Gilbert Elliott

Evidence Type: Newspaper Report
11 October 1845


On Thursday last,  before the counsel for the prosecution, in the case of the Queen v. BELL and HAMILTON, proceeded to call witnesses, GILBERT ELIOT [sic], Esq., J. P., who had been examined as a witness for the prosecution on the preceding day, went and took a seat by the table, near the Attorney General; when Mr. WINDEYER, counsel for the defendants, requested that he (Mr. ELIOT) might be desired to withdraw, not only because he had been subpoened [sic] by the defendants, but because, being Visiting Magistrate at Parramatta Factory, his presence might influence the testimony of such of the witnesses as were attached to that establishment. The counsel for the Crown objected to Mr. ELIOT’s leaving the Court, as, having been examined, he had a right to remain; moreover, that his assistance was necessary in conducting the case. A proclamation having been made at the commencement of the proceedings, that all witnesses, “both for and against,” should leave the Court, their Honors the Judges refused at first to give any distinct order relative to Mr. ELLIOT [sic], but suggested that if he were a witness in the case, he would be only acting properly if he withdrew; whereupon Mr. ELIOT immediately retired. Mr. DILLON, the Criminal Crown Solicitor, however, shortly followed, and brought him back, when Mr. WINDEYER moved for an attachment against Mr. ELLIOT, for contempt of Court. A further argument ensued, and it was pertinaciously contended by the Law Officers of the Crown, that as Mr. ELIOT had been in Court some considerable time on the preceding day, after he had given his evidence, he was an incompetent witness, and could not be called for the defence; they therefore insisted on his right to remain. The Court commented on the proceeding in very strong terms, observing that it wore an aspect of great disrespect; and the Chief Justice remarked, that if the Bench had not felt assured that it was not the intention of the parties to act in a disrespectful manner, he should have no hesitation in committing them all for contempt, including (as we understood the matter) Mr. ELIOT and the Crown Law Officers into the bargain. The affair ended by the Court ordering Mr. ELIOT to withdraw, which order was, after some hesitation, complied with, and the business of the Court proceeded.


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