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Judicial CP - September 1939

Corpun file 23533 at

The Advertiser, Adelaide, 6 September 1939, p.16

Criminal Sittings

Young Housebreaker Birched

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The cases of five men and a youth were before the Chief Justice (Sir George Murray), in the Supreme Court. yesterday, in continuation of the Criminal Sittings begun on Monday. After the youth, who had admitted charges of suburban housebreaking, had been birched by his father at the suggestion of his Honor, he was released under the Offenders Probation Act.

Chief Justice's Opinions

Arthur Ernest Willmott, 17, apprentice, of Cross road, Clarence Park, who admitted three charges of housebreaking, was released under a bond of £10 with a surety of £10, to be of good behaviour for 12 months, after he had been chastised by his father.

The offences were committed in company with two other youths who pleaded guilty on Monday.

After Mr. D. Menzies (for the youth) had said that there was no suitable place of detention for youths like Willmott, who had not offended before, his Honor said that it would be very much better if judges had the power to order birchings. It would have a much better effect in restraining the committing of these offences than anything else," his Honor added; "the reformatory is no place."

Ordinary releases under the Offenders Probation Act did not appear to have the desired effect. His Honor then referred to the number of youths who had been before him the previous day.

When Mr. Menzies said that the youth's father would agree to his son being birched, his Honor replied that such a punishment would mean singling out the case from others of a similar nature. After Mr. Menzies had suggested that it bore special features, his Honor said that, if the birching took place forthwith in the presence of an officer at the police station, he might consider a release. Later, Sergeant G.E. Noblet gave evidence that a "very good birching" had been carried out in his presence and Willmott was then released.


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