Skip to Content

Colonial Cases

R. v. Little, 1874

[enclosed lands]


R. v. Little

Police Court, Palmerston
Price SM, 2 July 1874
Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 10 July 1874, p 3




Thursday, July 2.

(Before Mr. E. W. Price, S.M.)

Mr. Little appeared to the information of Mr. Taylor, on a charge of having unlawfully killed two fowls, value 10s. each, the property of the Telegraph Company represented by the informant.

Mr. Smith appeared for the informant.

In this case a man in the service of Mr. Little shot two fowls belonging to informant because they were trespassing in defendant's garden and destroying valuable plants.

Mr. Smith submitted that the garden referred to was not "enclosed," there being merely a wire fence; and that defendant had not given notice to the informant in writing, or advertised in two newspapers. Besides, the land occupied by Mr. Little was not held for garden purposes, but for telegraph purposes. It was not, strictly speaking, private land.

The Magistrate said that the Police Act, under which this case was brought, did not apply to any offence where the party complained of had reasonable ground for believing he was in the right. The remedy must be by civil action under the Police Act. There was no malicious killing in this case.

Mr. Smith said that "malicious" did not mean malice in the ordinary sense, but merely doing something which inflicted evil on another person. But informant would withdraw and take civil proceedings.

Case withdrawn.


Source: Northern Territory Times and Gazette, 10 July 1874, p 3

The Fowl Case.


Sir-In your last issue you allude in a humorous strain to the Police Court action I had to prosecute last week against Mr. Little, of the Telegraph Department. I have nothing to complain of in your humor, which is innocent enough; but I beg you will correct the inaccuracy you fell into in saying that the action was against the South Australian Government. It was against J. A. G. Little for maliciously destroying the Submarine Company's property in shooting two of that Company's fowls.

I am, Sir, &c.,


[Practically the action was against the Government, as it would have had to pay (so we are informed) if a penalty had been imposed on the defendant.--Ed.]

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School