ROMA DISTRICT COURT.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.)
BEFORE His Honor Judge Blakeney
The following members of the bar were pre- sent -Messrs Pring, Q C , Paul, and Hely; attorney, Mr C J Blakeney.
REGINA V REDFORD
Henry Redford was indicted that he, in the month of Maroh, 1870, at Bowen Downs station, in this colony, 100 bullocks, 100 cows, 100 heifers, 100 steers, and 1 bull, the property of Messrs. Morehead and Young, feloniously did steal, take, and carry away, and in a second count for receiving the same knowing them to be stolen.
Messrs. Pring, Q C , and Hely prosecuted on behalf of the Crown , and Mr Paul, instructed
bv Mr C J Blakeney, defended the prisoner.
Some difficulty was experienced in obtaining a jury. Out of a panel of forty eight jurors a large number were objected to, both on behalf of the Crown and the prisoner, and when the panel was exhaustod only seven jurors were in
The counsel for the prisoner then requested the Judge to order the officer of the Court to return to the ballot box the names of all the jurors who had been objected to both by the Crown and the prisoner, and he claimed to be entitled, on the prisoner's behalf, to a per- emptory challenge anew to the extent allowed by law amongst those jurors whose names were thus returned to the box, irrespective of the twelve already challenged by him on prisoner's behalf when the panel was first called over.
The JUDGE said that he was bound to follow strictly the statute law on the subject, and in matters not provided for in the colonial Act he should be guided by the practice of the English Courts, under these circumstances, he ruled that only the names of those jurors who were put aside by the Crown should be returned to the ballot box, and that he should confine the pri-
soner to the challenges already made by him through his counsel, which were the full number allowed by the Act.
To this ruling, Mr PAUL strenuously objected, and at his request His HONOR reserved the point for the opinion of the Supreme Court, observing at the same time that, if his ruling was wrong, Mr Paul's client could have the benefit of a mistrial.
Mr. PRING made an able statement of the case to the jury at great length.
The first witness called was William Butler, who proved that he was cattle overseer on the Bowen Downs station from 1867 to the present time, that in the month of November, 1867, he was sent by his employers, Messrs. More- head and Young, to Gracemore Station, near Rockhampton, to select and purchase one or more bulls ; he selected one, a very valuable imported bull, of pure white color, branded A on the near and off rump; when he selected the bull above mentioned he placed an addi- tional brand on him - namely, S on the loin ; the bull outside the Court was the animal he bought at that time, he could not be mistaken as to his identity, irrespective of any brands which appeared on him ; he is a very remark- able beast; he (Butler) started this bull for Bowen Downs station, where he arrived safely, and he (Butler) saw him on the station men- tioned several times during the years 1867 and 1868; during the months of March, April, and part of May, 1868, a muster of the cattle was made on that part of Bowen Downs where the bull was kept, and about one thousand head of cattle, together with the bull in question, were at that time missed from the station, the next time he saw the bull was in South Australia, about 1000 miles distant from the place where he had been missed, it was at a placed called Streletzski Creek , he was in the possession of a person named Allan Walke ; he, Walke, told witness that he had purchased the bull with two cows from a man who gave his name as Henry Collins, there were with Collins at the time two other men whom he (Walke) knew to be named Doudney and Brooke ; Walke then produced to witness a document which he said was the receipt given to him by Collins for the purchase of the cattle, and which document he, witness, then produced
before the Court.
Mr PAUL closely cross-examined Butler as to the identity of the bull, but without in the least shaking his evidence-in-chief.
John Vernon was the next witness, and he deposed that he was stockman on the Bowen Downs run in 1867, and that he knew the bull outside the Court well, and could identify him amongst a thousand irrespective of his brands, as the animal was a remarkable beast and was in his charge from the time he came on the sta- tion up to the year 1869, when he disappeared. The next time he saw him after he was missed was in South Australia, in 1871, where he, wit- ness, in company with Butler, found the beast in Walke's possession. The moment he saw the
bull he knew him.
This witness was also sharply cross-examined as to the identity of the bull, but he most em- phatically declared that it was impossible that
he could be mistaken.
James M'Pherson was then called, who proved that in 1869 he knew the prisoner well, and that he was always known in this colony as Henry Redford. Witness, in company with Redford, and three other men, named McKenzie, Doudney, and Brooke, were on Bowen Downs station in the year 1870, in charge of drays and horses belonging to a man named Forrester; they all went twenty five miles up the Thom- son River, and there built cattle yards ; when the yards were completed, he, with the others, mustered a large number of the Bowen Downs cattle, and filled the yards with them ; the cattle were afterwards drafted off in mobs of two or three hundred at a time to Forrester's camp ; the white bull outside the Court was amongst the cattle taken at that time, the object
being that he would keep the cows and heifers quiet, of which there were a large number in the mob; ultimately the whole of the cattle were driven off by Redford, McKenzie, and Brooke, towards the Southern colonies.
Mr. Paul's examination of this witness occa- sioned some amusement. The witness stated that he was not a cattle stealer, although he might have stolen some, though not to his knowledge. He admitted that he was charged with the offence of stealing those very cattle from Bowen Downs ; that he was committed for trial and arraigned, pleaded not guilty, and was discharged on the ground of insanity ; that he was sent to Brisbane as a lunatic, and escaped from the Reception house at that place. He also stated that he was re-arrested at Armidale, in New South Wales, and was brought up to to this Court to give evidence against the prisoner, under a promise of a free pardon if he gave fair evidence at the trial ; that he was there trusting to the honor of the authorities respecting the free pardon to be granted to him.
