The Green Fairy And The Loose Leprechaun

Another snippet of Australian absinthe history for you all, this time from the Adelaide Advertiser, published on the 11 November 1909. It also demonstrates that the phenomenon of drunken Irish backpackers exhibiting their ‘wee folk’ is a problem over 100 years old, to be sure.

The Advertiser (Adelaide) 11 November 1909

A SERIOUS OFFENCE. ABSINTHE DRINKER IN TROUBLE

A shocking case, which counsel described as the outcome of the demoralising effects of drinking absinthe, was heard at the Adelaide Police Court on Wednesday. Neal McNamara, an respectably-dressed youth, was placed in the dock to answer a charge of indecent exposure at North Adelaide. The offence was alleged to have been committed on October 22 near a public school, and at an hour when children were proceeding along the road towards that institution. Six little girls, ranging in age from 12 to 15 years, appeared in court to support the charge. Inspector Burchell, who prosecuted, said the gravity of the offense was increased by the fact that the practices complained of had been going on for some time. He could call four witnesses to substantiate the charge, while the statement of the arresting constable was equally conclusive. The accused, who pleaded guilty, was defended by Mr. F. V. Smith.

Constable Quirke, who made the arrest, stated that, when he accosted the accused and told him the charge he said, “For God’s sake, don’t arrest me. I am a respectable Irish lad. I have a couple of sovereigns in my pocket and you can have them if you let me go.” He took the accused to the police-station. On the way there McNamara made a determined attempt to escape, but his efforts were frustrated.

Mr. Smith said the accused’s lapse was due entirely to the effects of drinking absinthe, of which habit he had become an unfortunate victim. The defendant enjoyed the confidence of a reputable city firm, by whom he was employed, and they were willing to take him back if released. In view of this he asked the bench to extend to his client the benefit of the First Offenders Act.

The court declined to do this, Mr. J. Gordon, S.M. remarking that the offence was a disgusting one that had been wilfully persisted in. The accused would be sentenced to three months imprisonment. A second information against McNamara was withdrawn.

Jonathan Nov 14th 2009 02:12 pm Culture,History,Huh? No Comments yet Trackback URI

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