Following the description of the murder of Rowland Edwards (1), and the piece regarding the fact they had been remanded for trial (2), the next report covered the dramatic court trial. Virtually ALL of the two page issue of Saturday 25th June 1814 was dedicated to the trial. Here I will post the article, and write a separate entry on the trial itself. The murder itself occurred on the night of Saturday 28th May, and Michael Hoollaghan and Alexander Suitar were arrested that night, and as such had been imprisoned for almost a month prior to trial.
Wednesday 29 June 1814
COURT OF CRIMINAL JURISDICTION
SATURDAY, JUNE 25
Michael Hoollaghan otherwise Woollaghan, and Alexander Suitar, were brought to the bar and indicted for the willful murder of Rowland Edwards, on the night of the 28th of May last, by firing a gun at him, at the toll-house near Parramatta.
[The circumstances attending the murder for which the prisoners at the bar were indicted, are given with tolerable precision in our paper of the 4th of June ; on reference to which it will be seen, that the same explosion which mortally wounded Rowland Edwards, killed Wm. Jenkins on the spot.]
The indictment lay for the murder of Edwards only ; charging Hoollaghan with the act, and Suitar with being present, aiding and abetting in the said act. After pleading Not Guilty to the arraignment, the prisoners prayed of the Court to be allowed an Agent to manage their defence, which was granted ; and the examinations commenced. – The first witness called, was
Mr. Edward Mayne, Keeper of the Parramatta Turnpike ; who deposed, that previous to the night of the murder he was well acquainted with the persons of both the prisoners at the bar, as they had frequently resorted to the toll-house ; and in fact he had a thorough knowledge of their persons, but Hoollaghan more especially. – On the evening of the 28th of May, the deceased William Jenkins, with a little boy, called at his toll-house about half past six, and begged to stop all night, which the witness consented to. The night was remarkably fine, and the moon shone in her brightest splendour. A slight supper was set on table at the deceased Jenkins’s request ; and at the close of the repast, Rowland Edwards, who was unhappily the object of the prosecution came to the gate on his route from Sydney to Hawkesbury, with a cart drawn by two bullocks. He likewise requested to stop there, and his request meeting a ready compliance, he refreshed, and the several persons retired to rest about 9 o’clock. About 11, a settler named David Dunstan disturbed deponent, to pass his cart through the gate. – The witness went to bed again and fell asleep, but was very soon awakened by a voice requiring him to open the door. On the first hearing of the voice it struck him as one that was familiar to his ear, and precisely that of the prisoner Hoollaghan. The words were, “Mayne, open the door ;” which were thrice articulated, and on the repetition more and more convinced him it was Hoollaghan who called to him, and with whose voice he was familiarly acquainted. The witness opened the door, and went out ; when, instead of seeing a cart with the prisoner Hoollaghan, as he had expected, he found at the door two men, both armed with muskets resting on the ground at order, and their faces covered with handkerchiefs. The witness, finding his expectation so strangely disappointed, and considering his life in imminent danger, immediately sprang towards the armed assailants, and endeavoured to unmask them ; which he completely effected, by tearing the handkerchiefs from their faces ; of which he then had a perfect view, and had not the slightest doubt, but was certain, on the contrary, that the prisoner at the bar, Michael Hoollaghan, was one of the persons, and the tallest of the two ; the other he was not quite so certain of, but strongly believed him to be the man. Witness seized the shorter man’s musket (whom he verily believed to be the prisoner Suitar), and endeavoured to wrench it out of his hands ; when at this time Hoollaghan, to whose person he persisted in swearing positively, discharged his piece, and witness saw Edwards and Jenkins fall at the threshold, as they were coming to his assistance from the alarm he made. The shorter being, being worsted in the struggle with the witness, repeatedly called out to his companion to knock him down ; whereupon the other struck the witness many blows with the but of his musket, but not so violently as he should have expected from a man so desperate ; from which he concluded that sudden fear must have got the better of his strength. Edwards was now crying for assistance, and calling out that he was bleeding to death. Witness also called for help, but no one came. Suitar was at length disentangled from his grasp, and both delinquents ran off. The witness then returned into the house, and finding Jenkins quite dead, laid the body against the door ; Edwards had crept towards the fire, complaining that he was very cold, and still bleeding very fast. The witness, wishing to procure assistance for his bleeding guest, but fearful of another attack as soon as he should open the door, was some time doubtful what course to take ; but at length determined to convey the information in to Parramatta, leaving the little boy who had accompanied Jenkins to his house in charge till he should return; to which arrangement the boy consented, and witness went accordingly, and gave the alarm. The Reverend Mr. Marsden, Resident Magistrate of Parramatta, immediately attended at the toll-house, with Mr. Chief Constable Oakes ; and a party of the Military stationed at Parramatta, accompanied by constables, also repaired thither to await the directions of the Magistrate.
