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“Sly Grogging” at Waanyarra

Posted by on February 28, 2012


Saturday April 29th 1893

Selling Liquor without a license

Daniel Ferguson Chief Inspector of Exercise Vs Jane Burstall

For selling liquor without a license at Waanyarra on the 18th of March. Mr Ferguson conducted the prosecution, and Mr Phelps appeared for the defence,
Mr Phelps objected to the layout of the summons which did not state what kind of liquor his client was charged with selling. This he contended was a fatal mistake and he would ask for a dismissal of the case, with costs.

Mr Ferguson said it was not necessary to state what kind of liquor was purchased, and pointed out that the Licensing Act empowered the presiding Magistrate to amend the summons if necessary.
The Police Magistrate took the same view of the case and added-to wit, beer- after liquor………………………… (text unreadable) of the similar cases, and asked the PM to make a note of his objections, which was done. Each charge was similarly amended.

Mr Ferguson in opening the case said it was taken under the 182nd section of the Licensing Act, 1890. In consequence of complaints made that liquor was being freely disposed of around Waanyarra an officer was sent to make enquires. The places were under no police control, and the Exercise department were strenuously endeavouring to put down the practice of sly grog selling, and he hoped if a conviction could be proved that this pernicious traffic was being carried on that the Bench would inflict a substantial penalty. He called Arthur George Henry, who, on being sworn, deposed that he was employed by the Customs and Revenue Department. On 18th 0f March last he visited Mrs Burstall’s place at Waanyarra and asker her if she had any wine.’

She said “No, but I have some beer” and asked her daughter to bring a bottle. A bottle of Cohn’s pale ale was brought for which I paid 1s. Was quite certain that the beer was of an intoxicating nature and was not hop beer.

To Mr. Phelps : Know Waanyarra, was at Morton’s the previous night collecting evidence. Left there on the morning of the 18th and was quite sober. I was sitting up until 4 o’clock in the morning. If anyone said I was drinking all the morning it is false. When I went to Burstall’s I asked for wine. It was not hop beer that she said she had. I told Mrs Burstall that I joined in raffles at Mortons and won a table which I sold to Mr Morton for 6s. No person was with me at the time. Did not take the bottle away with me because there were other places which I wished to visit, and the bottle might cause suspicion. I know hop beer from beer.

Mr Phelps contended that there was no corroborative evidence the bottle should have been produced. When getting up cases like these the prosecution have a right to be prepared to prove their cases without a doubt. The object of the informer is to get a conviction and he knows if he does not get a certain number of cases his name will be struck off the roll. He would show to the Bench that his client sold no beer, only hop beer, which she was entitled to sell, and would sell.

For the defence Jane Burstall was called, who deposed that she knew Henry who called at her place on the 18th March last and wanted to know if Henry Bofil was there. He said he came from Maryborough and asked for some wine. I told him I had no wine but could let him have some hop beer. He said he would have hop beer and I sent my daughter for a bottle. Henry gave me a shilling and I returned him 6d.He told me he had won a table in a raffle at Mortons and asked if I would raffle it again for him, which I refused to do.

To Mr. Phelps : It was hop beer which I made for my own use that Henry had: it had been bottled in one of Cohn’s ale bottles.

To Mr. Ferguson : Have been in the district 18 years. Henry bought a bottle of hop beer and put it down. I returned him 6d. I swear it was not Cohn’s ale which I gave him. Have bought some bottled beer at times from Mr Comrie which was drank by my husband and myself, but none of it was sold.

Florence Burstall, daughter of last witness, sworn, said she remembered Henry coming to her mother’s place on the 18th of last month and asking for wine. Mother called me and asked me to bring a bottle of hop beer, which I did.

To Mr. Ferguson : I know it was hop beer, it was made with hops, ginger and yeast. It was made about a week before, and there was some that had been made previously. Was not in the room when Henry was talking to her mother and did not hear the conversation. Have bought beer at different times for themselves, and have assisted her mother on several occasions to make hop beer. They have made it once or twice during the last two months. The last occasion being about a week before.

