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James Albert Gegg (1850 - 1915) : Page 5

        

These pages about James Gegg are split up as follows :

Page 1 : Bits & Pieces
Page 2 : Involvement with education
Page 3 : Newspaper extracts
Page 4 : More newspaper extracts
Page 5 : Newspaper reports of the negligently branding trial

James A Gegg

--- THE NEGLIGENTLY BRANDING TRIAL ---

11 June 1903 : Goulburn Evening Penny Post

HEADING : Charge of Negligently Branding
James A Gegg was charged with that he did at Windellama, about November last, negligently brand with his own brand a certain sheep of which he was not the owner.
Mr J Collman prosecuted. Mr A M Betts appeared for the prosecution and Mr H O'Brien for the defendant.
John Collman, stock inspector, deposed that on 20th May last he saw a sheep at Kinkora, the residence of Mr C H Roberts; it had defendant's registered tar brand; J reversed and T upside down, and C H Roberts' registered ear-mark; the tar brand had been on about six or seven months; the ear-mark would be put on when the sheep was a lamb; the sheep was a merino wether, two years old; the ear-mark was very plain; witness reported the matter to the department; and received further instructions; he had seen defendant twice or three times concerning the matter; he thought he saw him the week after he saw the sheep; witness said to him, "What is all this trouble about branding the sheep?" defendent replied, "Yes, it's strange, but I did brand the sheep"; witness asked him about cutting off the ear of another sheep, and defendant said he cut it off because the sheep had a swollen head; witness said, "You know it was wrong,as you are liable for cutting off more than a quarter of the ear"; defendant said he did not give it a thought at the time; witness said in such a case he should have reported it to the nearest police station or stock inspector; witness said he would have to take action, and defendant said, "Yes, do your duty, and after it is over I will give you something else to do"; defendant said he would plead guilty in court to cutting off the ear and branding the other sheep; witness asked him whether there was not some trouble over a former lot of sheep, and he replied, "Yes, I shore some of Robert's sheep, but I intend paying him".
Mr O'Brien objected to the evidence, as he contended the prosecution could not go beyond the particular sheep they were charged with.
Mr Betts said they were entitled to have the whole of the conversation, and the evidence was allowed.
Witness, continuing, said he asked defendant whether there had been any trouble about bond's sheep, and he replied, "Yes, I heard that young Roberts had handed over some sheep to Bond with my brand on, and I told Roberts he had no right to do so without my sanction"; witness asked him did he get the sheep from Bond, and he said "No"
To Mr O'Brien : Defendent and his son were both sheep owners; there was no resemblance between Robert's and defendant's earmark; it would be harder to see the earmark in November last before the sheep were shorn than afterwards; it sometimes happened that one sheep owner shore the sheep of his neighbour; it all depended on the care taken in the drafting; from what he had learned he knew that the sheep he saw at Kinkora was got at the saleyards; witness was present nearly every sale day, as well as several of the police force; defendant told witness that his son invited young Roberts to go through the yards at the saleyards and see if there were any of his sheep there; he did not say that young Roberts went through them and could find none of his sheep, and that Mr Henderson found the sheep afterwards; defendant did not say he would plead guilty to cutting part of the ear off; witness had been out to defendant's property, and he knew he was pretty well surrounded by the paddocks of the Roberts family; if defendant shore 2400 sheep last year and threw out 100 to 150 as not being his property. that would go to show he had exercised a good deal of care.
To Mr Betts: If ordinary care were exercised the earmark on the sheep could easily be seen; all the elections of sheep boards had not taken place.
To Mr O'Brien : Defendant had recently been elected a member of the Goulburn board, and he was a magistrate; 271 of defendant's sheep were sent to the saleyards and sold.
Carl Henry Roberts, living at Budjong, near Windellima said he was managing his father's property at that place; on 13th May he saw some of defendant's sheep in the saleyards, and amongst them, in one of the pens, he saw a sheep belonging to his father; he caught it and examined it; the [Illegible through crease mark on the paper] he afterwards spoke to his father at the yards, and he saw the sheep also; his father was at present absent on a trip to Europe; his father took possession of the sheep and he brought it to Kinkora, where it still remained; it was a 4-tooth merino wether; defendent's son, Albert, was at the saleyards and witness spoke to him; witness had no doubt about the ownership of the sheep; the earmark was very plain; since the sale day defendant had paid witness for the wool off the sheep; it was on Monday last; he paid witness at the rate of 4s per fleece, and gave him 28s altogether; it was for seven sheep shorn in November last.
