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1860ArticlesBuriedCauseCurrently ServingDeceased PoliceFuneralGenderIncompleteLocationMaleMurderNoNSWOf eventOf graveOn DutyPhotosStateWall of RemembranceYear

Alexander McGEE


Alexander McGEE

New South Wales Police Force

Regd. #  ?

Rank:  Inspector

Stations:  B District – Sydney

ServiceFrom  ? ? ?  to  22 May 1860 = about 20? years Service


Born? ? ?

Event locationCastlereagh Street near Liverpool St, Sydney, NSW

Event date:  26 March 1860

Died on:  Tuesday 22 May 1860

Place of death?

Cause:  Shot – murdered

Age:  46

Funeral date:  Thursday  24 May 1860 @ 3.15pm

Funeral location?

Buried atDevonshire St Cemetery

Upon the closing of Devonshire St Cemetery, McGee’s body was exhumed and relocated to

Rookwood Cemetery, Presbyterian Section, 5C,  Plot 4554

Memorial at:

Alison Carter, who is not associated with NSW Police, but went out of her way and took the time to locate & take photos of the grave of our fallen brother - Alexander McGee on 6 November 2016. Thank you Alison.
Alison Carter, who is not associated with NSW Police, but went out of her way and took the time to locate & take photos of the grave of our fallen brother – Alexander McGee on 6 November 2016. Thank you Alison.

ALEXANDER is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance

*  But should be


Between 11pm and 12 midnight on 26 March, 1860 Constable Connaughty was on duty in Goulburn Street, Sydney when he saw two soldiers ( William Pike and Patrick Hughes ) carrying rifles. Believing them to be deserters he followed them along Sussex Street, across the Haymarket and along Pitt Street until he spotted Inspector McGee, Sergeant James Rush and Sergeant Francis Rooney, who were out looking for soldiers who had deserted from the 12th Regiment.

The four police officers then followed the soldiers until, when near Liverpool Street, they began to run. Rush and Rooney quickly caught up with Hughes while McGee and Connaughty chased Pike into Castlereagh Street where he suddenly stopped and pointed his rifle at the inspector.

Pike then said, ” If you attempt to take me I will shoot you. “ McGee replied,  ” Do not fire, coward. “ Pike then ran a few steps, chased by McGee, before turning around and firing at the inspector from point blank range. The bullet struck the inspector in the right groin area, exiting from his lower back. He died from the effects of the wound four weeks later.


The Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday 12 June, 1860 reported that  ” The Central Criminal Court is sitting. The two soldiers, Pike and Hughes, have been tried for shooting Inspector McGee. Hughes was acquitted, but Pike convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to three years hard labour in gaol. Hughes was in custody when the shot was fired, and as to Pike, as he was only carrying firearms, which at present is no offence against the law, the arrest of him was not justified as an act of police duty…”


At the time of his death the inspector was aged 46 years and had been a police officer for about 20 years. At the time of his death he was stationed in B Division, Sydney.


NSWBDM – Death Reg  707/1860



Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal ( NSW )

Saturday  31 March 1860     p 3


Two soldiers belonging to the 12th regiment were brought before the Court in their regimental dress by constable Connaughty, charged, the first with feloniously, shooting, intending to murder Inspector Alexander McGee, and the second with aiding and abetting in the same. Their names are William Pike and Patrick Hughes.

Witness stated, that between 11 and 12 o’clock last night I saw the prisoners in Goulburn-street with firearms in their possession (two Enfield rifles.) Believing they were about to desert, I followed them along Sussex-street down to the Haymarket and from thence into Pitt-street. I there met Inspector McGee, Sergeant Rooney, and Sergeant Rush. We then followed the prisoners into Liverpool-street, where they began to run. Hughes was pursued by Sergeants Rush and Rooney, who succeeded in apprehending him.

The other prisoner continued running and was pursued by Inspector McGee and myself. As he turned the corner of Castlereagh-street, prisoner (Pike) said ‘ If you attempt to follow me I’ll shoot.‘ Finding that we were still pursing him, he presented his rifle. McGee, who was close beside at the time said ” don’t fire you coward,” and prisoner immediately run on for about 10 or 15 yards, and when we got within about a length of his rifle, he turned round, and without saying anything, shot McGee through the thigh. So soon as the prisoner fired McGee said ‘ I am shot.’ I asked him where ? he replied through the thigh. In the mean time I secured the prisoner, who the moment he fired, said, ‘ Oh, you have pulled the trigger. ”

Sergeant Rush deposed as follows : About twenty minutes past 11 o’clock last evening, I was at Cowell’s public house at the corner of Goulburn street, in plain clothes. Pike came in with a rifle, the barrel of which was partly covered by the skirt of a woman’s dress. I noticed blood on his hands. Immediately after entering, he called Hughes in, who was standing at the door, but the latter replied, ” No ; don’t you see, you b—-y fool?Hughes then put his piece, which was clipped, to the charge. They both then went away, and l fancied that, although in plain clothes, Hughes knew me. I then followed them into Sussex-street where, whilst turning round they saw me, and brought their pieces to the charge. Hughes at length said to me, ” Can you tell me where the old Australian Inn is ?” their pieces being still charged towards me. I told them, yes, and that I would go and show them if they chose.

