Photo Library

Former Royal Hotel, Hindley Street, 1927

Photo taken 01 January 1927

State Library Catalogue Reference: B 9590

Photographer: FA Potts

The Royal Hotel was at 65 Hindley Street. Established in 1847 it ceased trading in 1921. The hotel was the Hains Hunkin Ltd building on the left. The building has been demolished.

Percy James Robertson (48), a Returned soldier, was charged in the Criminal Court, before Mr. Justice Gordon and jury, on Friday, with the manslaughter of Frederick William Gebhardt (45), in a lane at the rear of the Royal Hotel, Hindley street, on September 17. Mr. H. A. Shierlaw (Crown Prosecutor) prosecuted, and Sir Josiah Symon, K.C., with Captain A. S Blackburn, V.C., M.P., appeared for the accused, who pleaded not guilty.
Mr. Shierlaw in opening the case, said the accused and Miss Heffron were in the kitchen of the Royal Hotel on September 17. At 6.45 p.m. Gebhardt came in, and Miss Heffron said, as she had often said to him before, "Hurry up. Fred, and get out." Gebhardt replied, I'll get out, or you will get your bludger to put me out." The accused was the only other man in the room at the time. Shortly afterwards Gebhardt said, "Trot your -- bludger outside." Robertson had no boots or coat on, but he went out, and there was a fight. After they had been struggling for a time the accused said, "Let us shake hands. Fred." They shook hands, but afterwards Gebhardt struck the accused again, and then fell on his knees. He got up, and Robertson struck him. Gebhardt fell to the ground, striking his head on some stones. When picked up Gebhardt was bleeding freely from the back of the head. He was taken to the hospital, where he died at 2 a.m. Gebhardt was slighty under the influence of drink. It was the fall that killed the deceased, not the blow. The jury would have to decide the culpability of the accused.
Dr. Cowan, resident medical officer, Adelaide Hospital, said he treated Gebhardt at the hospital from 7.50 p.m. until he died. Death was due to fracture of the skull, and injuries to the brain, which might have been caused by a fall or blow. The impact would probably have been at the back of the head.
Mrs. Edwards, licensee of the Royal Hotel, said Gebhardt was a much heavier man than the accused, and when he had had a little drink, was very quarrelsome and inclined to fight everybody. His wife left him four years ago, because of his violence. Robertson was a very quiet man. Gebhardt had been in a bad humor all that afternoon. Up to that time of the struggle the accused and Gebhardt were on the best of terms and she knew of nothing Robertson had done to provoke the deceased.
Alice Heffron, employed at the Royal Hotel, gave evidence in accord with Mr. Shierlaw's opening. The remarks made by Gebhardt greatly distressed her, for it was a gross insult to both Robertson and herself.
Broadford Mcinnes, barman at the hotel, in detailing the conversation which occurred prior to the fight, said the accused told Gebhardt that his remark was not a nice one to make to a lady. The two men 'boxed on' Robertson trying to get out of it and Gebhardt following him up all the time. When Robertson said, 'Let's shake hands, Fred,' the struggle stopped. Robertson walked back towards the kitchen, Gebhardt renewed the fight, and Robertson then hit or pushed Gebhardt on the chest. All through the accused bad endeavored to get out of the struggle.
His Honor - Can you make anything out of this. Mr. Shierlaw? Mr. Shierlaw-I have from the beginning put the case very temperately.
His Honor-It is quite.clear on the evidence that Gebhardt was the aggressor and that Robertson did not want to fight.
Mr. Shierlaw-I believe that is so, your Honor, and I'm happy to be able to say that I do not wish to proceed further with the case.
The jury, without leaving the box, re turned a verdict of not guilty.
His Honor, in discharging the accused, said:- Mr. Robertson is discharged, I think I can say, without any reflection or stain upon his character. It was a most unfortunate incident, which, I am sure no one regrets more than Mr. Robertson himself.
Sir Josiah Symon said that was so.
His Honor hoped that the remarks which had been made would console Mr.Robertson and his friends in their trouble."
The Advertiser, Saturday 9 November 1918, p12

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