Transcript:Bendigo Advertiser/vXIn2852p3


Friday, 15th July.
(Before His Honor Chief Justice Stawell.)
Mr Smythe prosecuted on behalf of the Crown.

P. Bakey, Bridget Bakey, C. Balderstone, Maria Balderstone, and B. Killin, pleaded not guilty to a charge of burglariously entering the store of John McWilliams, Red Jacket, on 2nd May last, and taking a quantity of goods of the value of L40 therefrom.
Mr Clarke appeared on behalf of the prisoners. The case has already been fully reported in these columns on two occasions. It was brought before His Honor Judge Skinner, at the last General Sessions, and discharged, as the evidence tended to a capital offence, inasmuch as M'Williams was beaten senseless during the burglary. The jury were discharged, and the prisoners, immediately on getting outside the Court, were re-apprehended, again brought up at the Eaglehawk Police Court, when the evidence against them was retaken, and they were committed to take their trial at the Circuit Court.
The evidence of M'Williams, a Maori, was given in the Maori language, which Mr L. M'lachlan, who was sent for, translated, and was to the effect that on the night of the robbery, the 2nd May, a good deal of drinking of beer bad been going on at his place, but about eleven o'clock he had retired to rest with his housekeeper, a woman named Mother Irons, and was disturbed by violent blow on the door, He got up to open the door and when he lifted the latch, it was burst in, and he was pulled out by the hair of the head, and beaten senseless. He lay in this state for twenty minutes, during which time a complete clearance of the things in the store was made, to the value of L40. A bowl produced he identified as his from a crack in it, it had been found in the tent of one of the prisoners.
Mother Irons gave evidence in a contradictory manner. She said she did not see the things taken away, as she was attending to M'Williams. The prisoners, however, were all at the store at the time.
Anthony Pius, an East Indian, proved that, after the robbery, the prisoner Balderstone told him he had taken a hammer and a knife. The witness handed a paper to His Honor, setting forth that he was in danger of his life if he gave evidence.
Mr Clarke addressed the jury for the defence, and characterised tho whole affair as a drunken row, and a most improbable story on the part of M'Williams, as regarded the robbery.
Bell, a minor, said he was in the store on Monday morning, about ten o'clock: (the robbery was said to have taken place on Monday night), and he saw nothing in it but beer barrels and a few glasses. The beer was running over the floor like sludge from a puddling machine. On the Sunday night the store was crowded with people coming and going.
Two other witnesses corroborated this evidence.

His Honor said it was a most unusual thing for women to be engaged in a burglary, and looking at the evidence, it seemed more of a violent assault than anything else. It was most extraordinary that the prisoners, intimate friends of M'Williams's should have acted as he stated. The evidence of the woman Irons was not reliable, and the other witnesses for the defence had given their evidence in an apparently plain and simple manner. To him it appeared a trumped up charge of the Maori, but the jury could decide for themselves.

After a few minutes' consultation, the jury gave a verdict of not guilty, and the prisoners were discharged.