They then brought their pieces to the trail, and I proceeded in company with them. I said, you seem to have just come off a long journey, having your firearms with you. They said they had just come from Melbourne, and were going to a place near Dixon’s mill.

After we had got near the spot indicated, Hughes said, ‘ You had better not come any further.’ but I persisted in following them to the Hay Market, where they had some conversation. They then presented their arms at me and I went away and put on my uniform coat. Immediately after I came up with them again in Pitt-street, where I also saw Inspector McGee and told him what had occurred.

Prisoners next went into Liverpool street and instantly began to run. Sergeant Rooney was at this time close behind, and whilst McGee pursued, Pike stopped Hughes, who thereupon brought his piece to bear. I knocked it aside twice with one hand and struck him in the head with my fist, which caused him to stagger. I took advantage of the opportunity and clasped him round the waist with my two arms, including in the fold the rifle also.

In the mean time Rooney came up and wrenched the rifle from his grasp. Whilst in the act of apprehending him, I heard some one ‘say, ” If you come any further I’ll shoot you, ” and soon after I heard the report of a gun.

I produce the rifle which we took from Hughes. It is loaded and capped. On searching him at the station house, I found in his possession 19 rounds of ball cartridge and 25 percussion caps which I also produce. ( Several rounds of ball cartridges, together with some percussion caps, were also found on the other prisoner. )

Sergeant Rooney gave evidence much to the same effect as that of the previous witnesses.

John Marshland, a sergeant belonging to the 12th Regiment, recognised the two prisoners, who he said had no authority to be out last night. He believed that they effected their escape by climbing the walls. Soldiers were never allowed to carry firearms through the streets except when on duty.

As Inspector McGee is at present dangerously ill in the Infirmary the Bench remanded the case until this day week. — Empire of Wednesday.


The Sydney Morning Herald

Wednesday  23 May 1860     p 1

Died on the 22nd instant, Mr. Alexander McGee, aged 46 years, late Inspector of police, after a lingering illness from the effects of a gunshot wound on the 26th March, leaving a wife and large family and a numerous circle of friends to mourn his loss.


The Sydney Morning Herald

Wednesday  23 May 1860     p 8

FUNERAL.— The Friends of the late Mr. ALEXANDER McGEE, late Inspector of police, are respectfully requested to attend his Funeral. The procession to move from his late residence, Police Station, George-street South, on THURSDAY AFTERNOON, at a quarter-past 3 o’clock.
REUBEN THOMAS, undertaker,

141, York-street, late of 54, King-street.

Empire ( Sydney )
Thursday  24 May 1860     p 8
THE Officers and Members of Lodges No. 260, 206, and 207, are respectfully requested to attend the FUNERAL of Brother ALEXANDER McGEE, late of 260 ; to move from his late residence, Police Station, George-street South, THIS DAY, 24th instant, at 3 o’clock p.m.
H. WILSON, Secretary pro tem.
*   *   *
FUNERAL.-The Friends of the late Mr ALEXANDER McGEE, late Inspector of Police, are respectfully requested to attend his Funeral. The procession to move from his late residence, Police Station, George street South, THIS (Thursday) AFTERNOON, at a 4 o’clock.
REUBEN THOMAS, Undertaker, 141, York-street,

late of 64, King.street.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday  24 May 1860         p 3


IN our obituary of yesterday we had to record the death of Inspector Alexander McGee, of the police force, of Sydney. ” We have long been expecting to make this announcement, for it was on the 26th of March last that McGee, in the firm and intrepid performance of his duties, received the gunshot wound from which, to use the more than ordinary picturesque language of the bar, he, up to the 22nd May ” did live and languish, and languishing ” did die.

The particulars of the occurrence which caused this lamentable event have been recorded in our columns, and are reproduced in the appended, report of the inquest which took place yesterday. The funeral will take place at three o’clock to-day ; and, when it is over, we shall have to add some particulars of Mr. McGee’s career in the police force, all of which we may say are highly creditable to him as a public officer in whatever grade or rank he moved. We are happy to say that we have been informed by the superintendent of Police that a pension to the widow of £50 can be afforded out of the Police Fund.