In consequence of the information given by the witness of his certainty as to the person of Hoollaghan, and his strong suspicion of the prisoner Suitar, the party proceeded to their place of residence, which was on the new road from the Parramatta road to Liverpool, in temporary huts constructed of bark, about two miles and a half distant from the turnpike. The witness next related the state in which Edwards was when the Rev. Mr Marsden and the Surgeon arrived:- the unfortunate man was in a condition utterly hopeless of recovery, but retained his intellects and having conversed with the worthy Clergyman rationally for a considerably length of time, expired about 4 in the morning. The witness, accompanied by other persons, sought with a lamp just before the break of day, about the front of the house, to discover if either of the handkerchiefs remained, one of which he recalled had been torn in two parts during his scuffle with the assailants ; and within a yard and a half of the place where the person whom he had sworn positively to be Hoollaghan was posted, a yellow spotted silk handkerchief was found ; and somewhat distant he picked up two fragments of an old red silk handkerchief. The handkerchiefs were shewn to him in Court ; and he declared them to be the same so found, and had not any reason to doubt were the same that he had torn from off the faces of the assailants. In reply to a question by the Court why he had formed so strong a conception that the prisoner Suitar was the companion of Hoollaghan, he said, that he had had a recollection of his voice also, but declined swearing positively that he was the person.
Cross examined on the part of Hoollaghan.-
Were you much agitated when you opened the door, and perceived the two armed men as you have described? Ans. I believe I was: - Indeed, I’m sure I was.
Q. Did you ever say to any person Hoollaghan had decoyed or taken your woman from you?-
Ans. I never entertained any such thought, and I do not know that I ever could have said so to any person whatever.
Question by the court.- Did you believe at that time Hoollaghan had any particular enmity against you? Ans. I was not in dread of my life at that time on his account ; but had reason to believe he did not like me.
Court.- Had you ever been informed that he had threatened your life at any time?- Ans. Yes, I had been told so by two different persons.
Court.- At the time you saw him at the door, in the manner you have described, did you suspect he came to do you any injury?- Ans. Yes, I was convinced he came to rob and kill me.
Court.- Do you know any reason why he may have disliked you? Ans. Yes ; there were several little causes.- One was, that a short time before I had placed some little confidence in him, and let him have some articles on credit, for which he never paid ; and I in consequence acquainted his employer of it, which he did not like. Another reason was, that I would not permit two women belonging to the Factory, who were in the habit of going to the huts occupied by the prisoners, to pass through the gate, as they had often given me very abusive language. The prisoners were employed in making the new Liverpool road, together with two others, whose names were Bond and Day.
Question by the Prisoners.- If Hoollaghan had had a mind to injure or kill you, as you have said you imagined when you saw the two armed then at your door, could he not have shot you when you first came out, if he had been one of the men? –Ans. No, he could not ; for I immediately rushed upon them, and began tearing the handkerchiefs off their faces ; so that I was too close for him to use a gun. The witness further stated to an interrogatory by the court, that a hat had also been picked up near the spot where the scuffle had been ; but had no recollection of having seen it before.
