
£10 or 2 months HL
Imprisoned till £151-11-6 be paid
1) 10 years PS.
1 The Daily Telegraph, Fri 31 Jan 1913, p. 7.
2 The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 31 Jan 1913, p. 3.
3 The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 1 Feb 1913, p. 11.
4 The Brisbane Courier, Wed 8 Sep 1926, p. 10.
5 The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 8 Sep 1926, p. 12.
6 The Brisbane Courier, Fri 24 Sep 1926, p. 23. Emphasis added.
7 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 3 Oct 1926, p. 13. Emphasis in original and added.
8 The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 6 Oct 1926, p. 9. Emphasis added.
9 The Brisbane Courier, Thu 7 Oct 1926, p. 10.
10 The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 7 Oct 1926, pp. 12, 13.
11 The Mercury, Fri 8 Oct 1926, p. 6.
12 The West Australian, Fri 8 Oct 1926, p. 13.
13 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 10 Oct 1926, p. 13. Emphasis in original and added.
14 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 24 Oct 1926, p. 23. Emphasis in original and added.
15 The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 25 Nov 1926, p. 8.
16 The Brisbane Courier, Fri 26 Nov 1926, p. 15.
17 The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 26 Nov 1926, p. 8.
18 The West Australian, Fri 26 Nov 1926, p. 12.
19 The Mercury, Sat 27 Nov 1926, p. 7. Emphasis added.
20 The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 27 Nov 1926, p. 14. Emphasis added.
21 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 28 Nov 1926, pp. 13, 14. Emphasis in original and added.
22 The Brisbane Courier, Mon 29 Nov 1926, pp. 12, 13.
23 The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 29 Nov 1926, p. 1.
24 The Argus, Tue 30 Nov 1926, pp. 10, 13.
25 The Mercury, Tue 30 Nov 1926, pp. 6, 8.
26 The Northern Territory Times and Gazette, Tue 30 Nov 1926, p. 6.
27 Queanbeyan Age and Queanbeyan Observer, Tue 30 Nov 1926, pp. 2, 4.
28 The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 30 Nov 1926, pp. 1, 12.
29 The West Australian, Tue 30 Nov 1926, p. 10.
30 Western Argus, Tue 30 Nov 1926, pp. 5, 16.
31 The Argus, Wed 1 Dec 1926, p. 17.
32 The Brisbane Courier, Wed 1 Dec 1926, p. 17.
33 The Mercury, Wed 1 Dec 1926, p. 9.
34 The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 1 Dec 1926, p. 10.
35 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 5 Dec 1926, pp. 13, 14. Emphasis in original and added.
36 The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon 6 Dec 1926, p. 17.
37 Western Argus, Tue 7 Dec 1926, pp. 6, 13.
38 The Brisbane Courier, Thu 9 Dec 1926, pp. 5, 12.
39 The Mercury, Thu 9 Dec 1926, p. 9.
40 The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 9 Dec 1926, p. 12.
41 The West Australian, Thu 9 Dec 1926, p. 11.
42 The Queenslander, Sat 18 Dec 1926, p. 30.
43 The Brisbane Courier, Sat 8 Jan 1927, p. 5. Emphasis added.
44 The Mercury, Sat 8 Jan 1927, p. 10.
45 The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 8 Jan 1927, p. 16.
46 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 9 Jan 1927, p. 13.
47 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 23 Feb 1930, p. 1. Emphasis in original and added.
48 The Canberra Times, Wed 19 Mar 1930, p. 1.
49 The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 19 Mar 1930, p. 13.
50 The Brisbane Courier, Thu 20 Mar 1930, p. 6.
51 The Mercury, Thu 20 Mar 1930, p. 5.
52 The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 20 Mar 1930, pp. 11, 12. Emphasis added.
53 The West Australian, Thu 20 Mar 1930, p. 16.
54 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 23 Mar 1930, p. 10. Emphasis in original and added.
55 The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 15 Apr 1930, p. 12.
56 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 13 Apr 1930, p. 17. Emphasis in original.
57 The Argus, Fri 9 May 1930, p. 8.
58 The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 9 May 1930, p. 11. Emphasis added.
59 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 11 May 1930, p. 1.
60 The Sydney Morning Herald, Wed 14 May 1930, p. 9.
61 The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 8 Jul 1930, p. 8.
62 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 13 Jul 1930, p. 21. Emphasis in original.
63 The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 26 Sep 1930, p. 12.
64 The Advertiser, Sat 8 Nov 1930, p. 6. Emphasis added.
65 The Brisbane Courier, Sat 8 Nov 1930, p. 7. Emphasis added.
66 The Canberra Times, Sat 8 Nov 1930, p. 3.
67 The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 8 Nov 1930, p. 13. Emphasis added.
68 The Sydney Morning Herald, Fri 14 Nov 1930, p. 16.
69 The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 10 Apr 1934, p. 9.
70 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 15 Apr 1934, p. 12. Emphasis in original.
71 The Sydney Morning Herald, Thu 6 Dec 1934, p. 6. Emphasis added.
72 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 18 Nov 1934, p. 1.
73 The Sydney Morning Herald, Tue 5 Feb 1935, p. 6.
74 The Canberra Times, Sat 23 Feb 1935, p. 1.
75 The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 23 Feb 1935, p. 12.
76 Truth, (Syd, NSW), Sun 24 Feb 1935, p. 15. Emphasis in original and added.
77 The Sydney Morning Herald, Sat 4 May 1935, p. 12.
78 SRNSW: NRS2467, [3/6118], State Penitentiary photographic description book, 19 Nov 1926-5 May 1927, No. 21963, p. –. Emphasis added.
79 SRNSW: NRS2467, [3/6118], State Penitentiary photographic description book, 19 Nov 1926-5 May 1927, No. 21967, p. –. Emphasis added.