To Mr O'Brien : The 28s defendant paid was for two shearings, five in 1902 and three in 1903; defendant showed witness a sheep at his place which bore his father's tar brand; it had a square out of the top of the ear, but he did not say it was his father's earmark; he did not know whose earmark it was; he never claimed it as his father's earmark; witness caught the sheep and first looked at the top of the ear; when he looked for the second mark he found it was not there; witness took possession of the sheep as he thought it might be one they had bought in Goulburn; on Monday last he was shown a sheep bearing his father's tar brand; he did not know whose earmark was on it; he did not know that the sheep was outside the court; on Monday last witness paid defendant for wool off sheep shorn by mistake in November last; he had received notices from defendant at shearing time that some of the Budjong sheep were mixed with his, and defendant had received about 20 sheep in that way; he believed odd sheep were shorn at shearing time by mistake notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care; about 2500 sheep were shorn at Budjong last year; at the saleyards Albert Gegg asked witness before the sale to go through the pens and see whether there were any of his father's sheep amongst them; witness went through the pens with his brother-in-law, and the latter found the sheep; Albert Gegg caught it and brought it to witness, who was looking through another pen; he asked what he would do with it and witness told him to let it be sold with the others and he could pay his father for it; one Budjong sheep was found amongst defendant's sheep before they left Windellima, and that was why young Gegg asked him to go through the sheep again.
To Mr Betts : The sheep he paid defendant for was at defendant's place; it bore his father's tar brand and had a square out of the top of the left ear; his father's ear-mark was a square out of the top and a square out of the side of the ear; defendent said the sheep belonged to Charlie Gegg; witness did not know Charlie Gegg's ear-mark at the time and he paid defendant on the strength of his statement that it was Charlie Gegg's; witness did not know for certain it was Charlie Gegg's sheep; when the sheep was found in the sale-yards Albert Gegg agreed to pay for the wool taken off it at the last shearing and let it be sold with the others; after the sale witness's father took possession of the sheep.
To Mr Betts : If the sheep belonged to Charlie Gegg and the other one shown him on Monday was the Gegg's mistake must have been made at witness's shed in November last; during shearing he sent a fleece over to defendant that had been shorn in mistake; that would make three mistakes.
J Collman, re-called, deposed that Charles Gegg's ear-mark was a square cut of the side of the ear; it was not out of the top of the year, but near the middle.
This closed the case for the prosecution.
The bench then inspected a sheep which defendant had brought to the court.
James A Gegg, storekeeper and grazier, residing at Windellama, deposed he was a magistrate and elected recently to the Sheep Board; he had resided at Windellama for 30 years; in May he started in with some sheep to the sale-yards; he first of all overhauled them to see if there were any of Robert's sheep amongst them, and examined them carefully; his son Albert took the sheep to the yards; they started with 275 and he got payment for 271; he did his shearing in November last and 2000 to 3000 sheep were shorn; from four to six shearers were engaged; defendant was wool-sorting while the shearing went on; he gave his shearers special instructions to be careful and not shear any strange sheep; he was away in Braidwood for some time and he first heard about the sheep in question when he returned; several of the men did the branding; he did not brand any of Robert's sheep himself; about 100 sheep were thrown out of the whole number at shearing time; he sent several notices to Mr Roberts at Budjong that some of his sheep were there and he thought that during the shearing some 50 or 60 were returned to Mr Roberts; the shearing lasted about a fortnight; he was constantly giving orders to be sure and look out for stragglers; most of the men engaged were local residents and would know Roberts's sheep; his son Charlie's ear-mark was a diamond out of the side of the ear; the sheep now in the yard was earmarked by John Tickner under witness's order; his son was away at the time; the sheep were earmarked at the 1901 shearing; about 270 sheep were earmarked at the time; it was under witness's order that the mark was put on the top of the ear instead of underneath, as he thought that was the right place; he showed the sheep outside to young Roberts on Monday last and asked him whether it was his father's earmark; he said he could not swear to it; he admitted the tar brand was his father's; witness asked him would