The Sydney Herald, Thu 17 Nov 1836 1
SUPREME COURT.—Criminal Side.
Monday, November 14.—Before the Chief Justice [Sir Francis Forbes] and Mr Justice Kinchela.
Upon their Honors taking their seats this morning, the Chief Justice informed the forty-eight jurymen that had been summoned, that their services were not required as their were no more cases to be tried this session.
The Attorney General was happy to inform the Court that the business of the present criminal session was done. All the cases were tried except one, and that depended entirely upon medical evidence; and as the medical gentleman’s opinion was that death had not been caused by the injuries inflicted by the prisoner, it had not been thought necessary to place him on his trial. He congratulated the Court upon the shortness of the time they had been sitting, and on the lightness of the calendar; during the time the Court had been sitting it had always risen early, and instead of eleven or twelve o’clock at night as had sometimes been the case, the Court had never sat after five o’clock.
The Chief Justice—I sat two or three days.
The Attorney General was not aware of that. It must have been while he was in the other side of the Court. There was also the very gratifying circumstance that there had not been a single conviction for highway robbery. He had been in the colony five years, and this was the first session such a circumstance had occurred.
The Chief Justice had been in the colony eight years and did not recollect such a circumstance. The present might be termed a maiden session for highway robbery.
The Attorney General did not know whether it should be attributed to the superior discipline of the Police, but it was very gratifying. The activity of the magistrates to whose co-operation he was so much indebted, was one of the reasons to which he attributed it. He was now ready to account for the whole of the prisoners in the calendar; the first case not tried was a man for harbouring a bushranger, he would be sent to the Magistrates to be dealt with summarily; George England was to be discharged on his own recognizance; the constable who was to be tried for allowing a prisoner to escape, had been detained in order that the prisoner, who had been retaken, might be tried, as on the event of the trial depended whether the constable was to be indicted for a felony or a misdemeanour; Williams for an assault at sea, must remain until a colonial sentence he was now serving had expired; William Wright, Joseph Lister, Thomas Hartley, and Andrew Gillies, were to be remanded to the next sessions, in consequence of the Crown not having been able to procure witnesses; the trials of Robert Beavor and James Moore had been postponed at their own request. In consequence of the illness of Mr Garling, Mr Fisher had been obliged to proceed to Parramatta to prosecute at the Quarter Sessions, and in his hurry he had taken the calendars which the Sheriff had furnished of the prisoners confined in the country gaols, and although he (the Attorney General) had some memoranda made on them, he was unable to give such a full explanation as he could have wished. There were prisoners confined in one or two of the country gaols of whom he knew nothing, not having received any depositions. There were two or three from Invermein, and he had spoken to Mr Little, one of the Invermein Magistrates, who knew nothing about it, but had promised to enquire into it. Several prisoners had thus been detained in Newcastle Gaol too long, and he had written to the magistrates to furnish him with copies of the depositions, if the originals were not forthcoming. The distance of Invermein had prevented his receiving an answer at present, but if he was not furnished with such information as would enable him to place an indictment on the files of the Court, he would direct the Sheriff to discharge them. In Parramatta Gaol there were one or two prisoners who had been confined too long, but they were to be tried before the Court of Quarter Sessions which had then assembled. There was one prisoner in Bathurst Gaol for whom he could not account, and he had written to the Magistrates on the subject, but had not yet received an answer, but it was probable that before he had written his circulars to the Magistrates on the subject, the depositions had been forwarded to the Clerk of the Peace who might be able to give an explanation. In the present sessions fifty-nine cases, or eighty prisoners, had been tried, and there had been forty-five convictions. The convictions had been for murder, two; manslaughter, nine; unnatural offence, two; rape, one; forgery, one; burglary, three; larceny, twelve; breaking and entering a store, one; stealing in a dwelling house, one; receiving stolen property, one; and cattle stealing, six. When their Honors recollected the number of convictions for cattle-stealing which had formerly taken place, it was certainly a subject of congratulation that that crime was now diminishing. Persons had given up the trade of cattle stealing now that they saw the certainty of being found out, and that nothing could prevent their being transported for life in case of their being convicted. The Cattle Associations had ably assisted the Magistrates in the suppression of cattle-stealing, a crime which he hoped he might say had been put down.
The Chief Justice—The Court are much obliged to you, Mr Attorney, for your able and satisfactory statement.
Sentence of death was then recorded against Richard Wisdom, convicted of housebreaking before Mr Justice Kinchela.
Richard McDaniel convicted of the manslaughter of ——, on board the schooner Truelove, was sentenced to be transported for seven years.
Francis Maclean, Thomas Jones, Sarah Douglass, Patrick Ward, Ann Thompson, John Howell, Thomas Smith, Elizabeth Barned, George Lucas, Michael McKaeg, and John Kirkwood, were discharged by proclamation, the Attorney General not having filed any bills against them.
George England, Solomon Lyons, James Murphy, and James Cullen, and Ellen his wife, were discharged upon entering into their own recognizances to appear when called on.
The Attorney General moved for a writ of habeas corpus to take Michael Cosgrove before the Bench of Magistrates at Liverpool. Ordered.
The Chief Justice enquired what had been done with regard to the persons who had been admitted to bail but had not appeared when called on.
The Attorney General said that the practice had always been to apply to the Court to estreat their recognizances on the first day of term.
Mr Foster applied to the Court to admit Andrew Gillies to bail. He was in custody on a charge of murder, and there was no evidence against him but that of an approver. He had a deal of property scattered about the country which would materially suffer if he were not allowed to look after it.
The Attorney General said that Mr F’s client had deceived him. If there was only the evidence of an approver he would not put a man on his trial, as he could not expect a verdict. He had the corroborative evidence of the late Chief Constable at Yass, whom he had not been able to find in time for this Court. The Court could not entertain the application.
The Court was adjourned until “further orders.”
1 The Sydney Herald, Thu 17 Nov 1836, p. 2. Emphasis added.