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

R. v. Paul [1790] NSWKR 5


Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Collins J.A., 28 May 1790

Source: Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of Proceedings, 1788 to 1794, State Records N.S.W., 5/1147A[1] 

[193] At a Court of Criminal Judicature held by Virtue of a Precept under the Hand and Seal of His Excellency A. Phillip Esquire Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over His Majesty's Territory of New South Wales, and its Dependencies, for the trial of such offenders as shall be respectively brought before it:

The Judge Advocate
Captain Lieutenant Watkin Tench, Marines
First Lieutenant James Frazer, ditto
First Lieutenant John Poulden, ditto
First Lieutenant James Maitland Shairp, ditto
First Lieutenant Thomas Timmins, ditto
Second Lieutenant John Long, ditto

The Precept being read and the Court duly sworn;
Thomas Paul (seaman) was charged for that on Wednesday evening the twenty sixth day of May, in the nineteenth 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 and arms, at Sydney Cove, in the County of Cumberland, six cabbages of the value of one shilling, of the goods and chattels of his Excellency the Governor of the territory, then and there being found, feloniously did steal, take and carry away, against the Peace of one said the King, his Crown and Dignity.

            The prisoner on his arraignment pleaded guilty.

            In his defence he said, that he was driven by hunger to commit the crime ¿ that he had never done anything of the kind before. That he had very little vegetables from the garden on the island ¿ and what he does receive are very bad.

            Mr John Palmer called by the prisoner, and sworn, deposes that he has known the prisoner about 16 months (during the time of his belonging to the Sirius ); that he never had any reason to suspect him of dishonesty, and that he was always considered as a good man as far as came under his knowledge.

            [194] Lieutenant Henry Waterhouse, called by the prisoner, and sworn, deposes that he has known the prisoner for about 16 months during which time he never heard his honesty called in question, and that the general level of his conduct has been good and has behaved well since he has been here on shore.

To receive 500 lashes on his bare back with a cat of nine tails.

David Collins
Judge Advocate


[1] Because of good character evidence the prisoner was recommended to the Governor for clemency. Nagle comments that he received he received only 100 of the lashes prescribed: see Nagle, Collins, the Courts and the Colony: Law and Society in Colonial New South Wales 1788 - 1796 (1996) at 163.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University