ON THIS DAY….. 27th May 1922

After hearing evidence at the inquest on the body of Eugene Patrick Walsh, who died in tho Melbourne Hospital on May 27, the coroner (Dr. Cole) committed Percy Draper, aged 28 years, labourer, of Albion street, West Brunswick, for trial at Melbourne on June 15, on a charge of manslaughter. Senior-detective Clugston conducted the case for the police, and Mr. Sonenberg appeared for Draper. The death of Walsh followed a dispute with Draper in Swanston street on the night of May 20. When Draper was arrested he was charged with having unlawfully assaulted Walsh, who was in the Melbourne Hospital. Walsh died next morning, and Draper was then charged with murder. Dr. Mollison, who made the post-mortem examination, deposed that death was due to a fracture 0f tho skull and pressure on the the brain. Mrs. Ethel Davison, living in Rathdowne street, Carlton, gave evidence that she was passing the two men in Swanston street on the night of May 26. She heard one say “I won’t.” Both were drunk. One of them, whom she now knew as Draper, put one hand on the other’s shoulder to hold him up, and then hit him with the other hand. The blow knocked the man’s head back sharply, and he fell against the wall of the Orient Hotel. She said to Draper, “You are a coward to strike a like that,” and he replied, “lt’s all right; he’s not hurt.” Draper then tried to make the other man stand up, but he could not. Detective S. IH. McGuffie said that he saw Draper strike Walsh. When asked why he struck him, Draper replied, “I struck him, and that’s all about it.” At the city watchhouse witness (sic) said to Draper, “I think that man will die.” Draper answered, “I hope not. He is a pal of mine.” Next morning witness said to him, “At half-past 2 o’clock this morning Walsh died from injuries received as a result of the blow you struck him.” Draper put his hands to his face and swooned. He began to sob, and said, “He was my best pal.” The coroner said that drunkenness was no excuse for Draper’s action. It might be a mitigation. It was one of those things upon which the law looked very seriously. Bail was fixed in one surety of £100.