It is a somewhat singular coincidence that this will be the second instance of relief from the Police Fund which has Mrs. McGee will receive. She was formerly married to a man of the name of Watson, in the police force, who, while conveying a prisoner to the watchhouse, was so seriously kicked in the back that consumption was induced, and he speedily died. On that occasion the donation of £100 was paid to the widow out of the Police Fund. Still we think that some testimonial from the citizens in token of their approval of the gallant conduct of McGee is eminently due.


Mr. J. S. Parker, the city coroner, having, assembled a jury, and viewed the body, commenced the inquest in his office at ten o’clock yesterday morning. The names of the gentlemen who composed the jury are as follows : James Carroll, foreman ; Morris Castle, Edward Sadlier, J. J.E. Lisak, Frederick M. Moore, William Hankin, Thomas S. Pope, R. C. Hordern, John Balantine, Patrick Fox, Timothy Lane, Charles Frazer, and David Baxter.

William Pike, the soldier charged with firing the shot at the deceased ; and Patrick Hughes, charged. with being an accessory thereto, on remand from the Police Court, were brought before the Court by Inspector Foran. The first named prisoner is a young man of about eighteen years of age ; and the other is ‘ something above twenty. The former held down his head, and throughout the inquiry appeared to feel the awful nature of the situation in which his misconduct had placed him ; but the latter appeared intelligent, and asked a number of questions from several of the witnesses.

James Rush, sergeant of police in the B. Division, on being called, deposed as follows : At about half past eleven o’clock on the night of the 26th March last, I went into the Sportsman Inn, at the corner of Pitt and Goulburn streets ; was in plain clothes at the time ; while in the act of drinking a glass of ale a soldier, whom I believe to be the prisoner Pike, came in with a rifle in his hand ; I observed blood on the back of his left hand, and on the rifle something like part of a woman’s dress ; I thought there was something wrong in the soldier having a rifle with him ; I gave Mr. Cowell, the publican, a wink, and turned round for the purpose of closing the door, when I observed another soldier outside with his rifle at the charge pointed towards the house ; the soldier inside said, ” come in and have a drink,” to which the soldier outside replied ” come out of that you b—-y fool, don’t you see ? ” I did not think it safe to interfere ; the soldier in the house, after drinking a glass of ale, went out ; I remarked to Cowell “there is something wrong; I will follow them ; ” I did follow them ; they went down Goulburn-street, and passed constable Potter ; when I came up to constable Potter I told him to follow them at some distance ; when they reached Sussex-street they turned to the left, and went down Sussex-street South ; I saw a Policeman standing at the corner of Sussex and Goulburn streets, and he was joined by constable Potter immediately afterwards ; as I followed after the soldiers I heard one of them remark, ” I tell you it is not ;” I saw that the rifles were capped ; I came up by the men, and Hughes said to me, ” where is the Old Australian Inn? ” I replied ” I do not know ; I know Stewart’s Australian Inn, and I will show it you.” I further remarked ” I suppose you are strangers in Sydney, having your rifles, and come off a long journey;” Hughes replied ” we have just come up from Melbourne by the steamer,” which I knew to be false. When the prisoners got near Mr. Cooper’s wine stores, Sussex-street South, they turned to the right. I said ” you had better not go that way or you will get bogged, it takes you into the harbour.” Hughes said “you had better come no further.” I said ” I will ; I live that way, and am going home; I will show to you the house you asked for,” I saw two policemen coming down Sussex street towards us. The soldiers proceeded into George-street, and passed over to the Haymarket, talking to each other, but I did not hear what they said ; while passing over the Haymarket they turned round and presented their rifles at me ; I thought it best to retreat, which I did very slowly ; as soon as I got out of the soldiers’ sight I ran in to Goulburn street, and asked Mr. Quigley, a publican, to lend me a black coat, which he did ; I went up Goulburn street and met inspector McGee coming out of Durand’s-alley with a female prisoner and several constables ; I said to inspector McGee “there are two soldiers out with rifles, and I think they mean mischief :” he asked ” Where are they? ” and at the same time the soldiers passed up Pitt-street. McGee said ” Come on, let us take them ” I laid hold of the inspector and said ” You had better not go, they will shoot you ; I have changed my clothes since the soldiers last saw me, they will not know me; I will get them into a public-house, and while there you can come up with some other men and secure them;” he replied “that will be the best way ; I followed the soldiers up Pitt-street ; they turned into Liverpool-street, and as soon as they turned the corner I heard some person running ; the soldiers turned round and commenced running also ; I was on the prisoners’ right at the time, and I stepped over and faced Hughes; he presented his rifle at me ; I hit the rifle aside, and struck at the man, but the blow did not take effect ; the soldier stepped back and placed his rifle on my chest ; I knocked the rifle aside again and struck the man on the forehead, which cut his forehead and staggered him ; I flung my arms around him and the rifle and held him tight ; at that moment I saw sergeant Rooney passing, and I called out to him to come and take the rifle ; he came and wrenched the rifle from the prisoner Hughes’ hands ; I then let the man go and knocked him down, and while he was down I, with the assistance of sergeant Rooney, secured him ; I then said to sergeant Rooney, “go and see where the inspector is,” and at the same moment I heard the words ” stop or I will shoot you ” ; in reply, I heard the deceased say, ” Don t fire, you coward ;” immediately afterward I heard the report of a gun ; about half a minute after that sergeant Rooney and constable Connaughty came round with the prisoner Pike ; I took the rifle and found by the smell of gunpowder, as also by its feeling warm, that it had been recently used ; I then picked up the rifle lying on the ground, and found it was loaded and half cocked; with the assistance of the other two officers I took the two prisoners to the B station-house ; I searched Hughes and found on him nineteen rounds of ball cartridge, between twenty and thirty percussion caps, and a stopper to fit in the rifles; I also saw nineteen rounds found on the prisoner Pike; each prisoner had a package broken, as though a charge had been taken out of them ; the next morning the prisoners were brought before the Police Court : on that day (27th March), I went to the Victoria Barracks, and in my presence the charge now produced was drawn from the rifle taken from Hughes ; in the afternoon, as the prisoners were being brought out of the Central Police Court, the prisoner Pike said, “How is the man that was shot? I replied “He is very bad ; you had better not say anything to me about this charge, or I shall give it in evidence against you ; ” he then said, I did not intend to shoot him ; ” I said. ” you did very wrong in bringing your rifles out at all ” ; he answered, ” we wanted something before we left Sydney, as we intended to have taken the bush if you had not come across us.”

