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Colonial Cases

R. v. Bouchier, 1874



R. v. Bouchier

Police Court, Palmerston
Price SM, 17 April 1874
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 24 April 1874, pp 2-3




Friday, April 17.

(Before Mr. Price, S.M. and Mr. Lindsay and Mr. Frew, J.P.'s.)

Charles Bouchier was charged with having unlawfully assaulted and beaten Matthew Dillon Cox, at Bowerlee, near Palmerston, on the 13th of April.

Mr. Smith for the plaintiff and Mr. Rudall for the defendant.

Mr. Cox said he was a station holder, living at Palmerston. On the 13th April he went to his station on the Peninsula. Was accompanied by the butcher (Manson), by Mr. Wells, and Mr. Lee. On arriving at the house, saw defendant (a nephew), and asked him about a horse which had been lost. He declined to speak about the matter then, and said he would tell him about it afterwards, as well as about other matters. Later in the day was leaving the house to go to the cattle yards, when defendant called to plaintiff, saving he wished to speak to him. Plaintiff returned with him. Defendant walked into the hut behind him, and followed him into the inner room. Defendant then blocked the doorway, and said that plaintiff must give him two fat bullocks. Refused to make any promise to that effect. Defendant then throttled him, and said, "I'll make you give them; I'll shake them out of you." He threw plaintiff backwards; fell on top of him, and held him down. Called for help, upon which defendant snatched some woollen garment and attempted to gag plaintiff. To avoid that plaintiff turned his face away, still calling out for help. Defendant told him to cease or he would kill him. Continued to cry out and defendant continued to beat him, still kneeling on his neck and his loins. Whilst struggling managed to get into the front room. Defendant tried to throttle him, and still kept demanding the two cattle. Constantly refused to promise the cattle. Defendant said "If you don't give me the cattle, I'll cut your throat; I have a knife in my breast." This struggle continued about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour, when plaintiff got away, and went straight to the yard. Plaintiff's clothes were then torn and blood was upon them. During the struggle defendant used saddle-straps in trying to gag him. Never said anything to provoke an assault. Had been too ill to attend to his usual business since the assault.

By Mr. Rudall-Reached the Peninsula about 12 or 1 o'clock. Went towards the slaughter-yard about two hours before dark. Had been along the beach towards Talc Head previously with Mr. Wells and Mr. Lee. Never spoke to defendant about bullocks before that time. Was not friendly with him before the assault. Defendant called plaintiff back just as he had left the house. There were four rooms there. It was a bedroom which they went into. Defendant spoke first, and demanded the bullocks. But could not swear as to the exact words he used. Might have mistaken the exact words; but was confident as to the meaning of what he said. When plaintiff refused, defendant seized him and tried to throttle him; caught him by the throat. Would swear deliberately that he never struck defendant; but put his hands up. Was not aware there was any revolver in the room. Never saw it. Believed there was a revolver without a cylinder in the hut. Believed Mr. Cameron had a revolver, but never saw it that day. Would swear he never struck the defendant with a revolver. Never struck him; never used a knife, nor had one in his hand. Would swear that defendant threatened his life, saying that he had a knife in his bosom. The cattle-yard was about a quarter of a mile from the house. Defendant spoke loudly during the struggle. The clothes plaintiff had on at the time were those now in Court.

Mr. Wells stated that on the day in question he went with Mr. Cox to see his place on the Peninsula. When they arrived there defendant was standing in the doorway of the house. Later in the day was leaving the house with Mr. Cox, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Cameron to go to the cattle-yard, when defendant came out of the house and called Mr. Cox back, saying he wanted to speak to him. Mr. Cox went back. Saw Mr. Cox sometime afterwards just beyond the cattle-yard. He came towards witness with his clothes torn, his face bruised and bleeding. He asked witness if he had not heard him call for help, and then made a statement which attributed the state he was in to an assault by defendant. Did not see any bruises on plaintiff previously. Did not see any weapon in his possession the whole of the day. The cattle-yard was about a quarter of a mile or a little more from the house. Mr. Cameron accompanied witness to the cattle-yard, and remained there, he believed, assisting with the cattle, until the time when Mr. Cox came. Never missed Mr. Cameron from the cattlc-yard. Did not return to the house any more; but got into the boat at the creek near the cattle-yard, and returned to Port Darwin.
The Stipendiary Magistrate asked if the defendant would like to have his case dealt with under the Minor Offences Act, or would prefer going to the Criminal Sittings in Adelaide.
The defendant said he would prefer being tried by a jury. He did not wish to call any witnesses or make any statement.
The Court would, in that case, remand him till that day week.
The plaintiff expressed a wish that the case should be dealt with summarily, as he only wanted to be protected for the future.
Mr. Rudall said there was a counter-charge of assault by Bouchier against Cox. Could that be brought on now?
The Magistrate said that must be heard on some future occasion. As to the present case, seeing that the plaintiff did not wish to press the matter, the Court would deal with it as a common assault. Defendant would therefore be fined £5, or, in default of payment, two months' imprisonment with hard labor; and he must enter into a bond of £100, and find two sureties of £50 each, to keep the peace for 12 months; or, in default, 12 calendar months imprisonment.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School