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

R. v. Ashford [1793] NSWKR 2; [1793] NSWSupC 2


Court of Criminal Judicature

Atkins J.A., 18 March 1793

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

[315] At a Criminal Court held by virtue of a Precept under the Hand and Seal of His Honour Francis Gore, Esquire, Lieutenant Governor in His Majesty's Territory of New South Wales and their Dependencies.


The Judge Advocate

Captain Nicholas Nepean NSW Corps

Captain George Johnstone NSW Corps

Lieutenant John McArthur NSW Corps

Lieutenant Thomas Rowley NSW Corps

Ensign William Bummings NSW Corps

Mr Thomas Laycock NSW Corps

The Prisoners being read at the Court duly sworn.

William Ashford, Labourer, was brought before the Court, charged for that on Monday the

Eighteenth Day of February, in the year of Our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and ninety three

With Force and Arms, at Toongabbie, in the County of Cumberland, Half a Silk Handkerchief, of

the Value of One Shilling and six pence, and one new Hat of the Value of a shilling of the Goods and Chattels of one Henry Hyams One Check Shirt, of the Value of One Shilling, One Knife of the Value of four pence, One Pair of Scissors of the Value of six pence, and six half pence in monies numbered of the Goods and Chattels of Thomas McGee, one Calico pair of Trousers, of the Value of five Shillings, one Calico Waistcoat, to the Value of one Shilling, of the Goods and Chattels [316] of John Dawson, then and there being found, feloniously did steal, take and carry away, against the Peace of our Lord the King his Crown and Dignity.

        The Prisoner on his arraignment pleading not guilty.

        Henry Hyams, Labourer, being sworn deposed, that he lives at Toongabbie, that he went out to Work early on the Morning of Monday the 10th of February, that he left his Box locked. On his Return at 9 o'clock, he found the lid of his Box open, and missed an Scarf, Handkerchief, and an Hat That on enquiring of the Hut [?] for the Prisoner, he was told he had ran away, on which he had suspected him to have taken his Property. That the Prisoner lived in the same Hut with him, was left one [?] from Work nor being [?] a Labour. That he suspected the Prisoner from the Circumstances of his having ran into the Woods. That he left the Key of his Box either in the lock of it, or on the lid of it. He is not certain which.

Joseph Thompson, Labourer, being sworn deposed, that he lives at Toongabbie, in the same street with the Prisoner. That he remembers the Prisoner from having a [?] [317] was left behind from Work on the Morning of Monday the 18th of February. That having Occasion to quit the Hut, of which he was the Keeper for a quarter of an Hour or thereabouts, on his Return he missed the Prisoner. That he told him the Prisoner when he went out, to take Charge of the Hut until his Return. That he trusted the Prisoner with the Care of the Hut at that Time, having done the same often before and" (?) missed anything. That he did not know whether Hyams Box was locked or unlocked, but he mentioned that he used to leave the key frequently in his Box.

Thomas McGee, Labourer, being sworn deposed, that he lived in the same Hut with the Prisoner on Monday the 18th of February. That having gone out to Work early in the morning, on his Return he was informed by Thompson, that his Chest was open and some of his Property taken. That when he came Home, he missed a Shirt, a Pair of Trousers, a Pair of Shoes, a Silk Handkerchief, a Pair of Scissors, a Knife and some Combs a Calico Waistcoat, and a Calico Pair of Trousers, the Property of John Dawson which he had in his Chest to take Care of for him.[318] That he is not certain whether his Box" was locked or not, when he went to Box the night" nor did he look in the Morning when he went out to Work, his lock was a bad one, and he frequently left the key in it. He did not observe any Marks [?] about the box, when he came home.

(A Pair of spectacles, a Pair of Shoes, some combs, produced and deposed to as his Property. A Waistcoat and a Pair of Trousers were also produced, to which the witness could not swear positively.)

An half Silk Handkerchief, produced and deposed to by Hyams [?] his property.

John Dawson, being sworn, deposed that Thomas [?] had some Property of his in his Care, a Pair of Calico Trousers and Waistcoat of the same.

The Trousers and Waistcoat produced and deposed to by Dawson to be his Property.

Thomas Reihaby, Watchman, being sworn, deposed, that on the 18th Day of February, he apprehended the Prisoner betwixt Sydney, and the Brick Fields, as he coming into the Town. That having information of his having absconded, he stopped him, that he had with him a Pair of Shoes, and ¿[319] other Articles, but he is not certain what.

Reihaby, Watchman, being sworn, deposed, their Information having been received from Toongabbie respecting the Prisoner, he was sent out, with Reihaby, and from others to apprehend him. That they met with him near the Brick Fields, and had with him a Silk Handkerchief, a Pair of Calico Trousers & Waistcoat, a (?), Combs, & other Articles, which he swore to as being produced to him.

He had a Pair of Shoes on, which were taken from him by another Watchman.

That he was apprehended Half an Hour before Dark.

The Prisoner says in his Defence, that being left in the Hut, he went out with some sholl to boil, as was his Custom, that on his Return, he found the Articles he is charged with stealing, laying about on the ground. That he knows he should be suspected of the theft, and therefore had to come down to clear himself to the Lieutenant Governor, and was stopped by the Watch. That when he Returned to the Hut, after leaving the sholl he found one Person in the Hut, apparently asleep.

Guilty, to receive Three Hundred Lashes on his bare back with a cat of Nine Tails.


[1]We are indebted to Lynette Hitchell for transcribing this case record

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University