he claim the sheep and he said he would not; defendant then said it was Charlie Gegg's and he would keep it; he remembered having a conversation with Mr Collman; he went to see him about cancelling his old ear-mark and to apply for a new one; he told the inspector he wanted a new one because when the sheep grew up his ear-mark was very much like the Budjong ear-mark; he said it was over the recent trouble with Mr Roberts; Mr Collman then mentioned the sheep having his tar brand and the Budjong ear-mark. and read defendant the section of the Act on the subject; defendant said he must admit that it was his brand, but it was not done negligently or wilfully; he also admitted to Mr Collman that he cut off part of the ear, but it was in consequence of a letter he had received from Mr Roberts of Budjong; he told him the sheep's head was swollen; Collman said he would have to see the sheep , and defendant told him it was a very rough sheep and easily distinguishable; Collman said he had written to the department about both matters, and he was waiting for a reply; defendant said something to the effect that it was owing to the grudge Roberts had against him that he was taking such a step; he believed he asked Mr Collman if he knew anything about the firm of Roberts and Henderson bringing in two of his sheep some time ago and selling them; he said he did not; witness was at the saleyards when the two sheep were sold, and he spoke to Mr Henderson; he said he was sorry, and defendant had since been paid for the sheep.
To Mr Betts : The sheep were mustered for shearing principally by his son-in-law and John Bills; the shearing was done by Thos Sweeney and his son, William Croker, Joe Larcombe, George Hockey, and witness's son Albert; defendant was sorting wool most of the time, but the catching pen was right in front of his eyes; no man named McGaw was shearing last year; he had been told that four or five of Robert's sheep were shorn at the shed; he had seen one of them; three of them he believed were pointed out to his son by Mr Roberts, jun; it was very easy to make a mistake between defendant's and Roberts's ear-mark; the Budjong earmark on one of the sheep young Roberts caught was partly hidden by the wool; the square underneath had been put so close to the head that the wool had to be pressed back before it could be seen; at the time he was speaking to Mr Collman he knew there were other sheep besides the one at Kinkora, and he said he was going to pay for them; Mr Collman did not say he was going to summon him during the conversation; he did not think it was five years ago since his two sheep were sold by Roberts and Henderson; it was while they were in partnership; he was sure he mentioned to Mr Collman that he cut the ear off on account of a letter from Mr Roberts; there was a question between Bond and defendant about some sheep having defendant's tar brand; the sheep bore Bond's earmark and several others on both ears; Bond took the sheep, and had them now.
To Mr O'Brien : The reason he left them with Bond was because he had frequently bought sheep in Goulburn bearing several earmarks and he never applied his own; he knew that Bond had sold sheep in Goulburn, and defendant still believed the sheep were some he had bought in Goulburn, but he gave Bond the benefit of the doubt and left the sheep with him to save trouble; defendant heard nothing of the sheep till they were in Bond's possession and he wrote a letter to Mr Roberts of Budjong; he got the reply produced; he also got a letter from Bond; he did not tell Collman that he would plead guilty in court; he said he would admit the branding and the cutting of the ear, but not negligently.
To the Bench : Mr Roberts had a grudge against the defendant; he did not think it was possible for a man to have a bigger grudge; Roberts had said there would be a feud between the families as long as he lived.
Albert Gegg, son of the defendant, deposed he was living at his father's place; he remembered bringing some of his father's sheep into the sale-yards; he gave them a careful examination before he started and threw out one he believed was Mr Roberts's because it had his ear-mark; he drove the sheep 25 miles, and on the road passed some of Mr Robert's paddocks; he started on Monday and reached Goulburn on Wednesday morning; he had three pens for the sheep at the sale-yards; he penned them at about 9.30; he saw Mr Roberts, jun, at the yards a few minutes after 11 o'clock, and had a conversation with him; witness told him he had some of his father's sheep here to-day, and he would like him to have a look through them before they were sold, because witness had found one before he left with his father's earmark on; they went to the yards together and looked through the first pen, and Mr Roberts said he did not see any in there; he got over into the next yard, and witness remained in the first pen; Mr Alex Henderson came along, and looked at the sheep over the fence; he said to witness, pointing out a sheep, "I say, Albert, there is one of Mr Roberts's sheep"; witness caught it and took it to Mr Roberts.
(Proceeding)