The next witness called was Ann Mayne, wife of the preceding evidence ; who deposed, that on Friday evening the 13th of May, as she was walking from Parramatta Brickfields towards the town, in company with one Susannah Wyatt, she met with the two prisoners at the bar, who were accompanied by Bond and Day, their fellow workmen in constructing the new Liverpool road ; that the prisoner Hoolaghan separated himself from the others, and directing his discourse to her, asked what Mayne, meaning her husband, meant by calling the ragged rascals, and hindering their women from going through the gate? To which the witness answered, that she did not suppose he had done so ; but Hoollaghan insisted that it had been the case, from the women’s own declaration ; and added, “Let him look out the next time I get drink, for I’ll serve him.” A Member of the Court asked the witness if she had any recollection of the hat that had been found near the toll house, shortly after the murder? And her reply was, that she had not seen it. It was shewn to her ; and without any hesitation, she pronounced it to be the had usually worn by the prisoner Suitar ; she had also seen it worn by Thomas Bond, who was in the same employ with both the prisoners on the Road, of whom there were altogether four in number, Woollaghan, Suitar, Bond, and Day, whose cloaths she believed they usually wore in common ; and the hat produced, was, to the best of her opinion she now subjoined, the same she had seen worn by Suitar. On interrogatory by the Court whether she had ever mentioned to her husband the threat which Hoollaghan had a few days previous to the attack made to her, she answered that she had informed him of it.
Susannah Wyatt next deposed, that she knew the prisoners at the bar by sight ; that when walking in company with the last witness on the evening of the 13th of May, they met them and two others in George-street, Parramatta ; three went forward, and one remained behind, which was the prisoner at the bar, Hoollaghan ; who said to Ann Mayne, in deponent’s hearing, the words above rehearsed by Ann Mayne herself, terminating with the threat that the first time he go drunk he would serve him out for it. Being interrogated by the Court whether she had previous to the night of the murder made Mayne himself acquainted with the threat made by Hoollaghan, this witness replied she had informed him thereof.
Sarah Barrow, a baker of Parramatta, called and sworn – Witness deposed, and between eight and nine on the evening of the Saturday upon which night the murder was committed, a man came to her door, and asked for some bread ; she told him she had none left that she could spare ; He said he was employed for Government, and it was a great hardship he could get no bread.- She then called him in, and sold him half a loaf. As he stood on the opposite side of the counter, she perceived that he had fire-arms very bright, beneath his jacket, but could not say of what description ; in his left ear he wore a piece of lead. At the sight of the fire-arms she was intimidated, and enquired if he usually carried such? To which he replied that he did when he traveled, and then went away.
Examined by the Court.- Should you know that person if you were to see him again? Ans. Yes ; pointing to the prisoner Suitar, that is the man.
Court.- Had he a handkerchief about his neck when you saw him that evening, as you say you did? Ans. Yes ; he had on an old dirty handkerchief. The red torn handkerchief found near the gatehouse being produced to her, she thought it resembled it very much in appearance.
Court.- Did you see him the next day, after he was in custody on suspicion of the murders ; and did he then wear the same handkerchief he had worn the preceding evening? Ans. I saw him the next day when in custody, and he then wore a different handkerchief.
Court.- Did you notice what kind of hat Suitar wore that night? Ans. I had several times before seen him in a kind of tarry hat ; he had several times purchased bread at my shop, and I had taken notice of his hat.
Court.- Was the hat which he wore, when you saw him in custody, the same which he had usually worn before, when you had seen him>? Ans. No.
The hat picked up, as already stated, was now produced to her, and she declared it to be very like the one he wore on the Saturday night of the murder. In addition to what she had already stated, the witness said, that from what he had represented of the difficulty to get bread, and as he had purchased of her several times before, she asked him I he would have a bason of tea, which he declined, saying there were others outside who were with him. He did not seem desirous of hiding the weapon he carried under his jacket, nor did she look down to see whether it was a gun or a pistol, for she was much alarmed, and chiefly looked to see that he did not move it while in her shop. His left ear was examined by direction of the Court, in consequence of Mrs. Barrow’s statement of his having worn a piece of lead in his ear, and found to have been punctured.
Thomas Woolley sworn. Is a servant in the employ of Mrs. Barrow, the last witness. He knows the prisoner Suitar. He came twice to Mrs. Barrow’s for bread in the beginning of May last, when witness was present. Witness came as a prisoner to this Colony in the ship Admiral Gambier, and the prisoner Suitar came as a sailor in the same ship, but then went by the name of Scott. The first time he saw him in the shop he thought he had a recollection of his features, and expressing himself to that effect, the prisoner said to him ; “Yes, you ought to know me, for we both came in one shop,” and added that his name was Scott. He at that time wore a straw or chip hat covered : there were several holes in the crown, which he had particularly noticed. The hat picked up at the toll gate was shewn to him, an he positively affirmed it to be the same he had seen worn by Suitar.
