Spotlight: Wilson and Lemon on Trial

Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), Saturday 11 October 1845, page 5


Before his Honor Sir John Lewes Pedder, Knight, Chief Justice, and the following jury:—

Messrs. William Birch (foreman), I. A. Nathan, W. S. Turner, W. Mason, J. S. Waddell, F. Spencer, B. Francis. George Ross, W. S. Button, Israel Shaw, M. O’Halloran, and J. Barrett.

John Wilson and James Leamon, were indicted for feloniously stealing from the premises of John W. Rowles, two pound notes, provisions, and sundry articles of wearing apparel on the 17th day of July last. The prisoners, it will be remembered, were two bushrangers captured at the Nile by a party of constables, after a smart skirmish.

The prosecutor detailed the particulars of the robbery. On the evening of the 17th July, prisoners at the bar came to his house; he proceeded to the door, when both presented themselves, armed with double-barrelled guns; Wilson seized two guns that were in the house; shortly after prisoner said, “Don’t be alarmed, we want provisions, money, and clothes;” prisoners said they had four mates in the bush who were naked and starving; witness saw Wilson throwing out clothes and other articles into the kitchen; Wilson came out of the room with a pistol in his hand, and asked witness for his money; he replied he had no money; Mrs. Rowles ran out of the bed-room, when witness told her to give up what money was in the house; Wilson went a second time into the bed-room, to have a further search for money, but finding none, prisoners commenced packing up the stolen property; no violence was offered to either witness or his wife; prisoners on going away said, “Good-night, God bless you both, we wish you well”; witness heard the report of fire-arms a few minutes after prisoners left his house; witness’s clothes were brought back shortly afterwards by constables attached to the Morven police.

Maria Rowles corroborated the testimony of Mr. Rowles, respecting the manner in which prisoners acted.

Constable Moore, deposed, he visited Rowles’s house on the night of the 17th July; saw two men come out, whom he challenged; prisoners said they were Launceston constables; witness desired them to lay down their arms, when prisoners requested witness to do the same; two other constables being convenient, witness said “look out,” and immediately both prisoners fired, which was returned by the other constables; a knapsack fell from one of the prisoners, in which witness found the articles produced.

Constable Ingram, apprehended one of the prisoners, at a place called the Broad Valley, on the 15th August last.

The prisoner Wilson, in his defence, said that a mistake was made in their identification. The jury, after a short consultation, returned a verdict of “guilty of the larceny,” as there was no proof that the articles were taken on the premises of the prosecutor.

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