The Argus at KellyGang 5/11/1872

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(full text transcription)


(Abridged prom the Ovens and Murray Advertiser, Nov. 2)


At half-past 9 o'clock on Friday, the Beechworth Police Court was opened, and the proceedings in the Wooragee murder case continued. James Smith, William Heppannstein, and Thomas Brady, on remand, were brought up charged with the wilful murder of John Watt, at Woorogee. Mr Superintendent Barclay conducted the prosecution.

A large number of witnesses were examined, and shortly before 1 o’clock the case for the prosecution closed, the prisoners being remanded until the charge of robbery under arms preferred against them had been dealt with. The court having adjourned for half an hour, on resuming, all three prisoners were placed in the dock, charged with robbery under arms. Before the case was gone into, and while the prisoners were in the dock, a canister containing shot was quietly placed on the barristers' table. This was taken up, as if inadvertently, by Mr Superintendent Barclay, and shaken in full view of the prisoners. The effect was electrical. Smith's jaw dropped, and his whole frame became convulsed; for a few seconds, he literally gasped, as if unable to breathe, his chest rising and falling so strongly as to be perceptible to the eye at a considerable distance. After an apparently violent struggle, he succeeded in regaining his composure. Both the other prisoners, Heppannstein and Brady, were visibly affected by the sight of the canister, but not to the same extent as Smith.

Sergeant Baber, stationed at Beechworth, deposed, - On the morning of the 17th October was prosecuting search in this case. About half-past 7 in the morning, in company with William Jarvis and Constable Mullane, I went to last witness's place. In consequence of something last witness said, went to a creek crossing about 150 yards above her residence. At the creek I saw the track of two unshod horses descending from the old Sydney-road. The tracks were traced across the creek towards a gap in the opposite range. From time to time these tracks were found through the ranges tending towards Rats' Castle - a large flat surrounded by ranges. Traced these tracks to a deserted hut and sawpit, from which they again led off; the tracks seemed to lead into what is known as the Watchbox. After getting through the ranges on to the flats, passed through several mobs of horses, and lost the tracks. Could say with certainty that the tracks were seen for about three miles.

Arthur Jessop, a sharp little boy, deposed, - I live with my father and mother, near Chiltern. On Wednesday morning about a fortnight ago, I was sitting in the verandah after having lighted the fire. I noticed two men on horseback; one was on a little bay horse, and the other on a black horse. They were galloping very fast towards Chiltern. Have seen the horses since in Brady's paddock. Went to Brady's paddock in company with Superintendent Barclay, Defective Christie, and Constable Ward one day last week. I think there were seven horses in the paddock. I picked out the horses I saw the men riding from amongst the seven. There were other horses like the black horse amongst the seven. Before I went to the paddock I described the horses to the constable. The horses that I picked out in the paddock are I am positive the same that I saw the men riding. I have seen some horses outside the court; they are the same horses.

To the Police Magistrate. - I think it was about 6 o'clock in the morning when I saw the men. Noticed the horses, but did not notice the men.

Peter Brady, father of the prisoner Thomas Brady, a man apparently between 70 and 80 years of age, deposed, - I live at the Skeleton Creek, on the Chiltern road. I know the three prisoners. They were at my place on Monday fortnight. They left my place in company that day sometime in the afternoon to go to their work. They took horses and waggon with them. Next saw them on Wednesday morning, about 8 or 9 o'clock . It might have been earlier: I could not tell, as I don't rise very early. When I got up I found them there. Have seen the two horses outside the court. The black horse belongs to Smith, the bay or brown mare to my son Thomas. The brown mare was in the paddock. The horses outside the court are not those they rode home on Wednesday morning. Could not speak positively, as I was not out when they came home. I know the horses that they took away in the waggon. All the prisoners came home on Wednesday morning. No one but myself slept at the place on Tuesday night.


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