Eleanor Norris sworn.- Lives near the Parramatta toll gate ; and some time before the murder had swapped a yellow ground silk handkerchief with one Martha Dunn, who lodged in her house at the time. She shortly afterwards met the prisoner Hoollaghan on the Parramatta road ; who enquired of her whether Martha Dunn lived then at her house or not. Witness answered that she had left her house, but directed him to the place where she then resided, remarking at the same time that the handkerchief about his neck was the same that Martha Dunn had had of her ; after which the departed.
Question by the Court.- Do you think you should know that handkerchief again if you were to see it? –Ans. I think I should.- [A handkerchief was produced, which she unraveled a part of the hemming of, and examined some minutes with the greatest minuteness, and then proceeded] “Yes, that is the very handkerchief I swapped away to Martha Dunn, and I believed it to be the same that I afterwards saw about Hoollaghan’s neck.”
Question by the Court. How is it that you can take upon yourself to be so positive. You are to recollect that your answer if of the greatest importance to this very serious case. Consider well what you are about to answer, and be mindful that you are correct in what you say – The witness answered as follows. “That is the very handkerchief I swapped with Martha Dunn ; I have call to know it ; for I bought it myself, I hemmed it myself, I washed it myself, I wore it myself, and I tore a hole in it with a pin, which I lad upon my hand to darn it up again, but let Martha Dunn have it as it was, and there is now the hole in it, just as when I parted with it. She had also hemmed it with yellow silk, and was in all respects satisfied it was the same.”
Martha Dunn sworn.- Witness never co-habited with the prisoner Hoollaghan ; she had known him some time, and when she first came into the country he wanted her to live with him. She had received a yellow handkerchief from Eleanor Norris, which she a day or two afterwards lent to Hoollaghan to go to Sydney with ; he never returned it, but had usually worn it. During the examinations before the Coroner, witness had said that the last witness, Eleanor Norris, had sworn to the wrong handkerchief and cautioned Richard Norris, her husband, against doing the same. The handkerchief produced and sworn to, under the circumstances above described, by the witness Eleanor Norris, was shewn to the present witness, who declared it not to be the same that she had received form Eleanor Norris, and lent to Hoollaghan ; another of the exact same pattern, but rather brighter in its colour, was next produced to her, and this she declared to be the identical handkerchief.
Both handkerchiefs were examined by the Court ; and as they were at times held up it was observable that the handkerchief which Martha Dunn swore to, carried all the marks about it of being ravin’d and torn by a man’s beard ; whereas that sworn to be Eleanor Norris, who had examined it with the closest scrutiny, had no other appearance than that of being torn by a pin, as she had herself described. There were nevertheless two handkerchiefs of the same pattern in Court – the one sworn to by the one witness, and the other by another witness – and both equally positively.
John Whiteman sworn.- Witness was confined in Parramatta gaol on the Sunday the two prisoners at the bar were first imprisoned on suspicion of the murders ; He shaved Hoollaghan, and in conversation asked how he came to be taken? Hoollaghan replied with an oath that it was the man at the turnpike ; that he had informed against some bush rangers ; but that if they had paid him for a cask of beer which he, Hoollaghan, and his comrades had drank out for him, he never would have said a word if they had robbed and murdered every one between Sydney and Parramatta ; and as he spoke in a low tone of voice, not to be heard at two yards distance he added, that the piece had missed fire the first time, but as soon as he pulled the trigger the second time he saw the two men fall ; ??? had afterwards struck Mayne with the butt of the piece, and should he ever regain his liberty would certainly take his life. His whiskers, which were long and extended beneath the chin, he requested the witness would cut into a different form, which he did.
Examined by the Court.- Did no one at all hear this conversation but yourself? Ans. Yes, one Isaac Rowell overheard it, and afterwards coming up to me said, “that man has said enough to you to hang 50 men.” Witness had informed the Resident Magistrate of the extraordinary declaration made to him to Hoollaghan, upon whose said declaration he had also stated that the piece he carried was a brass barrelled one.
Question by the Court.- What reason had the prisoner Hoollaghan for making you a confidante in his secrets? Ans. None that I know of, more than that he heard I might be trusted.
