A nasty experience for young Elizabeth Mason of Myer’s Creek
|EAGLEHAWK POLICE COURT. (1858, November 23).
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 2.,
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Tuesday 23 November 1858, page 2
EAGLEHAWK POLICE COURT.
Monday, 22nd November, 1858.
(Before Messrs. L McLachlan, P.M., and
J. Ganley, J.P.)
THE EFFECTS OF THE BOTTLE-John Williams, who has been detained for some time on remand, having been suffering from delirium tremens, the result of his excesses, was cautioned and discharged.
CRIMINAL ASSAULT.- Duncan Robinson, alias McCullum, was brought up on remand charged with feloniously and criminally assaulting one Elizabeth Mason, at Myers’ Flat, on the 17th instant.
Mr. O’Loughlin appeared for the defence. The Court having been cleared,
Elizabeth Mason who is a rather good-looking-girl of about fourteen years of age, but with a peculiar look of slyness and cunning in her physiognomy-deposed that she was the daughter of Peter Mason, a dairyman at Myers’ Creek. Knows the prisoner; on Wednesday morning last, between nine and ten o’clock, prosecutrix was selling milk at Pegleg Gully; was at the tent of a man named Henry, who is living with, or is the husband of Christina Robinson (the sister of the prisoner). The prisoner and another man were sitting in the tent at the time. On leaving, the woman told her to call back at dinner-time for the money. On leaving and going to Sailor’s Gully, there was no one with her. On returning from Sailor’s Gully, between 11 and 12 o’clock, the prosecutrix again called at the tent of the prisoner’s sister to get payment for the milk, she had sold her in the morning. On looking into the tent, she saw the woman lying on the floor. Saw the prisoner come round the corner of the tent, told prosecutrix to go inside the tent, which she refused to do. There was another man with the prisoner.
[The husband of a female witness was found to be tampering with the witness, and endeavoring to drive her off by threats. He was immediately consigned to the logs.]
Prosecutrix then went away towards home. The prisoner came after her and said, ” Come here; I want to speak to you.” Prosecutrix then ran away. The prisoner followed, and caught her about half way between the tent and the schoolhouse. He seized hold of the prosecutrix, who pushed him, and he fell over a stone. The prisoner again got up and followed the prosecutrix, and laid hold of her again. Witness screamed and said to prisoner that she would tell Henry. Prisoner said, ” Will you tell lies upon me:” Prosecutrix was thrown down on her knees. She screamed “Murder,” and said, ” I’ll tell my father.” Prisoner threatened to kill her ” if she told any more lies on him to her father.” She then pushed him off and ran away. After running some distance, the prisoner caught her and stopped her, and prevented her from going into the school-house by saying that he would take her home. Prosecutrix again screamed “Murder!” she called out also, “Mrs. Enright,” and the woman came and drove the prisoner off. She said to him, “What are you doing to the girl ?” Prisoner said “I am driving her home to her father.” Mrs. Enright said to him. .’ Go away, or I’ll break your head ! ” Mr. Enright then took the witness to the tent of a woman named Marshall, and afterwards went to Mrs. Enright’s tent. The prosecutrix, after waiting a few minutes, left for home, and on her road, about half way home, on a bush road, met the prisoner, and another man (John Hunt). The prosecutrix endeavored to reach a tent belonging to Mrs. Richter; the prisoner ran after her, Hunt being left behind; the prosecutrix then picked up a large stone and ran away, the prisoner following; overtook her, and pulled her bonnet or hat off, breaking the ties in doing so; he then seized her, drew the shawl which she was wearing over her head, struck her, and kicked her; she then fell on the ground. [The remainder of the evidence, which is unfit for publication, fully substantiated the capital charge.] Immediately on arriving at home she informed her mother and father of what had occurred.
In answer to the questions of Mr. O’Loughlin she stated that she had on one occasion run away from home, and gone to Barker’s Creek ; that was about three months since ; her friends found her at a public-house. Nothing of any further consequence was elicited.
By the Bench : When she went to Barker’s Creek, she went alone ; she took with her 10s., which she took from a shelf; she went to the Barker’s Creek Hotel to nurse the baby at 10s. per week ; on the second night her mother came for her, and she returned with her; why she left her father’s house was because her father had threatened to beat her for “something.” [After a great deal of pressing and threatening with the pains of’ imprisonment for contumely, the witness admitted that the ” something” was telling lies.] She had been in the colony about a twelvemonth; she came from Cupar, in Fifeshire.
