“That’s Him, Your Honour”

I was reporting the preliminary hearing (Prima Facie proceedings ) of a murder charge in Nowra court for the Illawarra Mercury, the newspaper for whom I then worked.

As a special favour I was allowed to sit in the Jury box so I could hear everything.

The Accused was seated next to his solicitor in the body of the court. He was charged with leaving the Nowra Hotel one Saturday afternoon and returning with a shotgun and firing it at another man fatally wounding him.

The first witness was a none-too-bright elderly man who saw the whole incident.

Asked by the Magistrate what time the shooting took place he replied:

”Well. It was after the first leg of the double.“

Then he was asked if he could see in the court the man who fired the fatal shot. He looked around the court with his big, goggle-eyed glasses and pointed straight at me and said:

”That’s him your Honour, that’s him!”

I was picturing myself in prison garb peeking out from behind the cell bars when Keith Dale the magistrate hearing the matter said:

”Let the record show the witness identified the reporter from the Illawarra Mercury!”.

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My First Day as a Court reporter at Wollongong Court

Twas my first day reporting Wollongong Court. for The Daily Telegraph.  I was accompanied by my fellow journalist whose place I was taking.  He was very well known to the  Magistrate, Police Prosecutor and Court Constable.  

They used to drink together at the local RSL which was just down the road a bit. and on rare occasions they would go to lunch at the  club and not come back so the court sitting would have to be adjourned and all matters re-listed.  

On this occasion I was somewhat amazed when my fellow journo who was sitting next to me in the court had his name called three times outside the court by the court constable as was the usual practice..  

Turns out he was charged with drink driving. He used to drive a beat-up old Volkswagen.

“Jack  ??!,  Jack ??!,  Jack ??!,” intoned the Court Constable who then came back and announced :

“No Appearance of Jack, Your Worship..”

Prosecutor: This man is now deceased your Worship  

Magistrate: Struck out !

My journo friend (now really  deceased):  Don,t  you mention this to anyone !.

I remember (A TRUE STORY):

‘Twas my first day reporting Wollongong Court. for The Daily Telegraph.  I was accompanied by my fellow journalist whose place I was taking.  He was very well known to the  Magistrate, Police Prosecutor and Court Constable.

They used to drink together at the local RSL which was just down the road a bit. and on rare occasions they would go to lunch at the  club and not come back so the court sitting would have to be adjourned and all matters re-listed.

On this occasion I was somewhat amazed when my fellow journo who was sitting next to me in the court had his name called three times outside the court by the court constable as was the usual practice..

Turns out he was charged with drink driving. He used to drive a beat-up old Volkswagen.

“Jack  ??!,  Jack ??!,  Jack ??!,” intoned the Court Constable who then came back and announced :

“No Appearance of Jack, Your Worship..”

Prosecutor: This man is now deceased your Worship

Magistrate: Struck out !

My journo friend (now really  deceased):  Don,t  you mention this to anyone !.

Anecdotes, Yarns, Old News and New Memories

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