Isaac Howell was now called ; and it will be necessary to inform the interested Reader, that this evidence, who was brought solely as a corroborating evidence of the last witness Whiteman, was not sent for from Sydney to Parramatta until the Court had resumed its Sittings at ten o’clock, and had come down in very great haste, not knowing, as any probably suspicion could be formed, on what account he had been called for at all.- As soon as Whiteman’s testimony had closed, he was called upon.
Isaac Howell sworn, said he was confined in Parrmatta gaol on the Sunday morning the prisoners at the bar were brought in. Recollects Whiteman, the last witness, shaving Hoollaghan. Heard Hoollaghan say to Whiteman he had twice snapped the gun, and it missed fire both times, and that he had strick at him twice with the butt end of his piece. Witness remembers to have afterwards mentioned to Whiteman what he had heard Hoollaghan says to him ; but denies having said to him that Hoollaghan had told him enough to hang 50 people.
Examined by the Court. When did you last converse with John Whiteman on this affair.- Ans. We have been parted ten days. I did not know any thing about coming here.
Mr. Francis Oakes, Chief Constable of Parramatta, sworn. Witness described the manner in which the information had been communicated of the murder, by Mayne, and the steps he had taken, by virtue of his office, to have the accused parties secured. The hat produced in Court was found in his presence near the toll house, shortly after the offence had been perpetrated.- The state of the toll house he also described.- Jenkins’s body lay lifeless, and Edwards in extreme agonies till between two and three in the morning, when he expired. The handkerchiefs found at the gate were given into his charge, and were the same produced in Court ; one was an old red one torn asunder, and the other was of a yellow ground. The third handkerchief produced, and which exactly corresponded in pattern with that found at or about the spot where Mayne described the man whom he considered to be Hoollaghan had been posted, he took off Hoolaghan’s neck on account of the similarity, when he was brought for examination before the Coroner’s Inquest.
Mr. ? St. John Younge, Resident Assistant Surgeon of Parramatta, deposed, that the death of the deceased, Rowland Edwards had been occasioned by the mortal wounds received from the gun in the manner stated in evidence by Mr. Mayne ; and Robert Wells, a private soldier stationed at Parramatta, deposed to his being present and assisting to take the prisoners at the bar into custody, on the night of the murders.- This witness swore positively that when Hoollaghan was taken he had no handkerchief about his neck, but had a sort of old bluish handkerchief in his hand, that he advised him on the road to put it round his neck ; and that when he went in to Parramatta he had neither of the handkerchiefs about his neck that were produced in Court.- Here closed the examinations on the side of the prosecution ; and the prisoners were put upon their defence.
A paper was presented to the Court on their joint behalf ; which in purport went to a total denial of guilt, urging their laborious occupation as a presumptive argument in their favour, while it at the same time secluded them from society and obliged them to reside in uninhabited wilds, from which seclusion they were the more unfortunate in the denial of the chief means of justification left to persons so accused as they were, a defence set up on alibi on that kind of evidence upon whose credibility the Court might consider it prudent to rely. That they were two out of four persons employed in constructing a public road ; and had both been arrested on suspicion of the crime attributed to them, while the other two were the only persons on whose evidence they could call ; and it was their ardent hope the Court would be pleased to receive their testimony with favour, and to exercise its judgement with that impartiality, yet exercised in mercy, that had uniformly distinguished its proceedings.- The first witness called for the prisoners was William Day ; who stated on oath that he was one of the persons employed with the two prisoners at the bar in constructing the Liverpool Road, and William Bond the other ; that Bond and himself lived in one hut, and the two prisoners at the bar lived in another, about 8 or 9 rods distant ; that upon the night of the 28th of May he went from his own hut to that of the prisoners, between the hours of nine and ten, to borrow a loaf and some sugar, and found them in bed ; that he returned with the loaf and sugar to his own hut, and in a quarter of an hour after went a second time for a conveniency to fry some meat upon, and then also found them both in bed, and displeased at his disturbing them ; that he had never seen fire arms about the place, nor saw Suitar wear any other hat than that he wore since taken into custody, that he saw a yellow handkerchief taken from Hoollaghan’s neck at the Inquest, and knew not of his having any other but a small blue one ; that in the hut of the prisoners there were five loaves that night, that Bond had gone into Parramatta about sun down and at about 8 returned home, and about ten went to bed ; that Bond had not returned when he first went to the hut of the prisoners, but came in while he was out the second time, with every thing he went for, except bread. Witness was present when Martha Dunn gave a handkerchief to Hoollaghan, but never made any particular remark of it.
