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Colonial Cases

R. v. Petty [1849]


Quarter Sessions, Western Australia

W.H. Mackie, 1849

Source: Perth Gazette and Independent Journal of Politics and News, 7 April 1849

[2] Quarter Sessions.

Before W. H. MACKIE, ESQ., Chairman and a Bench of Magistrates.

George Petty, charged with stealing silver spoons and hurdles, the property of John Henry Monger, of York, Innkeeper.

John Henry Monger: I missed a quantity of Hurdles from my premises some time ago. The Hurdles were kept in a place out of sight of my house. I wanted them for the purpose of training a young Horse with leaping. When I missed the hurdles, a native told me that the prisoner had got them, and that a man named Reynolds had carried them away on a bullock dray. I obtained a search warrant, and was present at its execution on the premises of prisoner. I found there several hurdles, the greater part of which I believe to be my property and I swear that several of them are mine; I know them by the peculiar manner in which they have been mended. I searched the prisoner's house and found a pair of scissors and the spoons now produced, all of which I swear to be my property; I have no doubt that the scissors and spoons are my property. The spoons are of German silver, and I bought them from Mr. Barrows and have had them several years in my possession; I have compared them with other spoons of the same metal, set, stamp, and maker. I am perfectly certain and swear that I never gave or lent the prisoner a single hurdle, and that he never asked me to lend him one.

Cross-examined: I swear positively that seven or eight of the hurdles found on prisoner's premises are my property. Those seven were kept close to my house in the yard, if they had been taken away in the day time some one about my place must have seen them removed. I swear to the best of my belief that the tablespoon produced is my property. The small spoons were given to me by Mr. John Drummond; I was present when the prisoner was examined before the convicting Magistrates and when Dr. Brown was examined as witness called by the prisoner, and Dr. Brown then swore that he had never given any of the spoons produced to the prisoner.

Thomas Reynolds: I recollect the prisoner on the month of March last, asking me to cart some hurdles for him: I took the hurdles from some land about 25 yards distance from Mr. Monger's Mill-house. Prisoner said he had borrowed a quantity of hurdles from Mr. Monger; I am not certain that I ever heard prisoner ask Mr. Monger to lend him any hurdles, I have 
no recollection of having heard prisoner ask Monger for the hurdles. I saw them speaking together the same day the hurdles were taken; prisoner pointed out the hurdles to me and helped to put them on the cart; I never took any hurdles from there; the hurdles I took were lying out of sight of the house; it was between 4 and 5 p.m. I took the hurdles to prisoners house and left them there; we did not count the hurdles; I,suppose there might have been 
from 12 to 14; there were a few hurdles left behind; there was a young man named Wm. Ward who also helped to put the hurdles on the dray; he went with us to prisoner's house, after that prisoner borrowed half a dozen hurdles from me.

The prisoner in his defence said, I asked Mr Monger, in the presence of W. Ward to lend me some hurdles and Mr. Monger said yes; none of the spoons produced belong to Mr. Monger; the table spoon belongs to Dr. Brown: the teaspoons I got from a native woman; I showed them to Mr. John Drummond; he said they were his and that I might keep them; the scissors belong to Mr. Brown.

William Ward: I recollect hearing prisoner ask Mr. Monger to lend him some hurdles and Mr. Monger said he would lend them; that was early in last month; I and Monger and prisoner were standing near Monger's kitchen door; that was the same day the hurdles was taken; Mr Monger said yes to prisoners request for the hurdles; Reynolds was a few yards off from us; I should say Reynolds was within hearing.

John Drummond: I recollect the prisoner telling me some five or six years ago that he had bought some spoons from a native woman which he supposed belonged to me, and proposed to return them to me. He did not show them to me; I told him I had punished the native for the theft and declined to receive back the spoons. The spoons I lost were something of the 
same sort of metal; I have spoons of the sort; of pattern and metal as the small spoons now produced, but I have no recollection of having lost a salt spoon.

Walkinshaw Cowan: I was one of the committing Magistrates; prisoner said that the tablespoon belonged to Mr. Brown, and that he had got it from a servant girl of Mr. Brown; prisoner on that occasion called Mr. Brown who said he had no recollection of prisoner ever telling him he had got such a spoon and that he knew nothing of that table spoon, which he compared with one of his own, and found it different in the mould and the mark.

Guilty; 7 year's transportation.

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