13 June 1903 : Goulburn Evening Penny Post

HEADING : Goulburn Police Court - Thursday Afternoon The case against James Gegg was continued. Albert Gegg, son of the defendant, deposed he was living at his father's place; he remembered bringing some of his father's sheep into the sale-yards.; he gave them a careful examination before he started and threw out one he believed was Mr Roberts's, because it had his ear-mark; he drove the sheep 25 miles, and on the road passed some of Mr Roberts's paddocks; he started on Monday and reached Goulburn on Wednesday morning; he had three pens for the sheep at the sale-yards; he penned them at about 9.30; he saw Mr Roberts, jun, at the yards a few minutes after 11 o'clock, and had a conversation with him; witness told him he had some of his father's sheep here to-day, and he would like him to have a look through them before they were sold, because witness had found one before he left with his father's earmark on; they went to the yards together and looked through the first pen, and Mr Roberts said he did not see any in there; he got over into the next yard, and witness remained in the first pen; Mr Alex Henderson came along, and looked at the sheep over the fence; he said to witness, pointing out a sheep, "I say, Albert, there is one of Mr Roberts's sheep"; witness caught it and took it to Mr Roberts; [Up to this point is a duplicate of the last paragraph of the previous issue of the paper] he said it could be sold with the rest, and he could be paid for it; Mr Henderson claimed a second sheep in the same yard as one of his; he said it had his ear-mark in one ear, and the witness's father's mark in the other; witness said he pointed out the sheep to his father before starting, and he said he had bought it from McCallum; Henderson said it was his sheep all right, and he would see witness's father, who would have to look to McCallum for it; they left the pens then; subsequently young Roberts came to him and told him not to let the sheep go; he told witness to leave the sheep in one of the small yards and he would look after it; he said he would take it to Kinkora and kill it; the sheep was amongst the others when they were knocked down, but it was not counted out to the buyer; Mr Henderson came to the pens when the sheep were being counted out and said he had made a mistake about the second sheep, as he found it did not belong to him; about 30 or 40 of the Budjong sheep were thrown out at his father's shed last year, and word sent to Mr Roberts; every care was taken to throw out strange sheep.
To the Bench : Between 100 and 150 strange sheep were thrown out at the defendant's last shearing; he did not think that indicated careless management of the sheep; it depended on the fences, and last year sheep got a good deal mixed through the drought.
John Tickner was called to give evidence concerning the ear-marking of certain sheep under defendant's instructions, but Mr Betts objected to the defence going into such a matter.
Mr O'Brien said he wished to show how Charles Gegg's sheep came to be ear-marked on the top instead of the side, thus causing a great similiarity between his ear-mark and that of Mr Roberts, and increasing the possibility of mistake.
The Police-Magistrate said he did not see how the evidence could assist the defence, and Mr O'Brien withdrew the witness.
E H Ayling, commission agent and alderman of the borough, deposed he had had long experience with stock and shearing sheds; if a person was shearing similiar sheep to his neighbour's he did not think two or three sheep per thousand shorn and branded in mistake was excessive.
Alexander Henderson, grazier, of Windellama, deposed he was a brother-in-law of Charles Roberts, jun; he was a partner in the Budjong estate for about ten years, but he had left there between three and four years.
The witness was asked whether they had had any trouble with defendant about sheep, but Mr Betts objected, and the Bench ruled it was going too far back.
Witness, continuing, said that mistakes were made at shearing time even with the greatest care; he spoke to Albert Gegg at the sale-yards about a sheep he thought was his; he did not claim the sheep, but he thought the ear-mark was his; that went to show that men used to sheep might easily make a mistake.
To Mr Betts : He did not think there was any similiarity between Roberts's and defendant's ear-mark, as the former had two marks; they could easily be seen after shearing.
To Mr O'Brien : He knew nothing about sheep belonging to defendant being shorn in the Budjong shed; as far as his own shed was concerned he did not believe he had shorn a sheep belonging to anyone else in 25 years; it all depended on the experience a man had.
John Collman, recalled, deposed that Mr Roberts had nothing to do with the prosecution beyond reporting the matter to witness; witness took the usual action when the matter was brought under his notice, as it was his duty to do so.
This concluded the evidence, and Mr O'Brien spoke at length in favour of a dismissal. He also took the point that the informa- [Illegible through crease mark on the paper] sub-clause. He contended that Mr Gegg had acted in a straightforward, open manner all through, and the fact that so many sheep had been thrown out during the shearing was strong evidence that care had been taken.
Mr Betts replied, and contended strongly for a conviction.
The PM said that the Bench had decided to convict. He regretted that Mr Gegg, being a magistrate, was before the court, but as it had been pointed out the Act was framed to protect stockowners, and they had to fine defendant.
Defendant was fined 1, with 2 witnesses' expenses, 3 3s professional fees, and 7s 4d court costs.
A second charge against defendant for cutting off more than a fourth of another sheep's ear was withdrawn.

        

Updated : 11 Jul 2011