Thomas Bond called and sworn in.- Lived in the hut with the last witness and a woman he kept there. Deponent went into Parramatta on the evening of the 28th of May, and returned between nine and ten at night, at which time Day was returning home from the prisoners’ hut to their own, with a pot to dress some provision, & some bread he had been borrowing. He did not see either of the prisoners, but was told by Day they were both in their hut. He never had seen fire arms there, nor could any such have been there without his knowledge. He had also seen Martha Dunn give a handkerchief to Hoollaghan, which he had no doubt was the same pointed out in Court by Martha Dunn herself as above stated, and never saw any other in his possession but an old blue cotton one. Suitor joined them in their employ in March last, and he had never seen him wear any other hat than the one he wore at and after taken up on this charge.
Patrick Cullen sworn.- He farms the toll-gate, and about the 4th or 5th of May had come to a settlement of accounts with Mayne; who then understood from him, that he had some of dislike to those ragamuffins, meaning the prisoners ; and that in another conversation immediately subsequent to the murder, deponent had pointedly asked if he really considered them the men ; to which Mayne replied he had every reason to believe they were, from which answer witness thought he did not appear so altogether positive as since.- Here closed the evidence, at five o’clock the Court withdrew.- At half past seven the Members resumed their seats, when
The JUDGE ADVOCATE, after a recapitulation of the facts charge in the indictment, pronounced judgment of the Court – Both Guilty.
On the declaration of the Verdict, the prisoner Suitar vehemently affirmed his innocence ; and the JUDGE ADVOCATE prodceeded:-
“The evidence on your trial has been dispassionately weighed, and most impartially investigated by the Court, which has uniformly kept in view that benevolent maxim grounded on His Majesty’s Coronation Oath, that the exercise of judgment shall be tempered with mercy ; and this Court, bound equally by its Oath and by the ties of Conscience, have pronounced upon your Case, and found you Guilty.- This I repeat in answer to the appear made by the prisoner Alexander Suitar ; and shell thence proceed minutely to apprise you both of the grounds on which this verdict has been framed.
“The witness, Edward Mayne, in the first place speaks distinctly and identically to the person of Hoollaghan, as the man who fired the gun, but which the deceased R. Edwards and W. Jenkins both fell. That the dreadful fact had been perpetrated by some one was unhappily beyond dispute ; but who the perpetrator was remained a question to be decided on. The witness Mayne had sworn positively that Hoollaghan was the person; and yet there was a possibility that he might have been mistaken, had the case rested barely on his declaration ; but there were other circumstances in support of his positive assertion, which went immediately to the corroboration of the testimony he had given. It had been sworn by Ann Mayne, that a few days previous to the attack made upon her husband, the prisoner Hoollaghan had in a conversation with her threatened his life ; that that this conversation had been overheard by another person, who could not be supposed to have been at all interested in such a declaration against a man with whom she did not appear to have had the slightest acquaintance. Ann Mayne was the wife of Edward Mayne ; and this consideration, attended by other circumstances relative to her might had tended to weaken her testimony ; but Susannah Wyatt had disinterestedly come forward to corroborate her testimony with regard to the threat made use of by Hoollaghan against Mayne, and both had apprised him of it. Mayne has himself, also, stated certain reasons from which he concluded Hoollaghan’s dislike must have arisen :- He had made known to his employer that he had contracted a debt with him which he would not pay ; and had refused to allow women employed at the public Factory to pass through the gate he kept towards the huts occupied by Hoollaghan and others employed with him in the construction of the Liverpool Road. It is next to be considered, that Mayne from a strong recollection of Hoollaghan’s voice and person, and a strong conception that Suitar was his companion, gave information that Hoollaghan and Suitar were the men who attacked him, as soon as he went in to Parramatta, and before the finding of the hat and handkerchiefs, which have since been traced to them in as clear a manner as from the nature of the case could possibly have been expected or required ; and the circumstances connected wherewith form a material ground of conviction. Every reflecting mind must surely be aware, as the minds of the Court were, that the minute and it might be said extraordinary description given of the yellow silk handkerchief by Eleanor Norris, was worthy of belief ;- She bought it, hemmed it, partly with yellow silk, and laid it on her hand to darn a hole in it, which had been torn by a pin. She had afterwards exchanged it with Martha Dunn, who admits that she have the one she received from Eleanor Norris to Hoollaghan but denies that which Eleanor Norris swears to be the same ; but without making any other remark on the testimony of Martha Dunn on this point, it will be only necessary to observe that she had it in her possession only two days, and afterwards only saw it about Hollaghan’s neck :- She had no mark whereby she could distinguish it from any other of the same pattern ; Eleanor Norris, on the contrary, had identified it from very particular marks indeed ; and yet Hollaghan pretends it not to be the same, but brings no evidence to prove as satisfactorily that it is not, as it has been satisfactorily proved that it is the same. The body of evidence is clearly in favour of the minute evidence given by Eleanor Norris ; and as there can be no doubt that the handkerchief in question was one of those torn by Mayne off the face of one of his assailants, and no proof has been brought that it had gone out of Hoollaghan’s possession into that of any other person, the inference must naturally be that he was the man from whose face it was so torn by Mayne, and whose positive testimony against Hollaghan is thereby corroborated by one of the strongest circumstances that could possibly have been brought forward in its support.