By a juryman : I do not know whether the prisoners knew me when they first saw me at the public-house ; they had ample opportunity to shoot me while I was following them ; had I not gone away when they told me, at the Haymarket, I should have been in danger of my life.

By the Coroner : I produce a piece of lead given me by Mr. Dixon, who said he found it in his house ; he lives in Castlereagh. Street, near where the deceased was shot ; the prisoners appeared to know what they were doing, but they were excited ; I saw Mr. McGee at the Dungate Inn the same night, and asked him if he was much hurt ; he replied, ” hurt, yes. ‘ The prisoners declined to ask this witness any questions.

Francis Rooney, sergeant of police in the B division, deposed : On the night of the 26th March last was on duty in company with the deceased, inspector McGee, in Goulburn-street ; sergeant Rush came and reported to us that two soldiers, having guns in their possession, were in Pitt-street, and that one of them had his hands smeared with blood ; all three of us proceeded into Pitt-street at once, and we observed the soldiers going along the middle of the street towards Liverpool -street ; each of the soldiers had a gun ; they turned up from Pitt to Liverpool street, and were walking quickly ; we followed them ; we were dressed in police uniform, and the soldiers were dressed in their military uniform ; we ran after the soldiers, and they, apparently seeing us, ran up toward Castlereagh-street ; sergeant Rush was in advance of me and the deceased ; I saw sergeant Rush lay hold of the prisoner Hughes by the neck and put his arms round his (Hughes’) arms ; the prisoner still held the gun under his arm, and sergeant Rush tried to shift it ; I and the deceased came up, when the prisoner pointed the gun at me ; I caught hold of the gun, pushed it aside, and wrenched it out of his hands ; sergeant Rush then knocked the prisoner down and secured him ; the deceased started off after the other prisoner (Pike), who turned round into Castlereagh-street; a few seconds afterwards, I heard a report of a gun in the direction in which the prisoner had ran ; I left the prisoner Hughes in charge of sergeant Rush, and followed after the deceased, and when I turned the corner I saw the deceased being carried by two men into the Dungate Inn ; I followed after the prisoner Pike, and when I came up to him he was in the custody of constable Connaughty ; I assisted to secure the prisoner, and we proceeded with him to where I had left sergeant Rush with the prisoner Hughes, and we then took both prisoners to the B division watch house ; both prisoners appeared sober, cool, and fluent ; The same night a report was received from the military barracks that Patrick Hughes and William Pike were absent from the barracks with firearms and ammunition ; I am not positive whether the prisoners wore belts when apprehended ; they had no side firearms ; the gun taken from Hughes was loaded. The prisoners declined to ask this witness any questions.

