ON THIS DAY – February 20, 1908

A respectable looking lad, named Arthur Edwards Melvin Smith, was charged at the General Sessions with having at Jeparit, on February 20, feloniously killed and slain John Joseph Tilley. The evidence showed that some young men were playing billiards at the Hindmarsh Hotel. Some wagering took place on the games, and prisoner was successful in winning. When prisoner was going home Tilley ran after him, and asked, “Going to shout?” he received a reply in the negative, whereupon Tilley called him by an offensive term, and prisoner turned round and struck him a blow on the back. Tilley fell and died in about forty minutes. Dr. Gawne said that death was due to suffocation. Mr. Maxwell took up the defence that the blow, was not the cause of the man’s death. His friends, he said, lifted him up, and the flow of blood caused suffocation. The judge allowed the point to go to the jury, and summed up in favour of prisoner, saying, that if the crime were manslaughter it was in a minor degree. The jury found a verdict of not guilty, and prisoner was discharged.