“The testimony of Whiteman and Howell, if it may be credited, must remove every doubt suspecting Hollaghan.- Whiteman has stated, that when shaving him on the Sunday morning, shortly after he was apprehended, he desired him to alter the form of his whiskers, and entered into a conversation with him, which he had related to the Court ; and however extraordinary it might appear that conversation should have taken place, yet it was by no means impossible. It was clear that Whiteman had shaved him, and it was not denied that at his request he altered the form of his whiskers. As working men do not shave often during the week, his precaution in this particular upon the Sunday morning, added to the alteration of his whiskers, must have been expected considerably to alter his experience, and render the identity of his person difficult. Howell does not go sar in his testimony as Whiteman had done. The one was nearer to him than the other, and he might not therefore have so distinctly heard what he said ; yet he speaks to the same facts, though deviating in the relation. If, however, the testimony of those two persons is compared with the strong and positive declaration of Edward Mayne, they either must be credited, or it must be supposed they have come down from Parramatta to Sydney with intent to perjure themselves, for no other purpose than to injure a manupon his trial, of whom it has not appeared they either of them had had the slightest knowledge, and towards whom they could have no personal malice or ill will. It is true, that Howell in giving his evidence appeared confused ; but this there must be much allowance for, when it is considered that his attendance as a witness was called for wholly unexpectedly. He had not been sent for from Sydney to Parramatta until after this trial had commenced ; and with an unprecedented celerity he had been brought down in three hours and ten minutes from the issuing of his subpoena. He was therefore, as it were, taken by surprise, and had not had sufficient time to reflect upon and call to recollection circumstances that were past, and he had no expectation of being called upon to declare at the bar of this Court.
“I shall now offer a few observations on the evidence, as it more immediately applies to the prisoner Alexander Suitar. He, it has appeared, lived in the same hut with Hollaghan, and with him only.- Mrs Barrow has positively swore that he was at her shop on the very evening that the crime was perpetrated, that he had fire arms about him, which circumstance the more particularly attracted her attention to his person ; she conversed with him a long time ; there was a lamp burning in the shop ; she had seen him several times before, as he had several times brought bread of her, and had a perfect opportunity to know his person ; she has described the hat that night worn by the prisoner Suitar ; and states, that the hat found near the toll-house, shortly after the perpetration of the murder, resembled it very much ; she has said also that the red handkerchief found near the spot where Edward Mayne had described the shorter of the two assailants to have been posted, very much to resemble the one worn by Suitar upon the same evening, and that when she saw him the day following at the Inquest, he wore a different one. Strongly circumstantial as the evidence of Mrs. Barrow is to be considered, yet that which followed was such as to give it every strength it could require. This was the testimony of William Woolley ; who stated that he came to the Colony in the same ship with the prisoner Suitar ; and not having seen him for two years before, had noticed him very particularly when he first went to the shop of Mrs. Barrow. In his examination of the prisoner’s person, the hat became peculiarly an object of observation ; he has minutely described it, and has sworn positively, that the hat found on the road is identically the same which he had seen him wear. Against circumstances so very strong and impressive, what had been contrasted ! two persons who were apprehended with the prisoners at the bar, on suspicion of their being connected in the very crime for which they have been arraigned, have been called to contradict those strong assertions ; and without any wish to bring their testimony totally into discredit, yet it must be very obvious that the testimony they have given ought in justice to have been very cautiously received, if even the evidence in opposition had not been quite so strong. You were all working together, & connected with each other in the closest habits of intimacy. But if even the testimony of those two persons, Day and Bond, as far as effects the alibi you have endeavoured to set up, were to be allowed its full force, to what does that evidence