Trial – The Enquirer – Day 6


The Trial as Reported by The Inquirer Newspaper

Day 6

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6


The court re-opened at 10 o’clock, when Mr. McRae was recalled, but did not put in an appearance.

Dr. Waylen was re-examined by His Honor with regard to the bloodstains upon Bevan’s boots. He had no doubt as to the stains being human blood. He used high magnifying power, about 300 diameter power, to examine the corpuscles. Had undertaken similar examinations previously. On this occasion he was assisted by Dr. Stevens.

In reply to Mr. Stevens, Dr. Waylen said that if even the blood had been once wetted and dried, or mixed with other matter, it was quite possible to tell that it was human blood.

To His Honor: I have no doubt that the corpuscles were of mammalian blood.

Roderick McRae, in answer to His Honor: Had known Warburton for some time, he was a peaceably disposed man generally speaking, but upon one occasion witness and Warburton came to blows; it was last August, and it was over a pup Warburton had belonging to him; they had a tussle and witness made Warburton’s nose bleed.

To Mr. Stevens: Mr. Anketell was out in the country for a few days last October; did not know upon what business.

Mr R. McRae recalled: I could not fix the date of the fight I had with Warburton, it was soon after my brother’s death.

To a Juror: I explained to San Qui the nature of the reward that was offered for the discovery of the murderers of Messrs. Anketell and Burrup.

Joseph Polak, sworn: I was gaoler at Roebourne in January last; saw Bevan and Warburton on Monday, the day before the murder, shortly after seven o’clock a.m.; could not remember distinctly how they were dressed; they were proceeding to their work; Mrs. Bevan received permission to visit her husband after the first hearing of the prisoners; evidence had been given the morning Mrs. Bevan visited her husband in the cell; when Mrs Bevan entered the cell she said to her husband, “How are you getting on?” he replied, “I’m sure I do not know; I suppose we will have to suffer for it;” whereupon she burst into tears, when Bevan again replied, “So far there is nothing against us but the tracks.” About a week or so afterwards there was another examination of the prisoners, after which Mrs. Bevan again visited her husband. Bevan told his wife again that “There was nothing against them but the tracks.”

By Mr. Harper: The conversation between Bevan and his wife was in loud tone of voice, it was my duty to be present in the cell during the interview; I told San Qui that a reward had been offered for the murder; San Qui said he was sorry he could not get the reward as he had nothing to tell. While San Qui was speaking he appeared agitated and was scratching his head and pulling his hair.

Cavanagh, recalled, was examined by the Attorney General with reference to the boots which he repaired: the boots were stiff and I wetted them to make the pliable; they were kip fronts. It was on the 16th December, I remember, as I refreshed my memory from a book, which I have today left in Fremantle.

His Honor: You are a very sensible man. I wish other witnesses would follow your example.

To Mr. Stevens: I am too old now to cut my finger or run an awl in my hand whilst repairing boots; I might have done so when I was a boy; I have often made similar boots to the pair under notice.

To the Attorney General: I have not the slightest doubt as to the boots; before the trail I said I could recognise them by some rough stitches in the back which I did not charge for.

This was the case for the Crown.

Mr Stevens then for the space of nearly an hour and a half eloquently addressed the jury on behalf of his client, Warburton. He said that for some months past the inhabitants of Western Australia had been startled by the reports in connection with this murder, and the human mind had turned every action of the prisoners into actions of guilt. He severely censured several witnesses, especially the man Harrison and Mrs. Platt, bringing his long address to a close by asking the jury to cast aside whatever prejudices they may have formed against the prisoners by news paper reports and conversations, and in their reviewing the evidence of the witnesses they had had before them, and in considering their verdict, he added “May God defend the right.”

Mr. Harper followed in a lengthy and impassioned address on behalf of Bevan and San Qui, minutely examining the evidence that had been adduced; when the Court, at twenty minutes to two, adjourned for half an hour for luncheon.

Upon the Court re-assembling the Attorney General addressed the jury on behalf of the Crown in an exhaustive speech of about two hours duration, during the course of which he vigorously repelled the attacks made upon several witnesses by the learned counsel for the defence; and after having dwelt upon the most salient points of the evidence, concluded by claiming a verdict for the crown.

The Chief Justice summed up the case to the jury in his usual elaborate manner, but throughout his lengthy address charged strongly in favour of the prisoners.

At six o’clock the jury retired to consider their verdict, His Honor intimating that he would be ready to receive their verdict at eight. At about twenty minutes before that hour a huge crowd assembled before the small entrance door of the Court, and a terrific struggle ensued among those who were most eager to force their way into the building. The strenuous efforts made by the police to repress the disorder were utterly futile and the mob forced a way into the Court. By eight o’clock the floor of the court and the galleries were closely packed by nearly a thousand anxious and excited individuals. At ten minutes past eight the jury returned into Court and His Honor took his seat upon the Bench. Then after the jury had answered to their names, an almost awful stillness occurred, which was broken by

The Master, saying: Gentlemen! have you agreed upon your verdict?

The foreman: We have.

The Master: What say you of Charles Warburton? Guilty or not guilty?

The Foreman: Not guilty.

The Master: Frederick Bevan?

The Foreman: Not guilty.

The Master: San Qui?

The Foreman: Not guilty.

The final announcement was greeted with applause, which the Court officials were entirely powerless to suppress.

His Honor then ordered the three men to be discharged; and, after having thanked the jury for their services, adjourned the Court until ten o’clock of the next (this) morning.