Miscarriage of justice: the case of John MAYNE 1874

Thirty-three year old John Mayne was a Member of the Table Cape Road Trust when he was wrongfully convicted for rape in January 1874. A sentence of death was recorded which was remitted to 15 years. He was released 10 months later, in December 1874 after protracted protests in the press and several juror capitulations, the same jurors who had initially returned a verdict of guilty after two hours' deliberation at the trial (13 January 1874), a case strongly defended by John Mayne's barrister R. Byron Miller. Thomas Nevin photographed John Mayne on arrival at the Hobart Gaol from the Supreme Court, Launceston, in January 1874 before Mayne was sent to the Port Arthur prison, from where he was discharged as "Free." The release was effected by barrister R. Byron Miller and Attorney-General W. R. Giblin, two key members of the legal fraternity along with John Woodcock Graves jnr, whose endorsement of Thomas J. Nevin as government contractor for the provision of prisoner identification photographs was effected in 1872 and extended through to the late 1880s. Thomas Nevin also provided portraits of these lawyers, including members of their respective families (Graves & Miller family album , KLW NFC Private Collection).

[Left]:John Mayne, wrongfully convicted and imprisoned
Photographer Thomas J. Nevin 1874
TMAG Ref: Q15599

[Centre]: Attorney-General W. R. Giblin (1840-1887)
Photographer Thomas J. Nevin 1874
TAHO Ref: NS1013/1971

[Right]: Barrister R. Byron Miller
Photographer George Cherry late 1860s
Photo © copyright KLW NFC Imprint & KLW NFC Private Collection

Wrongly convicted: Prisoner John MAYNE. "Native"
Photographed by Thomas Nevin, January 1874
The incorrect verso caption "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" was inscribed in 1915.
Originally held at the QVMAG in the Beattie Collection
Now held at the TMAG Ref: Q15599

Verso: Wrongly convicted: Prisoner John MAYNE. "Native"
Photographed by Thomas Nevin, January 1874
The incorrect verso caption "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" was inscribed in 1915.
Originally held at the QVMAG in the Beattie Collection
Now held at the TMAG Ref: Q15599

The Six Jurors
The following telegram was received late on Monday evening by the hon. R. Byron Miller, Esq, by whom it has been placed at our disposal :- Petition of six jurors received and laid before Governor, with all the examinations who has been pleased to remit the unexpired portion of Maynes sentence. -(Signed) W. R. GIBLIN, Hobart Town . The following is a copy of the letter of the jurors : To his Excellency Charles Du Cane, Esq., Governor of Tasmania.- -We, the undersigned being members of the jury upon the trlal of John Mayne for rape, having learned that an application has been made to your Excellency to grant a free pardon to John Mayne upon the ground of his innocence, beg respect fully to recommend such application to your Excellency's favorable consideration. The case was a difficult one, and our verdict was arrived at in consequence of our belief in the good character and truthfulness of Sophia Jane Shackle; Mrs Shackle, and Hickey, the three principal witnesses for the prosecution. We have now learned from an investigation instituted by your Excellency's orders, that these witnesses did not merit the credence which we gave them, and instead of being per- sons of good character were living in a state of disgraceful immorality; and we have only too much reason to fear that our verdict was a mis- taken one. (Signed) W. East, foreman ; B. P. Farrelly, J. Hollington, E. Gaunt, John Ellis, F. Hart.

Source: THE CASE OF JOHN MAYNE. (1874, November 26). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), p. 2. Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52896337

