The Avenal Case.
[ACCUSED BEFORE THE COURT
At the Police Court on Tuesday before Mr S. E. McCarthy, S.M., Robert Gillespie and Archibald Norton iwere charged on the information of the police with having on 24th May assaulted James McNeilage, by striking Mm on the head. Mr W. Macalister, who appeared for the defendant, said that he had been instructed to frankly admit that the young men struck McNeilage. An impression had been created at the time of the assault that the defend ants had wantonly attacked McNeilage as he was returning home. This was not the true position. Indeed, it might be said with fairness that •McNeilage was very largely to blame for what had happened, and the whole lot of them should have been summoned for a breach of the peace. It appeared that on the day in question the young fellows, in company with two others who lived in Avenal, had been having some liquor. About 10 or 11 o’clock Gillespie and Norton had gone to a house where McNeilage was, and gone round to the back of the house to look for their friends. There was no suggest;tion that the men were doing anything wrong, but McNeilage, who apparently thought otherwise, forcibly ejected them, and handled them very roughly. Mr Macalister stated that his instructions were that Mr McNeil age was at that time the woise for liquor. The assault complained of took place some time afterwards, when McNeilage passed the two accused, who were at the time engaged in washing the mud from their clothes at the town pump at Avenak After some words had passed between them a fair fight ensued between Gillespie and McNeilage. Norton and a young man who accompanied McNeilage, stood off and allowed the fight to proceed fairly. On the face of it no injustice was done to McNeilage, who was a man who prided himself on being able to fight well. After fighting for some time, McNeilage, finding himself getting worsted, drew a bottle from his pocket and struck ■ Gillespie on the head with it so severely as to stun him. It was then that Norton intervened, and he inflicted some punishment G n McNeilage. Counsel mentioned all the circumstances to the court, in case it might appear that these men had
wantonly assaulted McNeilage. As far as he had been able to ascertain, McNeilage appeared to be the aggressor. He would ask His Worship, in dealing with the matter, to look at the surrounding circumstances. Sergeant Mathieson stated the facts from the police point of view. The two defendants had, in company with two others, purchased and consumed two gallons of beer. Alter that, they were all more or less drunk, and while in that condition the two defendants had gone to the house where McNeilage was. At the landlady’s request he had put them out. It was true that he had handled Gillespie roughly, but the suggestion that McNeilage was drunk was incorrect. The two defendants did not see him until two hours later, and Sergeant Mathieson submitted that they had not been washing themselves, but had been lying in wait. They assailed McNeilage, who had defended himself as long as he could, but at length, when exhausted he had struck Gillespie on the head with a bottle of whisky, which had been broken at the neck by the force of the blow. It was not correct to say that Norton had stood by and allowed McNeilage to have fair play. As a matter of fact, he had been held back by McNeilage’s friend, and had rushed in whenever he could free hims#lf. After McNeilage struck Gillespie he was exhausted, and unable to defend himself. Then Norton had struck him, and inflicted very severe injuries, and after pounding him into unconsciousness had thrown him aside and left him to his fate.
The magistrate commenced to sum up, stating that it was a very serious matter to enter anyone’s house without permission. Mr Macalister said he couldn’t admit that they entered the house at all, and could bring an independent witness to prove it. Sergeant Mathieson said that he had evidence to show that accused entered the house, but Mr McCarthy thought it better to adjourn the c a se till Monday next, and go into all the evidence. Mr Macalister submitted that a s they had admitted the assault the only question to be considered was whether they entered the house or not. The case was adjourned till Monday next, when evidence on both sides will be taken. It has since been decided to take the case on Tuesday, as several other cases have been set down for hearing on Monday.
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The Avenal Case., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 10, 22 June 1907
The Avenal Case. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 10, 22 June 1907
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