Australia on Trial Season 1 Episode 1 -

Airdate: 2012-Apr-05

Episode summary:

It's 1886 and in Darlinghurst Courthouse nine young men glare down from the dock as an apprehensive but determined young woman is called to the witness box. This is 16-year-old orphan Mary Jane Hicks, and these 'larrikins' stand accused of serially raping and possibly torturing her in a crime that has obsessed Sydney since the story broke. Miss Hicks, a stranger to Sydney, was looking for work when a cab driver stopped and offered to take her to the registry office. The driver then took her to Waterloo where he tried to assault her. When she screamed, some youths - whom she believed to be her rescuers - came to the cab. This gang, members of a group known as the 'Waterloo Push', then led her to nearby bushland on Mount Rennie (now Moore Park) and repeatedly raped her. Presided over by Justice Windeyer, the trial attracts unprecedented press coverage. As it plays out, colonies all over Australia erupt into a whirl of passionate debate and fevered accusation. Mary Jane Hicks is either a strumpet or an innocent girl; the young men are savages or they are virile Australian-born men; the judge is incompetent or his verdict will stamp out the plague of sexual violence once and for all.

About Australia on Trial series:

Presented by historian Michael Cathcart, “Australia On Trial” is a thought-provoking three-part series, recreating three historic trial...Show more >

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