Timothy A. Cowell said ; I keep the inn known by the sign of the Sportsman, at the corner of Pitt and Goulburn streets ; at about five minutes after eleven o’clock on the night of the 26th March last, the prisoner Hughes and a civilian came into my bar ; the civilian called for a pint of ale, which he paid for, and which was drunk between them ; Hughes drank part of his and went outside, and during his absence sergeant Rush came in in plain clothes ; both prisoners came immediately afterwards, each having a rifle in his hand ; Mr. Rush looked at the men with suspicion, and appeared as though he was going to close the doors on them ; one of the rifles had part of a woman’s skirt on it, much smeared with blood I said to Mr. Hush ” there is something wrong them” he replied, ” I will follow them and see what they are up to;” the soldiers then went away, and Mr. Rush followed them; half an hour afterwards I saw the two soldiers come up Pitt-street, and Mr. Rush came up Goulburn-street ; Mr. Rush had changed his coat ; he was followed by inspector McGee and three or four constables, and they all followed the soldiers up Pitt-street ; I closed my door and followed after the police ; just after turning the corner of Liverpool-street, the soldiers commenced running, and the police after them ; I saw Mr. Rush seize hold of Hughes, and I went to assist him I saw Hughes twice place his rifle against Mr. Rush’s breast, as if he wanted to let the rifle off ; before I could render any assistance, sergeants Rush and Rooney had Hughes on the ground and secured ; I then went into Castlereagh -street and saw the barrel of a rifle projecting from a butcher’s shop, and I saw Mr. McGee and two other police officers in front of the rifle ; the rifle was let off, and Mr. McGee said “I am shot;” I took hold of him and assisted him to sit down, and also assisted to put the handcuffs on Pike ; I then assisted to carry Mr. McGee into the Dungate Inn ; I went to the Police Station with the police, and saw a quantity of ammunition taken from both prisoners ; I heard Pike, when he was on his way to the station house, say he was sorry what he had done; when I saw the rifle projecting from the butcher’s shop I heard someone say ” I will fire,” when Mr. McGee said, ” don’t fire you coward;” I think the distance Between Mr. McGee and the rifle, when it went off, was about ten yards ; the rents in the clothes now produced corresponded with those caused by the gunshot wounds, the rifle, when it went off, was pointed in the direction of Mr. Dixon’s house ; Pike was very much excited when apprehended.

By the prisoner Hughes : Sergeant Rush was in front of you when you had your rifle against him ; there was part of a skirt of a dress on your rifle ; I cannot say whether there was any blood on the rifle.

Sergeant John Marsland, of the 12th Regiment, deposed : I know the prisoners before the court ; Hughes belongs to my company, and has been in the regiment since he was a boy ; Pike landed here on the 9th July last and they are both in the habit of drinking, and they have been punished for it ; on the 26th March last Hughes’ was confined in barracks, and was reported absent at about half-past eight o’clock p.m. ; 1 hour later Pike was reported missing ; their rifles were also found to be missing ; it is contrary to the regulations to take arms out of the barracks without orders ; the men are served with twenty rounds ammunition each for their Enfield rifles ; after the prisoners were reported missing I got a picket, by order of the commanding officer, and went down to the town to look for the missing men. ; I reported the absence of the men at the different police stations ; I left the picket at the Detective Police Office, and went with inspector Hogg in search of the prisoners ; we were informed by a constable of the shooting of inspector McGee by one of the prisoners ; I believe Pike was apprehended once before for being a deserter but he had not his rifle with him then ; the men have to be in barracks by eight o’clock in the winter, and at nine o’clock in the summer.

By the prisoner Hughes : The cause of your misfortunes in the regiment is drink.

By the Coroner : I believe that Hughes struck a non commissioned officer once. By the prisoner Hughes : You are a pretty good soldier when sober.

Constable James Potter said : The clothes produced are those worn by Inspector McGee on the night of the 26th March inst. I helped to strip him and to convey him to the infirmary : I was present when he was shot ; and I heard the prisoner Pike say ” stand back or I’ll shot you ; ” and I heard Mr McGee say, ” don’t fire, you coward ;” I saw the rifle go off, and heard Mr. McGee say ” I am shot,” you pulled the trigger yourself ; ” There was no person near enough to Pike when he fired the rifle to pull the trigger but himself.

By the prisoner Hughes : The night was too dark to see the trigger or Pike’s rifle.

Constable Patrick Connaughty, who was also present at the affray, corroborated the testimony of the other witnesses.

Richard Dixon, a tailor residing at 366, Castlereagh–street, deposed : On the night of the 26th March last, I heard the report of a gun ; I got out of bed, procured a light, and found at the foot of my bed the piece of lead now produced ; it appears that one of the posts of my bed had been struck by the bullet : I found the upper square of glass in my window shattered.

John Cecil Read, inspector of the B division, said, the deceased inspector McGee was an inspector under me in the division ; he was shot on the night of the 26th March last, and I had him conveyed to the Infirmary ; I understand he has been twenty years in the police service ; I have known him for five years ; he was generally liked both by the police and the public ; he was a very active police officer ; he leaves a wife and five children not well provided for.

