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    The second last case before Thursday’s 31st Jan 1799 adjournment – from Mon 28th Jan – sitting of the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction was that of James Reece charged with bestiality

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Indictment, n.d. 1


The King
James Reece on the Prosecution of Patrick Brannaghan 

TO WIT         }

    James Reece stands Indicted For that he not having the Fear of God before his Eyes nor regarding the orders of Nature but being moved and seduced by the Instigates of the Devil on the twenty second day of January in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety nine with force and Arms at a certain farm (commonly ?) called Captain [John] Townson’s Farm  2  near Iron Cove in the County and Territory aforesaid in and upon a Certain Sow the Property of the said Patrick Brannagh [sic] feloniously wickedly diabolically and against the order of nature had a venereal affair with the said Sow and then and there carnally knew the said Sow and then and there feloniously wickedly diabolically and against the order of nature did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable Crime of Buggery (not to be named amongst Christians) to the great Displeasure of Almighty God to the great scandal of all human kind against the form of the Statute in that Case made and provided and against the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.


    Evidence for the Prosecution Barnard Tierney, Dennis Newham

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 Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of Sydney Proceedings, 31 Jan 1799 3  


The King
against               on the Prosecution of Patrick Brannaghan for Beastiality
James Reece

Plea “Not Guilty”

    The Prosecutor having no Faith to establish but by the Testimony of others – being the owner of the Sow and therefore the Prosecutor.

    Barnard Tierney was duly sworn who deposeth that on the 19th day of January inst about 8 in the morning as he was passing the Dwelling House on Captain Townson’s Farm (in the occupation of the prosecutor) he observed in the Swine-Stye a sow lying therein and the Prisoner also lying at her Stern in the Act and (?) of having Carnal Knowledge of the said Sow, whereupon he called to his companion with whom he was walking (namely Dennis Newham) to (interrupt ?) this extraordinary circumstance – that the Prisoner was in Consequence of such talking disturbed – swore that he saw the Prisoner withdraw his private parts from out of the Body of the said Sow and that his Semen or (nature ?) flew from him when the hind parts of the said sow –that the Prisoner’s Penis was also in a like condition and that this witness was particularly observant as to the Transition and also (?) his Companion the said Newham to be particular also – – that this witness leaped over the Fence and seized upon the Prisoner before he had time to button up Affairs – That the Prisoner was (remanded ?) and brought into custody to Sydney.

    Dennis Newham being Sworn, Deposeth that at the time sworn to by the last witness his Companion Barnard Tierney called to him saying – “Come, here Dennis, there’s a fellow b-gg----g a Sow.” – that the last witness when he so called was at some little distance from this witness and was leaning over the Swine-Stye – That this witness accordingly went and saw the Prisoner sitting down in the rear or behind the Body of the said Sow – that the said Sow was also lying down – that he got over the fence and proceeded to draw aside the Prisoner’s Trousers which were not buttoned up – that he discovered his Penis besmeared with his nature, not in an erect State – that upon viewing the Sow more minutely he discovered her private parts to be much irritated or inflamed and that the hinder parts of the said Sow were besmeared with what he (believes ?) to have been Nature discharge from Prisoner.

    The Prisoner on his Defence denies the Fact generally – says he was hired by the Prosecutor to Repair the Hog sty and that on the Day the Charge is laid in the Indictment he was employed to take care of the Prosecutor’s Horses.

    Patrick Brannaghan being sworn Deposeth that on the Friday before he employed the Prisoner to repair the Stye for which he paid him one


shilling and that on the day before said Prisoner is (Stated ?) he employed him to take Care of his Horses whilst he went to Sydney on business and on his return was met by the (two ?) witnesses who had the Prisoner in Custody.

Guilty Death

    Ordered by the Court that the Sow mentioned in the Indictment be put to Death under the immediate Destruction of the Provost Marshall or his Deputy – and that due Report be made of the Execution of this order.

    But the Court taking into Consideration the extreme Poverty and Distress of Patrick Brannaghan the Prosecutor in this unhappy Business who appears unable to sustain a loss so material as the Value of the said Sow which he estimates at £15 Sterling – and moreover as appears the said Sow has farried since the Commitment of this unnatural and produced a Litter of 11 Pigs all which (?) necessarily he lost by the Condemnation of the said Sow.

    The Court beg hear respectfully to submit this Man’s hard Case to His Excellency’s humane consideration, and humbly to recommend so the remuneration to the unfortunate man in the present Care as to His Excellency’s [Capt John Hunter RN] wisdom and Humanity may sum meet.


James Reece placed at the Bar where Plea is recorded not Guilty.
The Prosecutor having no Fact to Establish but by Evidence.

    Barnard Tierney called – and Sworn Deposeth that on the 19th day of January inst about the hour eight o’clock the man on the same day as he was passing the dwelling house of Capt Townson’s farm in the occupation of Patrick Brannaghan – he observed in the Swine stye a Sow the property of the said Patrick to belaying therein and the Prisoner at the Bar James Reece laying at the stern of her and in the act and fact of having carnal knowledge with the said Sow whereupon he called to his Companion with whom he was walking namely Dennis Newham to witness this extraordinary Circumstance from such (calling ?) the Prisoner was disturbed and this Deponent swears that he saw the said Prisoner withdraw his private parts from the Body of the said Sow and that his semen or nature flew from him upon the hinder part of the said Sow – and that his the prisoner’s penis was also in a like Condition and that he this Deponent was particularly observant in this Transaction in as much that he (desired ?) the said Dennis Newham to be also particular as to the Act – That this Deponent leaped over the fence and turned upon Prisoner immediately before he had time to button up his Affairs and is positive to the Evidence he has (herewith ?) related – Whereupon the Prisoner was secured and brought into Custody at Sydney


    Dennis Newham – Sworn Deposeth that on or about the time herein before deposed by the same witness –passing by the Swine (hulls ?) of Patrick Brannaghan – his Companion Barnard Tierney having on (?) some distance before him he was called to by the said Barnard who was leaning over the said Swine stye who said come here Dennis – here’s a fellow Buggering a Sow – whereupon he went up and saw the prisoner at the Bar sitting down in the rear or behind the Body of a Sow that was lying down also – that he went over the fence to him and drawing aside the Trousers of the Prisoner which were not buttoned up he discovered his penis besmeared with semen or his nature thereabout and (not ?) in an erect state, that observing the sow more minutely he discovered the Bearing or private part of her to have been much (dilated ?) and inflamed and that some of the sow was also the the hind part of the sow was also besmeared with what be believed to [be] Semen or nature from Copulation.

    Defence – Denies the fact – says he was (hired ?) by the (Evidence ?) and to repair the Pig Stye and on the day when the charge was laid in the Indictment – he was employed to take care of the (?) certain Horses.

Guilty Death


1   SRNSW: NRS2703, [5/1145], Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Informations, depositions and related papers, 1796-1808, p. 28.

2   “... bounded on the E. by Iron Cove Bay Commencing at the North corner of Townson’s Farm, on the North by the main [Parramatta] river, on the West by Hen and Chicken Bay including Samuel Ash Clode’s Farm, to the Parramatta road, on the other by that road to Townson’s farm on Iron Cove Creek.” TD Mutch’s transcription of NSW land grants 1792-1810, ML A 4418, quoted in Eric Russell, Drummoyne: A Western Suburbs’ History from 1794, The Municipality of Drummoyne, 1982, p. 23.

3   SRNSW: NRS2700, [X905], Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of proceedings, 1798-1808, pp. 66-7, 86-7, R2651.