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Terror Australis- What Ever Happened To George Hutchinson ?

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  • Presumably the only witnesses were the 8 and 11 year old boys. How did the legal system in the place and time view the testimony of children of that age? If there were no more witnesses or evidence then it is a he said-they said situation.

    We can assume the witnesses and the accused must have been in a similar social strata. (For example in the US South at that time, if the accused was African-American and the boys white, there wouldn't have been a trial.) Whatever his place in society, the Hutchinson in this story was able to be defended and have the charges reduced. If he was at the very lowest rung of society, would this have happened? If he had a reputation or record for lewd acts, would this have happened?

    Then, could alcohol have played a part? Could the accused have urinated in public, the kids taunted him & he have said something lewd about his private part? Or some scenario along those lines?
    The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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    • Could the accused have urinated in public, the kids taunted him & he have
      aid something lewd about his private part? Or some scenario along those lines?

      Anna

      Anna:
      Good point.
      The crime for which he was sentenced could have meant one of many different things,......it could have meant what you posted or something really serious, yet falling in the same category of indecent exposure.
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      • We don't know that the charges were reduced. It could simply be that the press got it wrong at first. That would not be unusual.

        We don't know that the boys were from the same social strata.
        We don't know if there were other witnesses.

        However it seems to me that is extremely unlikely that it was an innocent incident that got out of hand - such as that he was urinating in public.
        The fact that some details were suppressed and the judge wanted to whip him (although floggings were quite common in Australia at the time) tells me that there was an aggravating factor - it must have been a 'bad' variety of indecent exposure.

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        • Ed:
          Sounds like he did go overboard. Maybe Hutch was caught floggin' his mule.
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          • I asked a question about flogging and then deleted when I answered my own question. Lots of different offenses could lead to flogging, including some kinds of robbery. I had hoped it was reserved for sexual deviance. (Though for some deviants that could be a pleasurable experience.)

            By social strata I was thinking, if this GH was a homeless street bum for example, wouldn't the case have been simpler or the punishment harsher or the decision swifter? So I'm reading between the lines that this GH may have been a worker and a member of the community, not an outcast.

            I think we can assume no physical damage was done to the boys.
            The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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            • How
              Floggin' his mule?
              I imagine that would be a neck tie offence in your parts.

              Anna
              You were hoping that flogging would be a punishment for sexual deviance?

              I don't know that Hutchinson would have been treated differently if he was a homeless bum. Technically all were equal in the eyes of the law and my guess is that Australia would have been somewhat more egalitarian in practice than the Mother Country.
              This Hutchinson turned up as an Able Seaman in 1889. He seems to have left the ship and stayed and the information we have is that he was a labourer and tinworker.

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              • Ed:

                I meant that as an euphemism for self-abuse...
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                • Ed: Um....The judge said he wished whipping was available as a punishment. My thought processes may have been faulty, but the assumption I tried to prove was that whipping was a punishment for sexual offences somewhere in the British system, maybe England. If so, perhaps whipping as punishment would define the crime. Mostly I found that certain kinds of thieves were flogged.

                  So, in that way I hoped whipping would define the (sexual) crime. Poor choice of words.
                  The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                  • How
                    Is that a bit like Muffin the Mule then?

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                    • Yes Ed...much akin to garroting the old gecko.

                      Anna...in all seriousness, whatever this Hutch did was probably a little more than just exposing himself.
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                      • How: I assume so. At least an obscene suggestion.

                        Since the witnesses were kids another angle comes to mind. If the boys were tough street kids confronted with something nasty they might just say, "Bugger off you [expletive] expletive]!" On the other hand if they were the preacher's kids they'd likely run home screeching about the scary man showing his.....

                        It is unlikely the boys themselves ran to a policeman, isn't it? Isn't it also unlikely the boys brought the charges? Must have been a parent or teacher or similar behind the charges being made and prosecuted?

                        It comes to mind that the accused may have tried to lure the children to a secluded place and they became frightened.
                        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                        • Anna:
                          No telling at this point ( probably never) about what it was...your guess is as good as mine as to whether the offended parties went to the police or that he was caught in the act,
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                          • Seems we can make some reasonable assumptions. For example it seems the boys were the only evidence. No policeman, parent or other authority figure seemed to have witnessed anything.

                            Bothers me that the truth of the incident could range from a misunderstanding to a very gross, indecent and depraved act. Maybe there are enough clues in the report, maybe not.
                            The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                            • Hi All,

                              When I was nine or ten, in the mid-sixties, my school friend and I were flashed at by a man parked in a red car on the road where I lived. He called out to us and offered us half a crown (two shillings and sixpence in old money, or 12 and a half pence in new) to do something I didn't quite hear or understand. We didn't get too close to the car, but we could see he was exposing himself.

                              We ran off after memorising his car registration number and the police were called when we told our parents.

                              We heard later that the man was traced and questioned, but we were never asked to identify him or to testify in court, so I assumed we were considered too young and it could be taken no further. It's possible he had form or went on to do it again and was charged next time. It's also possible that he would have stopped at flashing, because it would have been harder to target two girls together if his aim was abduction or worse. Plenty of kids went out on their own in those days. I was allowed out alone on my new bicycle at the age of five! Things were very different by the time Ian Huntley was on the scene.

                              Summing up, if the two boys in the GH flasher case were together at the time, it may be less likely that they were seriously assaulted and allowed to tell the tale.

                              Love,

                              Caz
                              X
                              I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

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                              • You seem to have neglected to tell us the number plate.

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