James Robertson, M.D., surgeon to the Sydney Infirmary deposed : Alexander McGee was admitted as an in-patient into the Sydney Infirmary on the 27th March, and died on the 22nd May. He had received a wound on the right groin, immediately to the outside of the artery in that part. There was also a wound in the buttock of the same side. These wounds were no doubt caused by a bullet, the first mentioned being the point of entrance, the latter the place of exit. He died from the effects of this wound. The bullet passed between the points mentioned through the arch of the thigh bone. The wound was almost certain to prove fatal from the first. After death I made an internal examination of the wounded parts. I did not find any foreign body therein ; the deceased told me he had been shot by a soldier ; such a wound might have been caused by such a bullet as that now shown me.

The Coroner then summed up, and the jury, after five minutes’ consideration, agreed to the following verdict :- ” We find that the deceased. Alexander McGee, died from the effects of a gun shot wound, fired by William Pike at inspector McGee, and we pronounce him guilty of wilful murder ; and we find Patrick Hughes guilty of being an accessory before the act, and pronounce him guilty of wilful murder.”

The jury appended the following rider to their verdict:-” We (the jury) unanimously beg, in the strongest possible manner, to recommend the unfortunate widow and five children of the late inspector McGee to the kind consideration of the Government, and more especially after the many years that the late Mr. McGee has discharged his duties with so much, credit to himself, and with such utility to the public. And we also consider it our duty to record, on our behalf as well as on the part of the public generally, our high approval of the conduct of sergeant Rush, who was not on duty on the night in question, and of the conduct of sergeant Rooney and constables Potter and Connaughty.”

The prisoners Pike and Hughes were then removed in custody to the gaol, at Darlinghurst, to await their trial at the next sitting of the Central Criminal Court.

Empire ( Sydney )
Saturday  26 May 1860     p 4



The SPEAKER took the chair at half-past three o’clock.


Mr. ROBERTSON in reply to a question from Mr. Hoskins, said that the widow of Alexander McGee, late Inspector of Police, recently deceased, who died from the effects of a wound received in the execution of his duty, would receive an allowance, which would be provided from the Police Superannuation Fund, under the recommendation of the Board who managed it.

Empire ( Sydney )
Wednesday  6 June 1860     p 3


BEFORE Mr. Justice Wise.


William Pike and Patrick Hughes, private soldiers of the 12th Regiment, were indicted for having at Sydney, on the 26th March, 1860, feloniously, wilfully, and of their malice aforethought, killed one Alexander McGee.

The Attorney-General conducted the prosecution. The prisoners were defended by Mr. Isaacs.

The first witness called was constable Connaughty, of the Sydney police. He deposed that on the day named in the indictment, Monday, 30th March, he saw the prisoners going along Goulburn-street, with fire-arms in their possession. Followed them into Pitt-street, where witness was joined by inspector McGee, and two other police officers. The prisoner Hughes was arrested by sergeants Rush and Rooney. Witness and deceased pursued Pike into Castlereagh-street. When they passed Liverpool-street, Pike turned round and said, that if they attempted ” to come near him,” or ” apprehend him” he would shoot them, McGee said, ” don’t fire, you coward,” he afterwards ran up Castlereagh-street, followed by witness and deceased, When they were within three or four yards of the prisoner he turned round and fired, and deceased called out ” I am shot.” The prisoner said ” you pulled the trigger yourself.” Deceased was not near enough to touch the rifle. About half-a-minute elapsed between the time when the prisoner said he would fire and the time when deceased was shot. Prisoner had run about twelve yards. Pike was subsequently taken by witness and some other constables. On his person were found nineteen rounds of ball cartridge and some percussion caps.

Cross-examined by Mr. Isaacs : Witness and deceased were equally close to the prisoner when be fired. Believed that constable Potter was close behind. As the prisoner went along, he had his piece at the trail.

By the Attorney-General: Did lose sight of Pike between his leaving the Haymarket and firing his piece, but did not lose sight of him after he threatened to shoot until he fired.

By his Honor : Before the shot was fired McGee said nothing to the prisoner except what had already been told. After the shot was fired, be said “secure that scoundrel.”

