THE ARGUS, WEDNESDAY 18, 1874
Thomas M’Donald, quarryman, living at Eltham, deposed that he was working on the same contract as the deceased, in making a road near the Kangaroo ground. At about half-past 6 o’clock on the evening of Friday, 13th inst., a fight took place between the deceased and William Cameron, the deceased having challenged Cameron to fight.
They fought several rounds, and in each round they fell, Cameron always falling uppermost. In the last round the deceased ran head first at Cameron; they closed, and Cameron fell upon deceased, who was unable to move, and complained of his back. The witness did not see that he fell against anything. It was a perfectly fair fight with fists only. Cameron was the strongest man, and Dennis was a little the worse for drink. Cameron seemed sober. They quarrelled about overloading the horses. The fight took place upon grass land. Dennis was a little doubled up when he fell the last time.
Henry Palmer, labourer, at Eltham, deposed that he was present at the fight. The day before the fight he heard Dennis say to Cameron that he would twist his head for him. Cameron said he was not able to do it. On the next day, at about half past 6 o’clock, Cameron was taking his horses out of the cart when Dennis challenged him to fight. Cameron said he must feed his horses first. He was away about half an hour getting the horse-feed, and as soon as he returned, and before he could feed his horses, Dennis was at him again. They went into a paddock and commenced to fight. They had regular seconds and fought several rounds. After the last fall Dennis was un- able to get up and said his back was hurt. Dennis was not kicked. The fight was perfectly fair on both sides.
Senior constable Archibald Lyons stated that on Saturday, the 11th inst., he received information that Dennis and Cameron had had a fight at the Research Hotel, on the road to the Kangaroo ground, and that the deceased had been taken to the hospital. At 6 o’clock on Monday night he was informed that Dennis was dead, and he at once arrested Cameron. The latter was a very well conducted young man. Dennis was somewhat quarrelsome.
Mr. Teague, surgeon, at the Melbourne Hospital, stated that the deceased Dennis, when admitted, was quite sensible, but paralysed from his shoulders down. He remained in that state till the afternoon of the next day, when he became delirious, and from that time he sank till 9 o’clock on the night of the 15th, when he died. The witness made a post-mortem examination, and found the spine broken in the neck at the sixth bone, and the spinal cord torn across. The cause of death was fracture of the spine from external violence. The deceased said that he had fallen upon a stone. A fall such as that described by the witnesses would cause the injuries.
The jury found that the deceased James Dennis died of fracture of the spine from external violence, and that William Alexander Cameron was found guilty of the man- slaughter of the deceased
Cameron was committed for trial on the coroner’s warrant.