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A trespass case involving pigs

Petty crime was often reported in the newspapers. The Ballarat Times reported the assault of one man after he had purportedly let his pigs eat a neighbour’s potatoes.

7 August 1857
Published Source
The Ballarat Times, 7 August 1857. Details


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POLICE COURT SUMMONS CASES ASSAULT – J. Grant v W Morton – This was a summons for an assault. Mr Cope for the complainant. The complainant, a somewhat hardy Highlander, deposed that he was a farmer at Burrambeet, and on a quarrel arising with the respect to the trespass of some pigs among the potatoes, the (defendant) hit right and left at the complainant, knocked him down and bit a piece out of his cheek. He might have been a little drunk, but he knew what he was about. He was always that way. (laughter) The defendant made a rather elaborate reply, stating that from the circumstances attending the quarrel he was obliged to hit the complainant. The case lasted a weary length, many witnesses being examined on both sides. His worship wished to have the wound on the cheek examined by a competent medical man, as the evidence had failed either to prove or disprove the case. He therefore adjourned the case till the following day. Bail allowed. Then BALLARAT TIMES, August 8th 1857 ASSAULT – Grant v Morton – This was a case remanded from yesterday in order to have medical testimony as to the character of the wound. Mr Cope for the prosecution; Mr Dunne for the defendant. Dr Allison stated his opinion that the wound was of just such character as would be occasioned by a bite. In answer to Mr Dunne, Dr Allison said the marks might have been occasioned by a fall on a stone shaped like teeth. Mr Dunne called two witnesses for the defence. One of them proved that the complainant did not know how the wound was caused. The other was Dr Stewart, and he gave his opinion that the wound was hardly caused by a bite. As there was another charge against the defendant for having assaulted the wife of the complainant, the Bench determined to postpone their decision. The next case was then gone into. Catherine Grant deposed that at the time of the former row she went to the assistance of her husband, when the defendant struck her, and bit her hand. Mr Dunne for the defence, said that he did not deny the assaults in either case, but wished to show mitigating circumstances, and produced evidence that the whole affair was occasioned by a quarrel arising from ill-feeling that existed between the two families. Grant, his wife, and a boy were all on top of Morton on the ground. The bench considered both cases proved, and fined the defendant £3, with £5 cost in each case.