Sergeant Rush, of the Sydney police, deposed that, on the night of the day named in the indictment, he saw the prisoner Hughes drinking ale in Cowell’s public house at the Haymarket. He observed that he had his rifle. Witness was not on duty, and was not in uniform. He observed that Hughes had the skirt of a woman’s gown on his rifle, and that there was blood on the back of his hand. Witness saw Pike outside with his rifle at the charge, pointing into the public-house. Hughes called to him to come in and have a drink, when Pike said ” come out of that you b—-y fool, don’t you see ?” Hughes came out, and both went away, followed by witness. The prisoners asked witness where was the Old Australian Inn, and witness said he knew where Stewart’s Australian Inn was, and he would show it to them. Witness said ” you must be strangers in Sydney, as you have your rifles, and don’t know your way.” Hughes said,”yes, we have just arrived from Melbourne.” After proceeding some distance, one of the prisoners said that he had better not follow them any farther, and witness said he was going home, and would show them the house they asked for. Having gone a little farther, the prisoners turned round and presented their pieces, telling the witness to go away. Believing himself to be in danger, be walked away slowly, until be met inspector McGee, and some other policemen. Witness subsequently apprehended Hughes. Before he was taken he twice placed the rifle at the breast of witness, and kept rambling in his packet for a cap. While he was securing Hughes, he heard someone call out ” Don’t come any nearer or I will fire,” and heard McGee voice calling out ” Don’t fire, you coward.” Witness subsequently took both the prisoners to the watch-house assisted by other officers. Saw the charge produced drawn out of Hughes’ rifle at the watch-house. On Tuesday, after the prisoners were remanded. Pike asked witness ” How is the man who was shot. ‘ On witness making some reply, he said ” I did not intend to shoot him.” Witness said ” You did wrong in coming out of the barracks with your rifles at all.” Pike said ” We wanted something before we left Sydney, as we intended to take the bush for it,”

Cross-examined: It was between eleven and twelve at night when witness saw the prisoners at the public house. Was standing in front of the bar when Hughes came in. Believed it was Hughes that came in and drank at the bar. Believed that he said it was Hughes that came in and Pike that stood outside when he gave his evidence on former occasions. (The witness’ deposition were here placed in his hands.) Believed still that it was Pike who stood outside. He had his piece at the charge, but not presented. When the conversation took place about the Old Australian Inn, the prisoner had their pieces at the trail. Believed he had never said that they had their arms at the charge at this time. [The depositions were handed to the witness.] When witness was apprehending Hughes the prisoner twice brought the piece to the present. The first was not a good present; the second was. At the second time, witness threw his arms round the prisoner, and called to sergeant Rooney, who took the rifle away.

By the Attorney-General: From the time when Hughes first presented his piece till he was arrested, a very short period elapsed.

By Mr. Isaacs : Could have heard the words, ” Don’t come any further,” or ” Don’t follow me,” distinctly, but was otherwise engaged, and did not recollect the exact words.

Sergeant Rooney, of the Sydney police, corroborated the evidence of the preceding witnesses. He accompanied inspector McGee in pursuit of the prisoners. Followed them at a distance of about twenty yards. When they turned round the corner, at the Sugar Works, witness and McGee ran. When they came into Liverpool-street, saw Rush and Hughes scuffling, and took the rifle away. Rush knocked Hughes down and witness handcuffed him. On the way to the station Pike said that if he shot the man he would suffer for it. The prisoners appeared to be sober.

Cross-examined : Witness took the rifle from the prisoner. Never said that it was Rush who took away the rifle.

By his Honor : While witness and McGee were together, neither spoke to the prisoners.

Dr. Robertson, surgeon to the Sydney Infirmary, de-posed to McGee having been received into that institution. He was suffering from a gun-shot wound in the groin. The wound was the cause of death. The ball had gone through the neck of the thigh-bone.

By Mr. Isaacs : Such a wound would almost necessarily be fatal from the first. Never knew a case of recovery wherein the thigh-bone was shattered. The ball had gone right through the neck of the thigh-bone at a place where the bone is thick. Examined the body after death, and observed a variety of symptoms, the natural result of the wound. The external orifice of the wound had at one time completely healed ; that was proper treatment, inasmuch aa the matter passed out at another opening below.

By his Honor : The ball entered in front. If the par-ties were close, the weapon must have been pointed downwards. Deceased appeared to be rather a tall man.

By Mr. Isaacs: McGee died on the 22nd May, and witness first saw him on the 27th March. Did not say that the wound was necessarily fatal from the first, but that it was almost so. That was not a long period for a man to survive after receiving a fatal wound.

Alfred Cowell, a publican, living at the corner of Pitt and Goulburn streets, corroborated the evidence of the preceding witnesses, as to what occurred at his house. Hughes was in company with a civilian when be first came to the house. The witness was also present when McGee was shot, and he accompanied the prisoners to the watch-house. Heard Pike say that he was sorry of what he had done.

By Mr. Isaacs : Could not say how near the rifle was to McGee when it was first presented. When it was fired McGee was about twelve feet away, the rifle projecting from the side of a wooden house, close to which the prisoner stood.

