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The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, 14 June 1889, p.3
(From our own correspondent.)
By Electric Telegraph.
A Criminal Sittings of the Supreme Court was opened this morning, before His Honor Mr Justice Dodds, the Solicitor-General (the Hon A. Dobson) prosecuting for the Crown.
Charles Burr aged 16, was charged with having, at the Forth, on April 11 last, feloniously committed a criminal assault on Florence Mary Hayes, and Thomas Parish aged 20, was charged with having aided and abetted him.
The prisoners pleaded not guilty, Burr being defended by Mr C.P. Frodsham, and Parish by Mr R.B. Miller. The following jury was empanelled: H. Yeates (foreman), J. Small, R.T. Hall, J. Stretton, M. Maloney, J. Higgs, jun., T. James, W.G. Beale, J. Galvin, B.J. Lamb, A.A. Phillips.
Florence Mary Hayes deposed that on April 11 she was returning home from her uncle's in company with her cousin Emily Hayes. On the way they passed the prisoner and another man sitting on the roadside. Her cousin's brother joined them a little further on, and subsequently left with his sister, and witness went on alone. A short time after they had left the prisoners caught her up, and asked her where they could get work. She told them of a place, and then walked on. They came up again afterwards, and committed the assault complained of.
Emily Jane Hayes deposed she was cousin to the last witness and identified prisoners and Ewart as three men she passed on the road.
The medical evidence showed that a violent assault had been committed.
Counsel having addressed the jury, and His Honor having summed up, the jury, after a short retirement, brought in a verdict of guilty against each prisoner, with a recommendation to mercy on account of their youth. Their ages having been proved, His Honor addressed the prisoners, reminding Burr that, in September last year, he had been charged before him with a similar offence, but a jury, whom he considered had acted very leniently, had acquitted him. He, the judge, had given him a very strong warning before discharging him, and now found him convicted of the most aggravated form of the offence. Three years ago he would have had to pass sentence of death on him, and though the law was now altered, the prisoner was liable to imprisonment for life, but taking into consideration the recommendation of the jury, he would pass what he thought was a light sentence on him. He ordered him to be imprisoned for five years, and to be whipped with a cane, to receive 15 lashes to morrow, and 15 in six months. Parish he sentenced to four years' imprisonment.
The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, 15 June 1889, p.3
(From our own correspondent.)
By Electric Telegraph.
No subject has been a more universal source of criticism than the sentence passed yesterday by Mr. Justice Dodds on the boy Burr for an offence quite as bad in its details as the Mount Rennie case. Nearly everybody condemns His Honor's leniency in passing so light a sentence. It seemed, certainly, to have one point in it which made people fancy that the short period of imprisonment would be compensated in some measure, namely, the addition of two whippings, but now that one has been administered they are not at all satisfied that the ends of justice have been satisfied. In the first place it is objected that so serious an offence has no right to be brought under the Juvenile Offenders' Act, which allows the whipping of criminals under 19 years old, and, in the next place, now that people have learned what an utter farce the whipping is, they are doubly dissatisfied that the boy did not get 10 or 15 years imprisonment.
The first whipping took place this morning in the presence of the Governor of the Gaol, Mr. A. Jones, the two visiting justices, Hon. I Rooke and Mr. R. Irvine, and representatives of the Press. The boy was brought out, and in the absence of triangles, tied to a door leaning against the wall of the yard outside his cell. Three or four so-called canes were exhibited, and Mr. Jones selected one for the warder to administer a caning with. These canes were such as all ordinary schoolmasters would throw in a rubbish heap as no good, and the caning was a long way from being as severe as most schoolboys have to go through for making a false quantity or committing other similar offences. Barr was stripped below the waist and 15 strokes laid on with a cane without any spring in it. He will probably be a little uncomfortable till tomorrow morning, but it was evident that the pain inflicted was very slight -- in fact he seemed rather amused at it, while everybody in town is disgusted at his getting off so lightly.
After this comes Mr. Justice Dodds' sentence on Roydon Keith of imprisonment for life. As he remarked in passing sentence, the Judge had no discretion under the clause on which the charge is laid, but was bound to pass a sentence of life imprisonment, and a good many remarks have been made since that, it was a great pity he had any power of exercising his discretion in the other case. However, one point has been brought to light by his sentence, and that is, that under 39 Vic No. 6, section 2, not only the judges of the Supreme Court, but the Police Magistrates of Hobart and Launceston, have power to inflict whippings with a cane, a birch, or a strap, on juvenile offenders in cases of assault, obscene language, or disturbances of the peace, and possibly it may have some deterrent effect on larrikinism in general.
Follow-up: 8 July 1889 - The Whipping of Prisoner Burr.
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