Walter Leach faces court over alleged indecent assault

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WALTER Edward Leach, whose age, was given as 18 years, was charged with unlawful and indecent assault.

Sub-Inspector Trainor appeared for the prosecution.

The victim of the alleged offence was a little girl aged 10 years and 11 months, and particulars of the occurrence were published in last week’s “Standard.”

The little girl deposed that on the 2nd March she and three other girls were leaving the school grounds at Frankston when they met accused, who was standing at the back of the school.

He called to witness, saying. “Come here: what is your name?”

Accused then said, “I want to see you with the schoolmaster, as I have been told that you broke some palings off the fence.”

Witness replied that she had not broken the palings, as she was seldom down that way.

Accused said, “Come here, and I will show you the fence.” Witness went with accused, who told her to follow him.

He led the way into the scrub, saying, “If you do what I tell you it will be alright.”

Continuing, witness said accused commanded her to lie down, and she did so. He tied a handkerchief across her eyes. Describing accused’s further actions, witness said she tried to scream but he put his hand over her mouth. He also seized her by the throat, and said he would take her to the court.

Witness had been lying down for about two minutes when she heard the other school children approaching.

Accused then got up and said; “Wait there till I come back.”

He then ran away.

Accused kissed witness twice but did not unfasten her clothing and did not interfere with his own clothing.

To the Bench – When accused ran away I went to the other children and told them what had happened.

Senior Constable Bray, officer in charge at Frankston, said that on the 2nd March he interviewed the previous witness, and from what she told him he organised a search party and scoured the outskirts of the town in search of a man described by her.

On the evening of the same day he, in company with Constable Dyball, arrested accused at Seaford.

Witness asked him where he came from and accused replied: “Out the back, there,” and pointed to the country at the back of the railway station.

Witness said: “You are the man who assaulted a little girl at Frankston,” and accused replied: “For God’s sake give me a chance for the sake of my mother.”

Witness brought the accused to Frankston, where he was identified by the child in question as her assailant.

Accused then said; “I admit I am the man; I did not assault her.”

Witness asked him if he took the girl into the scrub and tie a handkerchief over her face, and accused admitted that he did.

Witness later had the child examined by Dr. Maxwell, who stated that she had not been tampered with.

In reply to the usual question accused said he was guilty ; and he was committed for trial on the 15th inst.

A respectable looking young man here stood up in the body of the court, and asked that the accused be sent to a reformatory.

He said that he was a brother of accused, who had always given trouble.

An effort had been made to place him on a training ship, but he was then too young.

P.M.—What age is he?

Mr. Leach.—18 years next June.

P.M.—He evidently requites medical attention. Nothing can be done in this court. You should instruct Counsel to appear for him at the trial.

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MR. G. L. Rogers will shortly be making a general tour throughout the Peninsula, including Cheltenham, Mordialloc, and Carrum Downs, for the International Harvester Co. of Australasia Pty. Ltd., Neptune Motor Engine and Spraying Oils, the Gloria Hollow-Wire Light Systems and Mt Lyell Chemical Works.

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THE Annual Meeting of St. Paul’s Church of England, Frankston, was, held in the school room on Friday evening, 27th ult. The Treasurer,

Mr. P. Wheeler, presented a very satisfactory balance-sheet for the past year, which was received and adopted, on the motion of Messrs. Deane and Bailey.

The Vicar reported that the proceeds from the recent church concert were about £26. Votes of thanks were recorded to Mrs. Bell, Mr. J. B. Jolly and. Major Conder, for the parts they played in making the concert such a huge success.

The Secretary was instructed to write to Miss Eva Rogers (organist), and Mr. Mason (auditor), offering the thanks of the Vestry for valuable services rendered during the past year.

It was decided to make the usual appeal for an Easter offering.

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A MEETING of the Frankston Soldiers’ Memorial Committee was held on Monday evening, Mr A. G. Wilcox occupied the chair, and there were also present. Messes Morrison, Lasslett, Wheeler, Vicars, W. W. Young, W. Hanton, Hill, McKenzie, and W. Crawford Young.

It was resolved on the motion of Mr Lasslett seconded by Mr W. W. Young, that the accounts standing in the names of the Anzac Appeal, and the Frankston Honor Roll be closed, and an account opened in the name of the Frankston Soldiers’ Memorial Fund.

Mr Lasslett, secretary and treasurer of the Honor Roll Fund, said he had been instrumental in increasing this account from £90 to £163, at which figure it stood at present.

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ANOTHER big house greeted the Frankston Pictures on Wednesday night and Mr. W. L. Hooper, the lessee and manager, has every reason to feel gratified at the success attending his venture in providing Frankston with a weekly movie show.

Next Wednesday night’s attractions include the thrilling mystery drama, “The Bride’s Silence”, and “The Wayfarers”, also a thriller.

Advt appears on front page.

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ALL roads will lead to Somerville next Wednesday, when the Fruitgrowers’ will hold their big annual show.

An attractive list of ring events will also claim attention, and sightseers are guaranteed an interesting day’s amusement, apart from the famous fruit display.

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CR Oates represented the Frankston and Hastings Council at the conference held at Caulfield last Monday night to urge the speedy electrification of the Frankston line.

The Seaford Progress Association was represented by its president, Mr Hunter, Crs. Armstrong and Howell and Mr H. J. McCulloch.

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MOTORISTS will be interested in the announcement appearing in our advertising columns this week, to the effect that Mr. F. Bray, of Petrie St., Frankston, who has just returned from active service abroad, is prepared to undertake all kinds of repairs to motor engines, etc.

Mr. Bray has had extensive experience, embracing all kinds of engines and cars, and his services should be largely availed of.

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A ‘WELCOME Home” Social will be held in the Frankston Mechanics’ Hall on Friday, 19th March, when the guests will be Corp. F. Bray and Ptes. M Spheres, R. Mitten and Adams.

The “Welcome Home” Committee has arranged a good concert programme, and after refreshments have been dispensed dancing will be indulged in.

A cordial invitation is extended to all returned soldiers.

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FROM the pages of the Mornington Standard, 12 March 1920

First published in the Mornington News – 17 March 2020

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