By his Honor: Was distant about ten or twelve yards from McGee and the soldier when tho shot was fired. When Hughes first came into the public-house, he had not the rifle with him. He wanted to take out some drink ; and witness not allowing him to do so, he went out, and came back in company with the other soldier, Hughes this to,e carrying his rifle. It was between his coming in and going out that Rush came in. Pike only took one step inside the door. He d d not come up to the bar.

Constable Potter, of the Sydney police, corroborated the proceeding evidence, as to what took place at the time when McGee was shot.

By Mr. Isaacs : Saw the prisoners go along Goulburn street in the course of the night. Noticed nothing particular about them, except that they had fire-arms, and that the barrels of the rifles were covered up. Witness was behind McGee when the shot was fired. Was not in a line with the deceased, but was a little towards one side. Deceased was at the curb, prisoner was in a gateway. Heard the words used by Pike-” Stand back, or I’ll shoot you,” or some words to that effect. The caution was spoken twice. After it was spoken the second time deceased did not advance. To the best of his belief, McGee was about two yards from Pike when the shot was fired. The prisoner was in a gateway, but was not out of sight or behind a corner.

By his Honor : There were marks of fire both on the coat and trousers of deceased.

Richard Dickson, residing in Castlereagh-street, deposed that on the day following the occurrence, a bullet was found in his house, which was opposite the place where the shot was fired. The bullet had struck the wall about sixteen feet from the ground.

Sergeant Marsden, of the 13 th Regiment, proved that one of the two rifles produced belonged to Hughes ; who the other belonged to, he could not say. Saw the prisoners on the evening of the 27th. Did not see them again till he saw them in the Court.

Mr. Isaacs submitted that there was no case to go to the jury, in regard to either of the prisoners.

His Honor said be could not understand why the case should be shut out from the jury ; but he would like to hear what evidence there was that the police were in the execution of their duty in arresting the men.

The Attorney-General said there was no immediate evidence to that effect; but it was quite clear that a man had lost his life by the acts of the accused.

Mr. Isaacs still adhered to his opinion. He submitted that in regard to Hughes there was no case whatever. It was not shown there was any previous compact, and therefore. Hughes could not be an accessory before the fact.

The Attorney-General submitted that it was clear from the evidence that there was a ” joint object on the part of the prisoners, from beginning to end, namely, to shoot whomsoever interfered with them, in the proceeding which they had adopted, of going about the city at a late hour at night with loaded firearms in their hands.

His Honor thought there was no evidence to show a joint intention to kill anyone, and that, therefore, there was no evidence to criminate Hughes. The only offence of which the prisoners were shown to have been guilty, in the first instance, was carrying loaded fire-arms through the streets, and that was no offence at the present time, although it was an offences three months ago. He should direct the jury to return a verdict of not guilty in the case of Hughes. ‘ ‘

Mr. Isaacs then proceeded to argue that there was no case against the prisoner. There was nothing to justify the police in interfering with the men. No felony had been committed ; there was no reason to suppose that a felony had been committed. The Arms Act, be believed, was not in existence since November last ; but at all events, it was sufficient for his purpose that the Act was not now in force; and if it were, the military were exempt from its operation. There was not word addressed to the men from beginning to end by any policeman in uniform, except the words used by deceased, ” don’t shoot, you coward ;” and there was no reason to believe that the accused were not themselves looking for deserters, and therefore having the best cause to keep themselves aloof from other persons. The learned counsel cited two cases in support of his argument ; but eventually admitted that the several cases went rather to show that the circumstances on which he laid stress, simply went to reduce the crime for murder to a lesser offence.

The Attorney-General contended that the charge of murder was sustainable, inasmuch as the aggression came from the prisoner Pike. That he was the aggressor was shown by the fact that be had, before receiving any provocation from the deceased, either by word or act, held out a threat, saying, ” If you follow me, I will shoot you.”

Mr. Isaacs addressed the jury, for the defence.” He commenced by urging upon them to disabuse their minds of any impression which they might have received from the extensive discussion which the case had received in the public prints and otherwise. He submitted that if they arrived at the conclusion that the prisoner believed the police were about to arrest him, then the crime was reduced from murder to manslaughter, for the deceased had no more right in law to arrest the prisoners than to arrest him, while he was addressing the jury. He contended, however, that there was good reason to believe that the rifle went off accidentally, looking at the fact that the prisoner previously had ample occasion to fire after the commencement of the pursuit, and had, half a-minute before, presented the weapon without firing.

The Attorney-General declined to reply.

His Honor summed up.

The jury, after a consultation of twenty minutes, returned a verdict of not guilty in the case of Hughes, finding Pike guilty of manslaughter.

His Honor sentenced Pike to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour in the gaol at Darlinghurst, for a period of three years. Hughes was remanded to the custody of the military authorities.

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