Court stories have always been a regular feature of the Mercury - but in 1860, they were quite dull.
On October 30, 1860 the Mercury chose to report in detail on a case where Andrew Keefe was charged with "maliciously" cutting down someone else's peach tree at Bulli.
The tree owner claimed Keefe's cart had overturned after hitting the tree. Then, after righting his cart, Keefe took out a hatchet and chopped down the tree.
For good measure, he then threw the tree into the creek.
Keefe, however, said he'd cut it down because he could not get his horse and cart past the tree. He added that the tree had obstructed numerous other people; it was substantially bent by the number of other drivers struggling to get past it.
The owner suggested the tree's value was three pounds. The magistrates didn't think it was worth that much and, when they found Keefe guilty of the malicious tree lopping, they fined him one pound plus court costs.
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