Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Local Legend


Two charges against a constable by his superiors were heard before the Williamstown Bench yesterday... The Bench was composed of Messrs. Woods (mayor) and Douch , J.P. The defendant was William Considine , a constable stationed in Williamstown, who was charged by Richard John Webb, inspector of police, first, with being drunk while on duty, which was an act of misconduct against the discipline of the police force; and secondly, with assaulting Senior-constable Dyer, which also was an acto of misconduct against the discipline of the force. Mr Croker appeared for the defence. The witnesses were ordered out of court.

Joseph D. Dyer, senior constable, stated that on the night of the 4th inst, he sought for Considine but could not find him. He called up Sergeant Oliver, and the two searched again and found Considine in a right of way near the Woolpack Hotel, talking to two civilians. He was not in a fit state for duty. Sergeant Oliver and witness tried to persuade him to go home. He then struck witness a heavy blow in the face. Witness threw defendant, who, as he got up, drew his handcuffs to attack witness, but he threw him again. His language was very bad. Sergeant Oliver and witness handcuffed and took him to the guard-room at the police station. On the way he was very violent, and kicked witness in the legs, and bit him.

George Oliver, police sergeant, corroborated this evidence. He had always found Considine an upright, honest constable, and very truthful. He was assaulted a few months ago by larrikins and seriously injured in the head, and since then it could be readily noticed when he had taken drink.

James Evans, constable, deposed that when Considine was in the guard-room he was "outrageous" and "wild," and several times rushed at Dyer kicking at him.

Mr Croker, addressing the Bench, said the defendant had received an injury to his brain which affected him and caused him to be irritable. It would not be denied that he acted as alleged by the witnesses, but the state of his brainled to his not being responsible for his actions.

Dr MacLean gave evidence briefly on the effect of Considine's injuries upon his temperament.

The Bench after a long deliberation, announced that it was of the opinion theere was an attempt at assault under great provocation, but there was not sufficient evidence that an assault had been committed. The case would therefore be dismissed.

The decision was received with applause in the body of the court.

Inspector Webb said he would now enter upon the charge of drunkenness while on duty.

Senior constable Dyer, Sergeant Oliver and Constable Evans gave evidence that in their opinion Considine was drunk on the occasion referred to, which was corroborated by Constable Bolger, the lock-up keeper. The Bench, after a long consultation, held that there was a doubt in the case, as the defendant was under great excitement. The benefit of the doubt was given to the defendant and the case dismissed. This announcement was received with applause.

(The Argus, 13 January 1892)


Brownie said...

Ah the good old days of Courts As Entertainment.
I can't imagine any applause at Melb Mag these days.
I came here to commend your defence of jahteh over at Larflatus Prodeo:

The civitarse guy was missing the point of jahteh's situation I think. He would make a poor barrister and you would be a brilliant one.
Best wishes to you.

Gummo Trotsky said...

Thx for the remarks re JahTeh, brownie.

As for those good old days - I think a lot of that applause was good old laughter.

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