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Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899

R. v. Halford [1790] NSWKR 2


Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Collins J.A., 12 April 1790

Source: Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of Proceedings, 1788 to 1794, State Records N.S.W., 5/1147A

[173] Thomas Halford was charged for that he on Saturday the tenth day of April, in the thirtieth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third, now King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc. with force of arms, at Sydney Cove, in the County of Cumberland, three pounds of potatoes, of the value of one shilling and six pence, of the goods and chattels of Lieutenant James Frazer, then and there being found, feloniously did steal take and carry away, against the peace of our said Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity. On his arraignment he pleaded not guilty.

            John Cross being sworn deposes that, he works at Lieutenant Frazer's farm, near Long Cove. That on Saturday evening last as he was going out to Frazer's Farm he met the prisoner about a quarter of a mile from the farm. He appeared to be coming from thence. That he heard him before he saw him. That he called out to him several times but received no answer. That the prisoner turned out of the road from him. That at this time he saw him, and knew him by his cap and asked him if it was him. He replied he had been to get cockles, and telling him it was too late to get cockles, asked him what he had. Instead the prisoner rather turned to get further from him. That suspecting he had been on the farm, he told him if he did not stop, he would blow his brains out. That the prisoner then ran away from him, on which he snapped the pistol at him. That at this time the prisoner had either a bag or a cloth in his hand, in which there appeared something fitting. That he followed him for some time, untill he stopped, at which time he again asked him to show him what he had. That priming his pistol again, he went towards him, on which he again ran away.

            [174] He snapped at the pistol a second time, but it only burnt priming. That he followed him for a considerable distance, until he could follow him no further, telling him he would go and tell the watch. That leaving him, he shortly after heard him following him. That he again primed his pistol, and laying in wait at last jumped out close by him and bade him give up what he had. The prisoner bade him fire several times, but he did not like to fire. That he kept retreating from him, but at last consented to go to the brick kitchen, but refused to go to town. That coming to Howel's hut, he called Howel, who came directly, and then he bade the prisoner go up to the light. That he ran away again. That as he followed him, the prisoner attempted to pull off his jacket and getting off one sleave, he fell down but got up again leaving his jacket on the ground. That threatening to shoot him if he stirred, he gave himself up. Howell came up also. He bade Howell search the jacket, which he did and said there were potatoes in it. That as last he was got to the watch house, and the potatoes taken out of his jacket pocket. That he does not know what became of the bag. That he believes he threw away some potatoes as he was pursuing him, some having been since found out there. That he had been at the farm in the afternoon and then 30 roots of potatoes had been taken out. On his going out again after securing the prisoner, he found that near 100 more had been taken up. The prisoner lately lived at Frazer's farm. That he supposes nine potatoes were found in his jacket pocket.

            [175] William Hubbard (one of the watch) being sworn deposes that, the prisoner was brought to the watch house about the half 8 o'clock last Saturday evening. That in the prisoner's pocket, there were some potatoes found, about four pounds. That he threw several in the fire, and the prisoners who were there got some of them, which they afterwards roasted. The prisoner was brought to the watch house of Cross and Howell.

            The prisoner in his defence says he took a few potatoes, being hungry and put them in his pocket, having lost his provisions there no one was there.

            Guilty - to receive two thousand lashes in the usual manner, on his bare back with a cat of nine tails.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University