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1836, John Warren - Unfit For Publication
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Depositions for John Warren, 4 Aug 1836, Sydney Trial  1 


In the Seventh Year of the Reign of
Our Sovereign Lord William the Fourth,
by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Ireland, King,
Defender of the Faith.

New South Wales
(TO WIT.)–         }
Be it Remembered, That John Hubert Plunkett Esquire, His Majesty’s Attorney General for the Colony of New South Wales, who prosecutes for His Majesty in this Behalf, being present in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, now here, on the First Day of August in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty six at Sydney, in the Colony aforesaid, informs the said Court, that John Warren late of Black Creek in the Colony of New South Wales Laborer –
on the fourteenth Day of March in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty six with Force and Arms, at Black Creek aforesaid in the Colony aforesaid, in and upon one Ronald Portus and infant under the age of fourteen years to wit of the age of eleven years then and there being feloniously did make an assault and then and there feloniously


and against the order of nature had a venereal affair with the said Ronald Portus and then and there feloniously carnally knew the said Ronald Portus and then and there feloniously wickedly and against the order of nature with the said Ronald Portus did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable crime of buggery (not to be named amongst Christians) against the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the Peace of our Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.
[Signed] John Hubert Plunkett, [AG].

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[On the reverse of the above is the following]

In the Supreme Court
No. 62
The King against John Warren F[ree]
Information for Sodomy
Witnesses: John Portus, Ronald Portus, James Alexander Portus, Houson Mitchell Esq JP.

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4th August 1836
Judge Kinchela JCJ
plea not Guilty, verdict Guilty, Death passed.
[Signed] George J Rogers.

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 6 Aug 1836 



    Before Mr Justice Kinchela and a Military Jury.

    John Warren was convicted of an unnatural offence, committed on ----- [Ronald Portus] in the neighbourhood of Black Peat [Creek ?]. Prisoner (who, during the trial, seemed unconscious of his serious situation) became much affected when the verdict was delivered. Upon being asked if he had any thing to say why judgment of death should not be passed upon him, he implored for mercy, and asserting his innocence, hoped that as he was a young man, a long day might be allowed him.

    Mr Justice Kinchela then proceeded to pass sentence, and in so doing observed that the crime of which he (the prisoner) had been pronounced guilty, could not be pardoned. He hoped therefore he would prepare himself for another world, as it was impossible any mercy could be extended to him in this. He then ordered him to be hanged on such day as His Excellency may appoint. Prisoner then left the Court much affected.

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The Sydney Herald, Mon 8 Aug 1836  3 

THURSDAY, 4 AUGUST [1836] .–

Before Mr Justice Kinchela and a Military Jury.
    John Warren stood indicted for committing a nameless offence. The case was clearly proved.
    Guilty – Death.   

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Enclosure D to NSW Executive Council Minute No. 18, 1836  4 


    Report of the Case of John Warren tried before me and a Civil Jury on the 4th August 1836. –
    The King v. John Warren: The Information stated that the Prisoner on the 14th day of March 1836 at Black Creek in the


Colony of New South Wales – upon one Ronald Portus under the age of 14 Years did make an assault and then and there feloniously he had venereal affair with the said Ronald Portus and then and there carnally know and commit the crime of Buggery etc., etc., Contrary etc., etc.,

    Prisoner pleaded Not Guilty.

    Ronald Portus aged 12 years – the son of John Portus of Black Creek – in March last the Prisoner who was a Servant of my father and worked in the Mill asked my mother to allow me to help him in the Mill as it was Saturday and he could not finish in time without I helped him – I was putting down flour into the drying Machine after I had done I was going into the Kitchen to go to bed but the doors were barred inside – the prisoner then asked me to go to bed with him – I did so – after I had gone into bed the prisoner put his arms about me and held me tight – my back was to him – the prisoner then attempted to put his private parts into my bottom but could not do so entirely – he put a part of it up – he could not get all his yard up my bottom – but he got a part up – he pushed against me and hurt me – he hold me so for two or three minutes – when he let me go I found myself wet – Next day on easing myself I found some blood amongst what passed from me – I did not call out – I did not know it was wrong till afterwards – the prisoner desired me not to tell any one about it – prisoner told me it was a naughty (trick ?) and said “Never let any body else do it to you” – prisoner never tried to do it to me before or since. –

    Cross-examined. By prisoner: I did not tell any body of it until a little before I was brought before the Magistrate – I told my brother 8th July 1836 of it and he told my mother – I was afraid to tell lest you would beat me – My Mother told my Father and he beat me because I would not tell him what you did – you have beat me often and I was afraid to tell –

    John Portus of Black Creek Miller – the Prisoner was a Servant of mine – he worked in the Mill – I am the Father of the last Witness – the Offence was only communicated to me a few days before I brought the prisoner before the Magistrates – I always endeavoured to (rear ?) up my Children will and to have no communication with


my Servants – as soon as I heard of the Prisoner’s conduct to my boy I brought him before the Magistrates –
    Prisoner made no defence but denied that he had done as the boy said –

Verdict Guilty

    Upon which I passed the sentence of Death upon the Prisoner to be executed whenever His Excellency the Governor will be pleased to appoint –
(Signed) John Kinchela Junior Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court.
Hyde Park
18 August 1836

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NSW Executive Council Minute, 22 Aug 1836  5 

Minute No. 18

Council Chamber
Monday 22th August 1836

    His Excellency the Governor [Sir Richard Bourke KCB]
    The Hon Lieutenant Colonel [Kenneth] Snodgrass
    The Hon the Colonial Secretary [Alexander M’Leay]

    1. His Excellency the Governor laid upon the table Reports [see Enclosure above] of their Honors the Judges of Cases of Capital Convicted prisoners before them resp advised as follows, viz.

    John Warren convicted of buggery –

    That the sentence of death passed upon him be commuted to hard labour in irons at Norfolk Island for Life, with solitary confinement at night.

The Council then adjourned to the following day at twelve o’clock.
[Signed] E Deas Thomson, Clerk of the Council

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The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 3 Sep 1836  6


    John Warren convicted of an unnatural offence,

all sentenced to death have been reprieved, and were yesterday sent on board the hulk preparatory to theirbeing forwarded to Norfolk Island for the term of their natural lives.

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The Sydney Monitor, Sat 3 Sep 1836  7 


    The following prisoners convicted during the last sessions, and sentenced to suffer death, were respited, and removed to the prison Hulk yesterday morning preparatory to the transportation for life to Norfolk Island.—John Warren, convicted of an unnatural offence,


1  SRNSW: NRS880, [SC T43] Information No. 19, Supreme Court, Papers and depositions, 1836.

2  The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 6 Aug 1836, p. 3. Justice Kinchela’s 1836 notebooks could not be located at SRNSW.

3  The Sydney Herald, Mon 8 Aug 1836, p. 2.

4  SRNSW: NRS4234, [4/1444], Executive Council, Appendices to minutes, 1825-48, pp. 267, 275-7. Emphasis added.

5  SRNSW: NRS4232, [4/1519], Executive Council, Minute books, Minute 18, 22 Aug 1836.

6  The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 3 Sep 1836, p. 3.

7  The Sydney Monitor, Sat 3 Sep 1836, p. 3.