Maud Lipshut

November 6, 1910: At Perth, Australia, Maud Lipshut is in the company of two men and a woman when she claims to have been raped and robbed. The three are arrested and committed for trial. A professional pianist, on the face of it she is a credible witness, but when the three accused are tried in December 1910, they are found not guilty. The defence evidence was that she had prostituted herself to one of the men and that there had been a scrap that accounted for her bruising. It may seem the defendants were lucky, but the evidence of the alleged victim did not impress the jury.

Maud Lipshut was no stranger to courtrooms. In September 1902, she appeared in the dock at Freemantle, her husband having apparently asked a police officer to take charge of her because she was intoxicated and would not go home. She was fined ten shillings, apparently for having sworn at the officer: “words which cannot be reported”. In 1906, she was in Singapore where on January 30, she lost a civil action against Anne Marshall, proprietress of the Baldwin Hotel. At this time she had apparently parted company with her husband and was living with a man named Hill. In spite of her profession and seeming respectability, this woman appears to have been ruined not by men but by her liking for the demon drink.

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