Jimmy, Sam, and Frank stand trial in a courthouse in Northam. The Sergeant and a local farmer, JP, act as the prosecution. Frank pleads guilty with an explanation — he says the Millimurra-Mundays were kind to him and fed him, and so he felt obligated to pick up a bottle of wine for Jimmy as a thank-you. JP claims to “understand the difficulty of the situation” but says it is his “duty to protect natives and half-castes from alcohol.” He sentences Frank to six weeks imprisonment and hard labor.
JP’s insistence that he is obligated to “protect natives and half-castes [mixed race white and Aboriginal people] from alcohol” assumes that these people are not smart enough or strong enough to make decisions for themselves. This approach is less about protection than it is about governmental control.
Sam and Jimmy are called in next. Jimmy is slow to enter; he claims he was on the toilet. JP says he hopes Jimmy is not “making a mockery of the court by delaying proceedings.”
Once again, Jimmy rebels against what he sees as a racist justice system by slowing and complicating procedure whenever possible.
The Sergeant announces that Jimmy and Sam were arrested when they were drunk the night before. The Sergeant claims Jimmy was “noisy and abusive.” Jimmy tries to argue back but JP threatens him with contempt of court if he continues to speak.
Although Frank was allowed to defend himself, Jimmy is not. This preference for Frank over Jimmy is the result of personal prejudices held by JP and the Sergeant, and reinforced by the system in which they work.
Because Jimmy has had previous offenses related to alcohol, JP gives him three months imprisonment with hard labor. Sam, who has no criminal record except for a time he was caught drinking with Jimmy, is given a fine of twenty-five shillings, plus two and sixpence in exchange for not serving a week in prison. The Sergeant tells JP Sam will need time to pay, and so Sam is given fourteen days to come up with the money.
Although it is unfair that Sam receives any punishment for a behavior that is legal for white Australians, this is one of the few instances in the play where white characters are somewhat sympathetic to the plight of Aboriginal people, and do not punish them in as severe a capacity as they potentially could.