Henry Bofil, sworn, said he was at Mortons on the evening of 17th March and saw Henry there : he was there very late and joined him (witness) and others in raffling and drinking. Saw Henry about 11 the next morning, but did not speak to him. Could not say if he was sober as he was in a dray.

Florence Burstall, recalled by the Magistrate, said they sometimes tied the corks down with string and sometimes with wire. They did not always wash the labels off.
To Mr. Ferguson : The bottles were washed in a tub of water.

To the PM : “Hop beer” was put on the labels sometimes : it was written over the other label. Sometimes they put tinsel over the corks, but not always.

The Bench, after reviewing the evidence, considered the case disproved, and dismissed it. The Police Magistrate remarked however that the Bench certainly did not believe all the evidence of the witnesses for the defence and reprimanded them. He also pointed out that placing tinsel on the top of the bottles led to another charge which could be urged against the defendant. No costs were allowed.

Daniel Ferguson v Mrs Michael Morton.

For selling liquor at Waanyarra on the 18th March without a license to do so – to wit, beer.

Mr Ferguson conducted his own case, and Mr Phelps appeared for the defence.
Mr Ferguson gave an outline of the case, and called
Arthur George Henry, who deposed that he was employed by the Excise department for the detection of sly grog selling. On the 18th of March I was at Mortons at Waanyarra. Went there on the previous night, and stayed till the following morning.
I asked for a bottle of beer and Mrs Morton sent a little girl for one, which the son and myself drank. I gave the little girl a shilling which she gave to Mrs Morton. It was Cohn’s ale, and I am quite certain it was not hop beer which was bought.
To Mr. Phelps : Am perfectly satisfied that Mrs Morton was there and that she took the shilling which I gave to the little girl. The bottle was wired and tinselled. (A little girl was brought forward for identification, but Mr Henry would not positively swear that it was the same one which brought the beer, but it was a girl about the same age) The girl gave Mrs Morton the shilling but I got no change back. Several raffles were brought off, two of which I shook the dice on. Did not get any raffles myself.
Elizabeth Morton, sworn. Said that she was the wife of Michael Morton and lived at McKenny’s place Waanyarra. Her son purchased the old place from her husband and she had nothing to do with it now except to keep it tidy for the boys. On the morning of the 18th March Henry was having breakfast with her son and said something about ale, but she took no notice of the remark. Henry again mentioned that he would like a drink, and her son got up and got a bottle of ale which he and the gentleman drank. Never ……Mr Henry with liquor of any kind.
To Mr. Ferguson : Saw Henry in the morning. He had breakfast at her sons. Her son brought a bottle of ale which was drunk by the two. He never charged anything for it. The man gave the little girl a shilling which she supposed was for his breakfast. She gave it to me saying “The gentleman gave me a shilling Granny”. My son gave Henry ale for breakfast.
To the Bench : Gave no reply when Henry asked for beer, and took no notice.
To Mr. Phelps : Were three raffles. I never supplied any beer, and have nothing to do with the premises except looking after it for her son.
Lily Sinclair, 11 years of age, grandchild of last witness, deposed that she remembered Henry being at her uncle’s place and heard him ask her grandmother for a bottle of ale. Her grandmother never said anything. He was having breakfast at the time. Her uncle asked him to have some breakfast and brought out a bottle of beer. Henry had two glasses and uncle one. Henry laughed at her and put down a shilling on the table and she gave it to her grandmother. She thought he gave it to her as a present.
To Mr. Ferguson : Was a few minutes in the room. When he asked for ale Granny said nothing……………………(text unreadable) Don’t now how much was charged for a bottle. Don’t know how many bottles were sold. I have seen money being paid but do not know if it was for beer. Don’t know why Mr Henry gave me a shilling. Grandmother just took it, but asked no questions about it.
John Morton, son of defendant, said he resided at his father’s old place at Waanyarra. His father and mother lived some distance from him. Remembered 17th March. Henry and others were at his place raffling for a table, book and gun. On morning of the 18th got up between 7 and 8 o’clock. Henry asked my mother for some ale, but she took no notice of him. I asked Henry to have some breakfast, which he did. He said he felt seedy, and I got a bottle of ale and gave him a couple of glasses and had one myself.
To Mr. Ferguson : Was home on 17th and 18th March. On evening of 17th a gun, table and book were raffled at his place. This was about 10 o’clock. Was present when the shaking was going on. When Henry came in the morning he said he felt seedy. Don’t remember mother saying anything to him but she might have done so. Would not swear little girl was present and never saw any money given to her. I drew the cork myself and got the bottle off the table in the same room. Henry never agreed to pay anything for his breakfast and I saw no money passed. I felt I would like a glass myself and that was the reason I invited Henry to have one.
To Mr. Phelps : Never expected any money for the breakfast and never asked for any. Would have asked for it had I expected it.
The Bench, after considering the evidence, said they were satisfied that the case was proved and fined Mrs Morton £25, in default distress, two months imprisonment, and allowed costs, £1 – 14s. The fine was paid.

