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

R. v. Hyson [1796] NSWKR 3; [1796] NSWSupC 3

bestiality - buggery - sodomy - pillory

Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Collins J.A., 23 April 1796

Source: Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Minutes of Proceedings, April 1795 to December 1797, State Records N.S.W., 5/1147B[1]

[87] George Hyson, labourer, was brought before the court charged for that he not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the Devil on the fourth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety six, with force of arms at Sydney in the County of Cumberland, in and upon one she dog, then and there being, feloniously did make an assault and then and there feloniously, wickedly, diabolically and against the order of nature, had a venereal affair with the said she dog, and then and there carnally knew the said she dog and then and there, feloniously, wickedly and diabolically and against the order of nature, did commit and perpetrate that detestable and abominable crime of buggery (not to be named among Christians) to the great displeasure of almighty God, to the great scandal of all human kind, against the form of the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace of our Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity.

            The prisoner on his arraignment, pleaded not guilty.

            James [Ormond], labourer, being sworn, deposed, that he lives with Mr [ Dirison ], taking care of his goats. That he has known the prisoner about two years. That on the fourth of April, between the hours or 12 and one in the forenoon, as he was returning from Cockle Bay, whither he went ... passing by a house which had been used as a shelter, hearing a noise he looked in, and in one corner of the room he saw the prisoner upon his knees [88] with a [terrier] bitch. That being surprised, he walked from the door and returned again and saw him with the bitch. That he called to him, on which the prisoner said, you [ larack ] you will not say I was having connection with the bitch. He told him he should believe his own eyes. That he found the prisoner on his knees, with his trowsers down. That his private parts were close to the bitch's, close to her backside. The prisoner was holding the bitch with his two hands by the hinder legs. She was making a noise which drew his attention to the house. That when he looked in at the door, the prisoner was in the corner, with his side of her. That when he perceived him (the witness) he appeared much flurried and immediately buttoned up his trowsers. That upon the oath he has taken he had found him with his private parts out, his trowsers down and the bitch drawn close to him. That he told him if he had a gun, he would blow his brains out. That he then let the bitch go. He mentioned this affair to some people and to a constable ( Kabel ). That he had not been drinking that day, but was perfectly sober. That the door of the house was open, the prisoner not having secured himself in.

            Question from the prisoner. Did you not see me in the path before you as you came up?

            [89] Answer. No I did not. I never saw you till I saw you in the house.

            Question. Were there not other dogs in the same place, and did you not ask me if I was holding the bitch to be [ liced ]?

            Answer. There were other dogs, three I believe

Henry Kabel (constable) being sworn, deposed that on the 6th day of April, the last witness told him he had caught the prisoner with a bitch. That on questioning him about, he told him he had caught him in the back with a bitch in a house at Cockle Bay. That he does not know of any ... or slight subsisting between the prisoner and the witness Ormond.

The prisoner in his defence says that being accustomed to go to Cockle Bay for wood, as he was returning, he had occasion to [see] him, and seeing the witness Ormond coming along, with Spears, he turned into this house to ease himself privately. That he hade a terrier bitch which followed him in and some other dogs, and he was playing with the bitch, when the witness came. That he asked him, if he was holding the bitch to be liced. That he told him yes. That being told he had been accused of this Ormond, he went to find him out and spoke to Peale about it, who told him to go about his business [Ormond believes that he deserves a hiding].

[90] Not guilty of the crime of buggery but guilty of the assault with an intent to commit it.

To stand three times in the pillory on three [separate] days, and to stand an hour each time. To stand the first time on Saturday the 30th Instant opposite the provision store at Sydney, from 9 to 10 o'clock.


[1] Collins was clearly appalled by the crimes with which Hyson was charged, commenting that they were "abominable" and "how unpleasing were the reflections that arose from this catalogue of criminals and their offences! No punishment however exemplary, no reward however great, could operate on the minds of these unthinking people." Nagle writes: "Even if the two Crown witnesses clearly established that the crime had been committed, many immaterial allegations of fact appearing in the indictment remained unproven." Hyson was convicted of the lesser charge of assault, not the more serious charge of buggery which might have led to a sentence of death.

Nagle, Collins, 286.


Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University