Court appearance by John Lane and his sons

Grahame Thom grthom@bigpond.com

Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 19th June 1876

Windsor (From our Correspondent)

COMMITTALS ON RIOTING ON QUEEN'S BIRTHNIGHT.

Police Office, Friday, June 9 - Before Messrs. J. B. Johnston and W. Lamrock, J.P.s, James Moses, Henry Pye, Thomas Mills, William Williams alias Stokes, Peter Carroll, jun., Daniel Grono, Michael Byrnes, Patrick Norris, and Spencer Holland were charged with riotously assembling on the 24th of May last, in George-street, Windsor, and with sticks and stones assaulting constables Berkleman, Carew, and Grace whilst in the execution of their duty. Mr. Neilson watched the case for defendants.

Senior-sergeant Fitzpatrick said the information was laid by him; he knew nothing about the defendants except Thomas Mills ; he saw him on the night named rolling a burning tar barrel in George Street, and told him not to do so ; Mills then left the barrel and joined the mob in the street; stones ware thrown at witness from the crowd, and he heard some one say from amongst them, Wait till bye-and-bye, you, and you'll get it; stones were again thrown, and he after wards saw Mills and another go up the street with a tar barrel, but not alight; he heard Mills cry out, Roll up boys, for the park; at Dean's he saw a tar barrel on fire, and then a rush of the mob from Thompson's square; the mob were howling and hooting, and stopped near the site of the old Baraba Hotel where there were any quantity of brickbats.

Constable Grace stated that he saw defendant Williams in custody of constables Berkleman and Carew: a large number were following, and witness went to assist in taking defendant; stones were thrown from the mob, and Constable Carew was disabled and Constable Berkleman knocked down, and the defendant Williams got away; at that time defendant Moses came up and struck witness a violent blow on the jaw, which cut him to the bone, and he had to get the wound sewn up.

Senior Constable Berkleman said that on the night of the 24th of May he was in company with constables Carew and Grace when Mr. John Lane gave a person in charge for breaking his window; the defendant Williams was the person; on the way to the watch-house a mob of two or three hundred persons followed in a most disorderly manner ; witness was hit twice, once on the back with a stone or a brick with great force, and a second time, opposite the Royal Hotel, he was struck by a stone on the back of the head, and also received a blow in the face, which knocked him down; he bled much, and was carried off the street to the residence of Mr. Gosper; he was confined to his bed four days; from 7 o'clock that evening till 10 the town was in a state of riot.

Constable Carew said he was on duty with the previous witness when Williams was given into their custody by Mr John Lane, near Doyle's public house from there to where defendant Williams was rescued they were followed by a mob and witness was struck repeatedly and bled much; he was afterwards confined to his bed for two or three days. Tar barrels were burning in the streets and Bryam's chemist shop was in danger; stones and bricks were thrown upon the house; he saw defendant Carroll in the mob and spoke to him when Carroll replied by asking him, Would he lock him up? The mobs were making a great noise and the witness told them to be quiet.

John Lane stated that he kept a boot warehouse in George Street; on the night of the 24th of May last a number of persons assembled in front of his house, and a stone was thrown through a window of it and then other stones were thrown by two men - Williams was one of them, he secured Williams, and the other man ran away. He gave Williams into custody; witness followed the police and saw a stone thrown at them; he saw another person about to throw a stone, and took it from him; he could not recognize any of the defendants as being that man; in endeavoring to identify the person he was struck in the face; whilst the disturbance was going on he was in fear and terror; he believed it was the defendant Norris who struck him.

John Lane jun said he saw the defendant Holland near Doyle’s public house, running towards Harris's; he saw Holland four or five times in the mob during the night; he was near the Royal Hotel when the police were assaulted and saw Moses and Norris there.

Edwin Lane said on the night of the 24th May last, there was a great mob conjugated in the street, opposite his father's residence; he saw Holland near Bryam's chemist shop; a fireball was thrown into Mr Dean's premises; to the best of his belief Holland threw it; he saw Grono in the crowd near Morley's and urging the mob on to the police saving Come on, come on; after the police had taken Williams he saw Grono in the attempt to throw a stone at them; defendant noticed that witness was watching him, and near Dick's he (witness) received a blow from a stone or a brick, Grono was one of the leaders of the mob; he saw Mills in the mob, and Moses starting to stop a tar-barrel; constable Grace was knocked down and the prisoner Williams rescued from the police, the defendant Carroll was amongst the mob opposite Dean's; he saw Norris standing against a post, to the best of his belief Mills and Grono were together urging the mob on to attack the police.

William Anderson stated that he saw several of the defendants in the mob, consisting of three or four hundred, who were then noisy and disorderly; he saw Holland throw a fireball into Dean's verandah, Holland had different hats on during the night; he saw Norris run down the street with a brickbat in his hand, also saw Grono in the act of throwing a stone or a brick; the police were about ten yards from Grono at the time; there was a tar barrel burning at the end of Byram's house; he heard Mills making a great noise and saw him trying to take a case from one of Mr Greenwell's men; saw Moses, opposite the Royal Hotel, trying to throw constable Grace down, and saw him strike Grace, but could not say whether he had anything in his hand.
Constable Beattie saw Mills rolling a tar barrel and heard him calling out Roll up, Roll up upon the 9th of April last, upon the occasion of witness taking a drunken man to the watch house; he was mobbed, and defendant Carroll said Wait till Queen's birthnight, and see what you'll get!

At this stage of the proceedings the Court adjourned and remanded the defendants on bail till this day (Friday) the l6th instant when some further, though not very material, evidence was taken testifying to the fact of fireballs being thrown about the street, and a cylinder rolled into the river. Their Worships discharged Byrnes, and committed the other eight defendants for trial at the next Quarter Sessions, bail being allowed of £20, and two sureties of £20 each. Senior-sergeant Fitzpatrick conducted the prosecution -16th June.

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The men appeared before the Windsor Quarter Sessions on 9 October 1876, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 October 1876, page 2. There was a large crowd in attendance and the jury's verdict was not guilty. The following is an extract from that report.

In giving evidence Senior Sergeant Fitzpatrick said he saw Mr John Lane address the people complaining of stones being thrown through his windows; Lane gave the defendant Williams into custody.

John Lane, bootmaker, was in his shop on the night of the 24th May, between 9 and 10 o'clock; he heard one of the street lamps smashed and the lamp of the Royal Exchange Hotel; he went to a shaded part at the other side of the street and watched the front of his house; saw two men standing opposite his house and one of them pick up a stone; after a few minutes they walked into the middle of the street; saw them throw several stones; one, whom he believed to be Holland, ran away first, and Williams followed; witness ran after him and caught him (Williams) but he got away; found him again half an hour after, and gave him into custody; saw a youth throw a stone at the police, but did not know him; witness was struck with a stone on the cheek; he was in great bodily fear, and was afraid the mob would smash the front of his house in; one stone went through his children's bedroom window; tar-barrels and fire-balls were being trundled and thrown through and about the street, but he was not afraid of that; when he saw Williams and the other man they were not with the mob.

My thanks to Gaye Gibbs for finding the newspaper article.

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