Charles Edwards and George Day were summoned for poaching on Mr Sinclair’s land on 13 April 1900. P.C. Ephithite stated that he was on duty that day at 3.15 p.m. in the lane leading from Essendon to West End when he saw a man running along the hedge and another man further along the lane in the ditch. He found a live rabbit in Day’s pocket and five nets and a ferret on Edward’s person. Both men said they hoped they would be forgiven as it was the first time P.C. Ephithite had caught them.
Both defendants pleaded guilty. Although this was Day’s first offence, Edwards had eleven previous convictions from 1898 to 1899. The Bench fined Day 9s 6d or seven days’ hard labour, whilst Edwards was fined £2 with 9s 6d costs or one month’s hard labour.
In a separate incident, Joseph Francis, who had been a labourer for Mr Sinclair for eight years, was charged with stealing 14 duck eggs, valued at 2 shillings, on 14 April 1900. On that afternoon Francis had got drunk and Mr Sinclair discharged him at 3 p.m. Mr Sinclair noticed immediately that the eggs were missing and informed the police. He stated that he did not wish to press charges as Francis had always behaved himself; was of good character and had a large family. However he wanted to make an example of him for the benefit of others. Mr Sinclair indicated that he would be willing to re-employ Francis.
P.C. Ephithite questioned Francis who said he knew nothing about the eggs. However, under caution, he said he had sucked two of the eggs and the shells were in his pocket. Francis pleaded guilty and said he hoped the Bench would show mercy as he had eight children. He was very sorry for what he had done; that Mr Sinclair had always been a good master and he would work for him again if the farmer would have him back. As this was Francis’ first offence he was fined 9 shillings and cautioned as to his future conduct.