Mary Enright, a widow, residing in Dead Horse Flat, deposed that on the day referred to she saw the prisoner and the prosecutrix together near the road in Pegleg Gully; heard the prisoner say to the girl, ” go on;” heard the girl give the prisoner a stiff answer ; witness gave the prisoner a blowing up. After a long course of malingering, fencing, and prevarication, the threat from the Bench of twenty-four hours imprisonment, brought her to her senses, and she further deposed to a conversation with the prisoner, in which she asked what was he doing with the girl? He said that was nothing to the witness. She said that he should not use the girl so, and chucked a stone at the prisoner, because she saw him handling the girl; witness took the girl home and gave her a drink; she was not crying.
Maria Falcon Egan deposed that she knew the prisoner and the prosecutrix; on Wednesday she heard the cries of a girl in the bush, it was a cry of lamentation, not of murder, and afterwards saw a man pushing the prosecutrix about; she could not with certainty identify the prisoner as that man ; she eventually swore to the prisoner as being the man; the girl came down about five minutes afterwards with Mrs. Enright; the girl had been crying; told witness that a man had been pulling her through the bush, and had asked her to go home with him; a little girl, named Dolly Wright, came and told the prosecutrix that two men were watching for her; Mrs. Enright promised to see the girl safe home, and prosecutrix and she went together.
The case was at this stage remanded till Thursday, for the production of the witness Dolly Wright.
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Friday 26 November 1858, page 3
EAGLEHAWK POLICE COURT.
Thursday, 25th November, 1858.
(Before Mr. L. M’Lachlan, P.M.)
DRUNKENNESS.—Two persons were fined five shillings each on this charge ; and another, who pleaded that the heat of the weather on Monday last had made his head bad, was fined one shilling.
RAPE —Duncan Robertson, who had been remanded from Monday on a charge of criminally assaulting Elizabeth Mason, was again brought up. Mr. O’Loughlin defended the prisoner. The following additional evidence for the prosecution was taken,
Janet Ann Wright, a little girl ten years of age, deposed that on a day last week (witness could not recollect distinctly which day) she was near Mrs. Falcon Egan’s house, in Pegleg Gully, when she saw the prisoner chasing the prosecutrix amongst the bushes, and push her down. She saw Mrs. Enwright (another witness) take up a stone, and throwing it at him tell him to let the girl alone. He answered that she had nothing to do with the girl.
Eleanor Marshall deposed that she was in her own tent with Mrs. Egan 0n Wednesday week last, when hearing an unusual noise outside the tent they went to the door, and saw the prisoner darting past through the bushes. Shortly afterwards Mrs. Enwright and the prosecutrix came into the tent. She appeared as if she had been crying.
Margaret Mason, the mother of the prosecutrix, deposed that she left the house on the morning of Wednesday week last, shortly after six o’clock, to go to Pegleg Gully with some milk, which she was in the habit of taking round to the customers. When she returned, about twelve o’clock, sha was greatly agitated and crying. From information which her daughter communicated to her, witness examined prosecutrix, and found indications of her having been violently abused. She did not take her to a medical man that day.
Dr. Sorley deposed that ho examined the prosecutrix on Thursday, tho 18th inst., but found no particular marks of violence. The prosecutrix had arrived at the age of womanhood six months since. He was of opinion that the chastity of the prosecutrix had been violated previously, There were no indications of recent violence.
Senior Constable A’Hern, stationed at Myer’s Flat, stated that when he took the prisoner into custody, at Fletcher’s Creek, he resisted in a violent manner, and it was only with the assistance of another constable that ha was secured and conveyed in a spring-cart to Myer’s Flat Police Station.
The prisoner, who reserved his defence, was committed for trial at the next Circuit Court.
|CIRCUIT COURT. (1859, March 11).
Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3.,
Duncan Robinson was informed against for having criminally assaulted Elizabeth Mason, on the 17th November.
Mr. O’Loughlin appeared for the prisoner.
