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ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1948

The question of justification arose in the case In which John Kenneth Donnelly (19), of Opie street, Ferntree Gully, apprenticed carpenter, was charged in the Criminal Court to-day with having murdered his step-father, John Palmer (63), laborer, of the same address, at Ferntree Gully on March 30.
The Crown prosecutor (Mr. Nolan) said the family were living unhappily. Palmer came home for his tea in an intoxicated condition and the question arose as to where the children should sleep. Palmer complained of children sleeping in his bedroom.
In a confession to the police, accused had stated: “He (Palmer) had been cruel to my mother and the children. I got home at 6.20 p.m. and he came home at 7 p.m. drunk. The children kept complaining about all sleeping in the one bedroom. I sent one of the children to his bedroom and he told her to get out. I then sent another child to the room and he threatened her. He started to swing at me. He started to belt my mother, and I went on the verandah sleepout and loaded a rifle I saw him belting my mother again as I looked through the window. I look a quick aim and pulled the trigger.
Constable Charles Light, of Ferntree Gully, said during the seven years he had been stationed there he found accused to be hard working, quiet youth. On the night of March 30 Donnelly told him that he had hit him In self defence and thought Palmer was dead. At Palmer’s four-roomed house he found the rifle, which had an empty shell in the breach.

The jury in the Criminal Court took only eight minutes to decide that John K. Donnelly, 19, apprentice carpenter, of Ferntree Gully, was not guilty of a charge of the murder or manslaughter of his stepfather, John Palmer. Donnelly told the court that he shot his stepfather on this day in 1948 when Palmer was attacking his mother. He knew his mother was going to have a baby and his only thought was to prevent Palmer from killing her or earning her such harm that she would die. Mrs Palmer, mother of the accused and nine other children, told the court that Palmer had beaten her regularly.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 25th September 1905

 

Elizabeth Isabella Christina Hubbard, a dwarf girl who was recently tried and acquitted on the charge of having poisoned her mother, Sarah Ann Robins, at Richmond, in September 1905, confessed to the crime. After the trial she had gone to live in a house in Kensington, where her stepfather and, her baby were. In a conversation with the detective she admitted to the crime, and said that the stepfather was the father of her child. Her mother was aware of what had taken place.  She was very fond of her stepfather, and while her mother was at the hospital they shared the same room. Detective McMannatniy gave the girl an hours to consider whether she should make a statutory declaration. At 3pm Rosina, in company with Mrs. Smith, with whom she is staying, and her stepfather Robins, attended at the court, and the detective took her be fore Mr. Byrne, secretary to the Law Department. There she made the following declaration : “I, Rosie Hubbard, of Percy street, Kensington, single woman, solemnly and sincerely declare that I remember making a statement to Detective Burvitt in the Melbourne Gaol, accusing Robins of murdering my mother. That is absolutely untrue. My reason for making that statement was to save myself from being convicted for the murder of my mother. I now admit giving my mother quicksilver and arsenic at intervals, as she often knocked me about, and was jealous of me, as she said my stepfather and I carried on with one another.   I am sorry for what I did to my mother, but she annoyed me, and called me such terrible names that I was determined to do it to her I am making this statement to clear innocent people.” In his report Detective McMannamny points out that it may be said that, knowing no harm could come to her, she having been acquitted, the woman has made this declaration to clear Robins. Although a few points remain to be cleaned up, they can’t affect the result as far as any further prosecution is concerned. Her declaration goes to prove that the guilty person escaped justice, and no matter at whose suggestion she made the statement, no charge can be preferred.

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1948

The jury in the Criminal Court took only eight minutes to decide that John K. Donnelly, 19, apprentice carpenter, of Ferntree Gully, was not guilty of a charge of the murder or manslaughter of his stepfather, John Palmer. Donnelly told the court that he shot his stepfather on this day in 1948 when Palmer was attacking his mother. He knew his mother was going to have a baby and his only thought was to prevent Palmer from killing her or earning her such harm that she would die. Mrs Palmer, mother of the accused and nine other children, told the court that Palmer had beaten her regularly.

 

ON THIS DAY…… 25th September 1905

 

Elizabeth Isabella Christina Hubbard, a dwarf girl who was recently tried and acquitted on the charge of having poisoned her mother, Sarah Ann Robins, at Richmond, in September 1905, confessed to the crime. After the trial she had gone to live in a house in Kensington, where her stepfather and, her baby were. In a conversation with the detective she admitted to the crime, and said that the stepfather was the father of her child. Her mother was aware of what had taken place.  She was very fond of her stepfather, and while her mother was at the hospital they shared the same room. Detective McMannatniy gave the girl an hours to consider whether she should make a statutory declaration. At 3pm Rosina, in company with Mrs. Smith, with whom she is staying, and her stepfather Robins, attended at the court, and the detective took her be fore Mr. Byrne, secretary to the Law Department. There she made the following declaration : “I, Rosie Hubbard, of Percy street, Kensington, single woman, solemnly and sincerely declare that I remember making a statement to Detective Burvitt in the Melbourne Gaol, accusing Robins of murdering my mother. That is absolutely untrue. My reason for making that statement was to save myself from being convicted for the murder of my mother. I now admit giving my mother quicksilver and arsenic at intervals, as she often knocked me about, and was jealous of me, as she said my stepfather and I carried on with one another.   I am sorry for what I did to my mother, but she annoyed me, and called me such terrible names that I was determined to do it to her I am making this statement to clear innocent people.” In his report Detective McMannamny points out that it may be said that, knowing no harm could come to her, she having been acquitted, the woman has made this declaration to clear Robins. Although a few points remain to be cleaned up, they can’t affect the result as far as any further prosecution is concerned. Her declaration goes to prove that the guilty person escaped justice, and no matter at whose suggestion she made the statement, no charge can be preferred.

 

ON THIS DAY ……… 30th March 1948

The jury in the Criminal Court took only eight minutes to decide that John K. Donnelly, 19, apprentice carpenter, of Ferntree Gully, was not guilty of a charge of the murder or manslaughter of his stepfather, John Palmer. Donnelly told the court that he shot his stepfather on this day in 1948 when Palmer was attacking his mother. He knew his mother was going to have a baby and his only thought was to prevent Palmer from killing her or earning her such harm that she would die. Mrs Palmer, mother of the accused and nine other children, told the court that Palmer had beaten her regularly.