Ovens & Murray Advertiser (8)

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full text of the article


Saturday, July 26th.

(Before Mr W H Foster,PM)


Aaron Sherritt was charged with stealing a horse the property of Mrs Margaret Byrne of Sebastopol.

Inspector A Brooke Smith conducted the prosecution, and Mr F Brown appeared for the defence.

Margaret Byrne, a dairywoman and widow, residing at Sebastopol, deposed to knowing the horse outside the court. It belonged to her son, Patrick, who was seventeen years of age. He swapped another horse for it, with her consent. The horse was in her possession while her son was away in New South Wales .The horse is a bay one, branded B on one shoulder, and B in a circle on the other shoulder. It was last in her possession about the 9th or 10th of March. It was then at her door. About two days afterwards missed the horse. Knew the accused. Valued the horse at about £4. From information received laid an information and took out a warrant against accused. Never gave him authority to dispose of the horse.

To Mr Brown: Suspected that prisoner had the horse as soon as it was gone. About a fortnight after I missed it gave information to the police, and on the 31st May laid a sworn information. Prisoner is no relation of mine, and was not in a fair way to become my son-in-law. He was frequently at my house, but never made at his home for weeks.The horse was got in a swap for another one—a bay filly. The receipt for the latter (produced) is correct. My son bought the horse from Sherritt. Never heard him say he would claim the horse if ever it went out of my possession. Sherritt used the horse to my knowledge on two occasions when I lent it to him. He might have taken it out of the bush and used it for aught I know. Never saw the horse in his paddock. Would not have been surprised to see anything in his paddock. Put a cow in it once, but it was home as soon as myself. Within a few days of missing the horse I went to old Sherritt’s place, and saw him and several members of his family. Asked prisoner at my house if he had seen my horse, and he said no. Never told him that the police horses were in his paddock. He came into my place and sat down, and afterwards followed me out. He asked me how I knew he was after the bushrangers, and I asked who told him, and he said his brothers. Never said if he took the police horses into his paddock knowingly I would burn the place down. Never told Mrs Byron that she would say nothing about it had he not been after the bushrangers. Never said, “You can take Charlie, and go to h——.” Charlie is the name of the horse outside the court. We had a falling out about his giving the police assistance. Never said to his brother that if he left the colony I would withdraw the charge. Thought that Sherritt was giving assistance to the police in the pursuit of the bushrangers.

Patrick Byrne, son of last witness, living with his mother at Sebastopol, deposed that the bay horse outside the court, branded B in a circle on the off shoulder and B on the near shoulder, had belonged to him. Got it in a swap, with £2, for a pony from a Chinaman. The receipt produced is correct. Went into New South Wales some time ago, and left the horse in charge of his (witness’s) mother. When he came home the horse was away. Next saw it at Greta in possession of one of the Oxley police. Accused lived near his (witness’s) mother’s house.

To Mr Brown: Never gave accused permission to use the horse. He used it three or four times before I went to NSWales. Never told him not to use it. Sherritt’s place is about three miles distant from my mother’s. He was frequently at my mother’s house, and was working at one time with my brother Joe. My brother and sister were present when the receipt was drawn out. Never heard Sheritt say that if the filly was parted with he would claim the horse.

Margaret Skillion, a married woman residing at the Eleven Mile Creek, near Greta, deposed that she knew the accused, who was at her house a few weeks before she bought a horse from Sherritt. The horse outside the court that day was the one he offered to sell her. Did not buy it when he first offered. He then turned it into the bush and again offered it for sale on May 2nd, and she bought it. Isaiah Wright was also present. Found the horse at Fifteen Mile Creek, and brought it to Greta, at Mrs O’Brien’s Royal Victoria Hotel, where the purchase was made. Paid £2 for the horse, and got a receipt, (produced), which was drawn out by Jefferson, Mrs O’Brien’s storeman. Recollect having seen accused in the middle of May last again, and he said he wanted the horse back, as it belonged to Mrs Byrne, who was going to give him five years. Refused to do so. Gave the horse and the receipt to the police.

To Mr Brown: When Sherritt came to my place the first time I did not know him.He then offered the horse for sale, and I refused to purchase it. He told me who he was, and a short time afterwards I agreed to purchase the horse. The receipt produced gives a correct description of the horse, even to the brands upon it.


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