PART 6: Wrapping up the Fairymead Sugar Co robbery case
This is the sixth part of the NewsMail's flashback to a history article by Rod MacAlpine, published in 1970.
Missed the other parts? Go here.
TWO men had robbed Fairymead Sugar Company, dumping the loot in the Burnett River.
Divers fished it out and the two men were brought before the courts. Meanwhile, Bundaberg had lost its top cop to Brisbane after the arrest triggered his promotion.
As for the prisoners, they pleaded guilty on February 23, 1915 in the Bundaberg District Court before visiting judge Sir Arthur Rutledge.
On their behalf, George Scott of Brisbane admitted that the whole affair was somewhat of a youthful escapade.
He made quite a lot of their previous good character and the absurdity of any expectation of escape as he asked for the provisions of the first offenders clause to be extended to them.
His honour was moved to point out that the charges brought against the two men were very serious.
It was a monstrous outrage on society, he said, and it had only failed due to the courage and activity of police and not any change of heart on behalf of the prisoners.
He said he would be abusing his high office if he extended the leniency of the first offenders clause.
However, he was not entirely unmoved by their previous good character and although the maximum penalty for the offence was 14 years, he intended to deal lightly with them.
The men, Mr Noel and Mr Blunderfield, were sentenced to four years hard labour in Brisbane Gaol.
An order was made for the return of the money to Mr Young of the Fairymead Sugar Company and the Great Fairymead Payroll Robbery was all wrapped up.