extend? They neither of them saw you after ten o’clock ; and from that time to the period when, from the evidence of Mayne, uniformly supported by the testimony of other witnesses, the attack took place, there was very sufficient time for going thither. They had also stated, that the handkerchief sworn to be Eleanor Norris, was not the same Hoollaghan had received from Martha Dunn ; but it must necessarily be recollected, that they had not the same opportunity that Eleanor Norris had of knowing whether it was or was not the same ; they had only seen it round Hoollaghan’s neck ; and two were produced, that were so much alike as not to be distinguished one from the other without close examination, and a strong recollection of some particular marks – and those marks Eleanor Norris had minutely described ; while it was evident, at the same time, that no other person had uttered a syllable as to the identitiy of either of the handkerchiefs, or a single word that could be put in competition with her testimony, which had been delivered in very strong terms indeed :- She had bought it, hemmed it, worn it, and torn it with a pin ; she had lain the rent part across her hand to darn it ; he knew it to be the same ; she was convinced it was the same; it had every appearance of being torn by a pin, as she had described ; whereas the handkerchief contrasted against it had no such mark in it as the other, but appeared evidently to have been worn thin by the friction and rubbing of a man’s beard. Patrick Culluen had been called to give a testimony which might tend to the discredit of that given by Edward Mayne ; but Mayne’s evidence did not stand singly and unsupported ; therefore that of Patrick Cullen could have no weight against it. The prisoners had called evidence to their character [which we did not think necessary to notice in the examinations], and he had found it necessary to call to the recollection of one who had spoke to the character of Hoollaghan, that this was not the first offence of the same kind of which he had stood accused in this Colony ; and although no previous occurrence had in the slightest degree operated against him in his present trial, yet it had given rise to a conception that a remark respecting the characters given to persons under such circumstances as they stood, would not be altogether irrelevant or unseasonable. It was a principle of the British Law, that a bad character should not be received or admitted as evidence against a prisoner at a bar of justice ; when, upon the contrary, every thing that could be said to his advantage was gladly received into the evidence, and recorded in the minds of those who were to be his judges.”
The JUDGE ADVOCATE, after a few cursory observations on the lateness of the hour, and the unusual length of time which the trial had occupised, proceeded as follows:- “Prisoners at the bar, every effort hs been made by this Court to come at the truth of all that has been said by the various evidences ; and I have now lastly to repeat to you, that the Law has found you guilty of the crime wherewith you severally stood charged:- A crime at which Mankind in all ages have shuddered ; and which has been doomed to death by all Laws, Human and Divine. It now becomes your duty ; as you set a value on your everlasting peace, to pray daily and constantly to an offended God – that you may be hereafter exempted from those pains which the unrepentant sinner can alone look forward to. Your crime is a very dire one indeed ; and its unhappy consequence extend to the families of those who unhappily fell by your means.- Repentance now becomes your only duty, and that alone can promise future comfort to your fleeting souls. You are now placed upon the awful verge of a precipice, & the hour of your destiny draws nigh. Implore forgiveness steadfastly, and so endeavour to make peace with your offended God, who alone can judge the hearts of men, whose actions are but fallible. The Court has been guided by the Evidence ; and by that Evidence you have been found Guilty.”
Sentence of Death was then pronounced against the prisoners, which ordained that they should suffer death on such day as HIS EXCELLENCY the GOVERNOR should think proper to order, and at such place as should be appointed for their execution ; their bodies to be afterwards delivered up to the Surgeons to be dissected and anatomized.
On Monday the Court met again; and proceeded to the trial of offences, which we shall give an account of in next Saturday’s Gazette.
The trial of Donovan for the murder at Hawkesbury, which was expected to commence on Monday, was postponed ; and other persons were that day tried. This desperado was, however, arraigned on Tuesday for a burglary committed at Hawkesbury ; and capitally convicted.