The counsel for the Crown, in opening the case, said that they had been unable to obtain the presence of one of the witnesses for the prosecution (Mrs. Enwrigbt.) They had subpoenaed her, but she could not be found. After stating the case, he called Elizabeth Mason, the prosecutrix, a girl about 14 years of age, who deposed that she lived with her father at Myers Creek, who was a dairyman.
On the day mentioned in her information she went to the tent of a Mrs. Henry, where the prisoner’s
sister stopped. When she returned to Mrs. Henry’s, about twelve o’clock, to get paid for the milk she had left in the morning, and was leaving, the prisoner came round from the back, and after
asking her to go inside the tent, and on her refusing he followed her. She walked away fast, and he overtook her and laid his hand on her shoulder.
She told him to let her alone, or she would tell his brother-in-law. He threatened to knock her head off if she did. He would not let her go, and she gave him a knock and pushed him away, when he fell. She ran away, and prisoner ran after her, and again overtook her. She called out to a Mrs. Enwright, whom she saw. and she coming up, took up a stone, and throwing it at prisoner, told him to let her (prosecutrix)
alone. She went to Mrs. Enwright’s tent, and after staying about ten minutes she left, and again saw the prisoner, who again ran after her, and overtaking her committed the criminal assault upon her. This was in a place between her father’s place and Dead Horse Flat.
By His Honor : No one had ever used her in a similar manner before this occurrence.
Cross-examined by Mr. O’Loughlin : A man named John Hunt was with prisoner when she met him the second time. [The prosecutrix was submitted to a searching cross-examination, in order to show compliance on her part, which she, however, denied.] She had once ran away from home, and gone to Barker’s Creek. She did so because her father threatened to beat her. It was not for telling lies.
The depositions of the prosecutrix were read, but did not show any very material discrepancy with her present testimony, except that on that occasion she stated to the Bench that her father had threatened to beat her for telling lies, which was the cause of her running away.
His Honor remarked that the depositions were taken in the most careless manner possible, as were all that came before him In that Court.
There was no telling by them what a witness did say.
By a Juror: She did not leave her father’s house four months ago, and take shelter in a farm house near Bullock Creek.
The Juror wished a witness sent for, who would prove that she was not telling the truth in this instance. The witness was accordingly sent for.
Mary Falcon Egan deposed that she saw the prisoner running after, the girl and knock her down amongst the bushes. She was standing at her tent door
By Mr. O’Louglilin: She had never seen the prisoner before that occasion. She was rather short-sighted, but she had a glass which she used on that occasion.
Janet Ann Wright, a girl ten years of age, who was with the prosecutrix when they first met the prisoner, stated she saw him chasing prosecutrix through tile bushes. She saw Mrs. Enwright throw a stone at prisoner for running after the prosecutrix.
Margaret Mason, the mother of the girl, deposed to having examined the prosecutrix, in consequence of a complaint she made on her return home, and finding indications of her having been treated with great violence.
Dr. Sorley, of Eaglehawk, who examined the girl on the 18th of November last, gave medical testimony to the effect that if the criminal assault had been committed, it was not accompanied with violence. With a girl of that age, the assault might have been committed without leaving any traces of violence.
James Shine (the witness spoken of by the juror), was called, and, on the prosecutrix appearing, he stated that he believed the girl, whom himself and wife had sheltered about four months ago at Bullock Creek, wa3 tho same. He could not, however, swear to it. She stated then that her name was Mason, and that her father kept cows, and lived at Myer’s Creek. They sheltered her for a week.
The prosecutrix, in answer to His Honor, denied ever having seen the witness.
This was the case for the prosecution.
Mr. O’Loughlin having addressed the jury for the defence, called John Hunt (at present under sentence for a robbery committed in company with the prisoner on the same day as that on which the present alleged offence was committed), deposed that when they met the prosecutrix, prisoner, after enquiring of her if she was going home, asked her to give him a kiss, but added, that he supposed she would be telling her father. She replied, that
there was no b-y fear; she was not that b-y flat. He was in company with prisoner all day, and saw nothing of the offence sworn to.
The Crown Prosecutor replied at considerable length; and His Honor having summed up, the jury, after an absence of about twenty minutes, returned a verdict of guilty.
Sentence of death was recorded; His Honor stating that, while his life would be spared, he would confer with the Executive Government, as to the amount of punishment his crime should receive.