The next witness was John Craigie, a drover on tho Bowen Downs station, who identified the bull outside the Court as the animal brought to that run from Rockhampton in the year 1867. Witness was amongst the party sent to Adelaide in search of the missing cattle. He (witness) met the prisoner Redford in that city ; he was then passing as Henry Collins. He knew him previously in Queensland, and never heard him called anything but Henry Redford.
Allan Walke proved that he lived in South Australia, at a place called Wallelderdine ; he knew the prisoner, and first saw, him at Streletzski Creek in that colony about June, 1870 ; two mon were with prisoner at the time he first saw him, whom he (witnoss) knew previously ; they were named Doudney and Brooke ; they had a large number of cattle with them; he and his brother kept a general store at Streletzski Creek, and the prisoner, at the time mentioned, with his mates, came there to purchase clothes and stores ; after selecting what articles they re- quired, they proposed to sell witness two cows, branded LC ; he agreed to purohase the animals
provided they would also dispose of a bull they had in their mob ; [the bull outside the Court was the animal he alluded to] ; to this the pri- soner and his mates consented; before com- pleting the purchase witness asked who the cattle belonged to, and prisoner replied that they belonged to himself, in conjunction with his brother who owned a station in an adjoin- ing colony; he gave his name as Henrv Collins ; witness' brother then drew up a receipt, which the prisoner signed ; the document before the
Court is the receipt mentioned ; he (witness) had no doubt whatever as to the prisoner being the man who sold him the cattle and signed the receipt, as he remained at his (witness') place, for some days afterwards ; the bull he then pur- chased remained in his possession for over three months until delivered to the authorities, having been identified by Messrs. Butler und Vernon, and claimed as the property of Messrs. More- head and Young, the owners of Bowen Downs station in this colony ; the next time he saw the animal was at Mount Beagle station, near Roma, about 2000 miles from Adelaide, where he identified him amongst seventy other bulls, a great many of whom were of the same color -
Mr. Boyde Morehead proved that he was manager of Bowen Downs station from October,
1866, to June, 1868; that he knew the bull outside the Court to be the property of the owners of that station, and that he never sold the animal to any person, or authorised any other person to sell him.
Mr. Lukin, tho Police Magistrate at Roma, produced the recognisance of bail signed by the prisoner as "Henry Redford," m his presence.
Mr. J K Cannan was examined as an expert, and gave it as his opinion that the signatures " Henry Redford" to the recognisance and " Henry Collins" to the receipt given to Walker, were written by the same person.
A witness named Buch proved that for many years the prisoner was known about Tambo, the Thomson, and Bowen Downs, as Henry Redford.
The prisoner produced no witness.
Mr Pring then summed up on behalf of the Crown in a very lucid and forcible manner.
Mr PAUL addressed the jury and pointed out the many weak points in the case, and was par- ticular in drawing attention to the evidence of the witness McPherson, who he designated as an approver seeking to escape the penalties of
his own crimes, by giving evidence to convict his quondam mate. He argued that the Court
should, under the circumstances, direct the jury to dismiss from their minds altogether the evi- dence given by the lunatic, or pretended luna- tic, as being utterly unworthy of credit. He also pointed out the hardships his client had to endure for a period
of twelve months since his arrest, during which time he was kept a close prisoner, and absolutely refused bail until an order had to be obtained
from the Supreme Court for that purpose. His remarks occupied over an hour, and were listened to with marked attention by the jury.
The JUDGE observed that he trusted that the jury would not be led away by the specious although clever address of the counsel for the prisoner; and that they would dismiss from their minds the hardships said to have been en- dured by the prisoner, no doubt placed before them with a view to making him a martyr. They should bear in mind the truth of circum- stances which had been proved respecting the prisoner. He is found, at the period when this extensive robbery of cattle took place, on the Thomson, the locality from which the cattle were missed. He is shortly afterwards found in South Australia, more than 1000 miles from the scene of the robbery, next in the City of Adelaide, under a false name. He is next found in the colony of New South Wales, where he is arrested and brought to Blackall, in this colony. To prove the case against him it was necessary to have the bull and the person who purchased him brought from South Australia, which unavoidably caused great delay in hearing the case. So much for the hardships endured by the prisoner. He next would submit that, supposing thet the jury accepted Mr Paul's recommendation, and gave no credence to McPherson, yet the case was plain against the prisoner. The bull had been identified beyond all question as the property of Messrs. Morehead and Young; it is also iden- tified as being the one sold by the prisoner to Mr. Walke, and the evidence of that gentleman could leave no doubt on any reasonable mind that the prisoner at the bar and the person who sold that animal in South Australia were one and the same person. He would, with those re- marks, request them to consider their verdict.
The jury retired to consider their verdict at 9 o'clock, and returned to Court about 10 with a verdict of " Not guilty."
The prisoner was discharged
This case lasted the whole day, from 9am to 10 p m. The Court was crowded in every part, and much surprise was evinced at the verdict, in which the Judge joined ; and, after having requested the foreman to repeat it, ob- served, "'Thank God, gentlemen, that verdict is yours, not mine." The costs of the witnesses in this case, I am informed, were over £600.