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Colonial Cases

R. v. Boltbee [1833]


Court of Quarter Sessions

W.H. Mackie, 1 January 1833

Source: Perth Gazette and Western Australian Journal, 5 January 1833

[3] Fremantle 1st January 1833.- Before the Honorable W. H. Mackie Esq. Chairman, the Revd. J.B. Wittenoom J. P., George Leake Esq J.P. and J. Morgan Esq. J.P.

[4] I. Boltbee, - charged with Stealing Potatoes from Thomas Peel Esq.'s Garden on Garden Island.

Thomas Peel Esq stated that early in October last he found Prisoner in his Garden digging up Potatoes. On my asking him what business he had there, he replied he had orders; I said you are my Prisoner and must come before Cap. Byrne who subsequently took bail for his appearance to take his trial. The Potatoes were planted by the Officers of the Sulphur previously to my becoming the Proprietor of Garden Island. On the departure of the 
Sulphur I purchased the Crop. I heard afterwards that the Crop was given away to other persons. Mr. Periam gave me formal possession of the Garden. There was no attempt at Concealment on the part of the prisoner. He was open and manly about it, and shewed me what he had taken I am not certain whether the Prisoner told me by whose authority he acted.

By Mr Morgan, - I would ask you Mr Peel whether his Boltbee's general Conduct, as you had opportunities of judging, would lead you to consider that he was a likely man to be guilty of stealing potatoes. 

Mr Peel, -decidedly not. 

Rd. Dawson Esq., - Had some conversation with the Prisoner about Potatoes at Garden Island 
on the day the Sulphur sailed. I received permission from the Officers to dig up the potatoes, for the Mess to which I belong at Perth. I gave Cap. Alley of the Mac Naghten, authority to dig on condition that I should have half. He employed a man to dig with my sanction. I did not know that a definitive arrangement had been made for the Transfer of the Island to Mr. Peel.

The Chairman here stopped the Case as it was clear that Boltbee was acting without any felonious intent. The Jury unanimously concurring in this opinion.

The Chairman, - Boltbee you are discharged, and leave the Bar without even the slightest imputation upon your Character. No person was never more clearly acquitted.

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