Now that John Mayne has been released from Port Arthur, our contemporaries, north and south, have become profoundly impressed with the enormity of the injustice that has been done him, and call aloud for vengeance upon his persecutors, the girl Shackles and the man Lawrence Hickey. The former they would like to see prosecuted for perjury; the latter for the offence upon the girl which was laid to Mayne's charge, and his hideous conspiracy against Mayne's life and liberty....It must be gratifying to the Mayne family to know that John Mayne will be restored to them without any direct intervention on their part, that neither they nor he have been suppliants for mercy, but that the Crown has been compelled to render him simple justice in the face of the revelations made. This fact goes a long way towards removing the terrible stigma cast upon his character by an unfortunate miscarriage of justice.
The following letter was forwarded to the Attorney-General on 24th inst.: -
St. John-streeet. Launceston
November 24th, 1874
Sir, — I have the honor to acknowledge tho receipt of your telegram informing me that "The petition of six jurors received had been laid before the Governor with all the examinations, and that His Excellency had been pleased to remit the unexpired portion of Mayne's sentence." This most gratifying intelligence has been communicated to the family of the prisoner, and I am now instructed on their behalf to tender their grateful thanks to His .Excellency and the members of the Executive Council, not for mercy extended towards a man whom they at least believe to be an innocent sufferer from a judicial mistake, but for justice rendered after a patient and exhaustive examination. His Excellency is about to leave the colony, and the Mayne family respectfully trust that amongst the pleasing memories of his official career in Tasmania will be the recollection that as the representative of Her Majesty, the fountain of justice and mercy, one of his latest acts was to restore to freedom the innocent victim of a foul conspiracy.
I have the honor to be
Your obedient Servant,
The Hon. The Attorney-General,
Hobart Town.
Source: RELEASE OF JOHN MAYNE. (1874, December 5). The Tasmanian (Launceston, Tas. : 1871 - 1879), p. 8. Retrieved August 25, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198924565

Barrister R. Byron Miller
Photographer George Cherry late 1860s
Inscribed verso by Miller family member "My Father ... Judge in Chambers Essex St ..."
Photo © copyright KLW NFC Imprint KLW NFC Private Collection


John Mayne, 33 yrs old, was arraigned in the Supreme Court, Launceston on 8 January 1874, convicted of rape, death sentence commuted to 15 years, transferred to the Hobart Gaol where he was photographed by Thomas Nevin, then relocated to the Port Arthur prison, arriving there on 30th January 1874. His trade was listed as "Dealer". Mayne's record of earnings in the Port Arthur conduct book was inscribed -

Transferred to House of Correction for Males Hobart Town by order of the Hon.ble The Attorney General Telegram dated 24/11/74
Civil Commandant

TAHO Ref: CON94-1-2_00033
Description:Conduct register - Port Arthur
Start Date:01 Aug 1873
End Date:30 Sep 1876

John Mayne was transferred to the Hobart Gaol on 24th November, and discharged, 2nd December 1874: "Free."

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police J. Barnard Gov't printer

Australia's first MUGSHOTS


Below each image held at the National Library of Australia is their catalogue batch edit which gives the false impression that all these "convict portraits" were taken because these men were transported convicts per se (i.e before cessation in 1853), and that they might have been photographed as a one-off amateur portfolio by a prison official at the Port Arthur prison in 1874, which they were not. Any reference to the Port Arthur prison official A. H. Boyd on the NLA catalogue records is an error, a PARASITIC ATTRIBUTION with no basis in fact. The men in these images were photographed in the 1870s-1880s because they were repeatedly sentenced as habitual offenders whose mugshots were taken on arrest, trial, arraignment, incarceration and/or discharge by government contractor, police and prisons photographer T. J. Nevin at the Supreme Court and adjoining Hobart Gaol with his brother Constable John Nevin, and at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall when appearing at The Mayor's Court. The Nevin brothers photographed more than 2000 prisoners, the bulk now lost or destroyed. These extant mugshots were the random estrays salvaged - and reproduced in many instances- for sale at Beattie's local convictaria museum in Hobart and at interstate exhibitions associated with the fake convict ship Success in the early 1900s. The mugshots were selected on the basis of the prisoner's notoriety from the Supreme Court trial registers (Rough Calendar), the Habitual Criminals Registers (Gaol Photo Books), warrant forms, and police gazettes records of the 1870s-1880s. The earliest taken on government contract by T. J. Nevin date from 1872. The police records sourced here are from the weekly police gazettes which were called (until 1884) Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1885. J. Barnard, Gov't Printer.