Daniel Ferguson v Michael Morton.

Selling liquor at Waanyarra on the 18th March without a license – to wit, wine and beer.

Mr Ferguson conducted the prosecution, and Mr Phelps appeared for the defence. Mr Ferguson gave particulars of the case.
Arthur George Henry deposed that he was on the defendant’s premises after midnight on the 17 ult. Went there in the evening in company with Pat Morrissy and was introduced by him to Morton. Asked could he have a drink, and Morton replied “Oh yes you can get plenty of drink with the company you are in”. During the evening a table &c. Was raffled, and after 12 o’clock it was decided to have a shilling in and the winner to shout. I held the money, and after the throw I handed Mrs Morton 6d and gave 6d to the man who won. There were 12 present who put in 1s each, and the winner had to pay for 6 bottles. 3 bottles of beer and 3 of wine were supplied which were of an intoxicating nature. The wine was very bad and I left it and had a glass of beer. I am quite sure it was after midnight. There was drinking, dancing and playing cards until 4 o’clock in the morning after, and I saw money passing on several occasions.
To Mr. Phelps : Don’t know who was paid the money but I know it was for liquor as I saw it supplied, Went there to collect evidence for a conviction.
Michael Morton, sworn, stated : Remember 18th March. Was at my son’s place on the morning of that day. I have nothing to do with the place, but am living a short distance away, and my wife sometimes goes down to clean and look after the place. On the evening of the 17th I was passing by and called in and stayed until about 11 o’clock. Henry gave me no money either on the 17th or 18th March for drink. I never had anything to do with the drink or the place and Henry never paid me any money at all. Saw Henry leaving at about 9 o’clock on 18th.
To Mr. Ferguson : Was at my son’s place till a few minutes past 11. In the morning I saw Henry and asked how he was getting on. There were raffles for a table and other things. They raffled for drinks but I never took any money.
John Morton, son of the last witness gave similar evidence to that which he gave in the previous case and said that no drink was sold at his place. About 12 0’clock he went out with Henry, and after putting his horse in the paddock I invited him to stay and have such accommodation as I could offer, which was accepted. Father never sold any drink to his knowledge.
To Mr. Ferguson : Cannot say what time I went to bed. My father slept at his own place, and went home after 12 o’clock.
To the Bench : Money might easily pass without my seeing it. I never received 6d from my father for drinks, nor did I authorise him to sell liquor at my place.
Michael Morton, recalled by the Bench, said he knew all the people that were present; they were friends and neighbours with the exception of Henry. Henry had a few drinks there. All the persons present were young men who had been brought up with his sons, and went to school with them.
The Bench, after a short deliberation, considered the charge proved, and inflicted a fine of £25, in default of distress, two months imprisonment, and £1-5s costs. It was also ordered that all liquor and utensils should be forfeited.
Another charge was preferred against Michael Morton was withdrawn. £1 – 1s costs were allowed.

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