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

R. v. Reece [1799] NSWKR 1; [1799] NSWSupC 1


Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Dore J.A.., 31 January 1799

Source: Court of Criminal Jurisdiction Minutes of Proceedings, 1798 - 1800, State Records N.S.W, X905 [1]

[66] The King against James Reece on the prosecution of Patrick Brannagham for beastiality. Plea not guilty.

            The prosecutor having no facts to establish but by the testimony of others, being the owner of the sow and therefore the prosecutor, Raymond Tierney was duly sworn who disposeth that on the 19th day of January and about eight in the morning as he was passing the dwelling house on Captain Townson's farm (in the occupation of the prosecutor) he observed in the swine stye a sow lying therein and the prisoner also lying at her stern in the act and fact of having carnal knowledge of the said sow, whereupon he called to his companion with whom he was walking (namely Dennis Newnham) to witness this extraordinary circumstance. That the prisoner was in consequence of such calling disturbed. Swears that he saw the prisoner withdraw his private parts from out of the body of the said sow and that his semen or nature flew from him upon the hinder parts of said sow. That the prisoner's penis was also in a like condition and that this witness was particularly observant as to this transaction and also desired his companion the said Newnhan to be particular also. That this witness leapt over the fence and seized upon the prisoner before he had time to button up his affairs. That the prisoner was secured and brought into custody to Sydney.

            Dennis Newnham, being sworn, deposeth that at the time sworn to by the last witness his companion Raymond Tierney called to him saying "come, here, Dennis, here's a fellow by b- gg -g a sow". That the last witness when he so called was at some little distance from this witness and was leaning over the swine stye. That this witness accordingly went and saw the prisoner sitting down in the rear or behind the body of said sow. That the said sow was also lying down. That he got over the fence and proceeded to draw aside the prisoner's trousers which were not buttoned up. That he discovered his penis besmeared with his nature, not in an erect state. That upon viewing the sow move minutely he discovered her private parts to be much irritated or inflamed and that the hinder parts of said sow were besmeared with what he believes to have been nature discharged from prisoner.

            The prisoner on his defence denies the fact. Generally says he was hired by the prosecutor to repair the hog stye and that on the day on which the charge is laid in the indictment he was employed to take care of the prosecutor's house.

            Patrick Brannaghan being sworn, deposeth that on the Friday before he employed the prisoner to repair the stye for which he paid him one [67] shilling. That on the day whereon said prisoner is charged he employed him to take care of his house. Whilst he went to Sydney on business and on his return was met by the two witnesses who had the prisoner in custody.

            Guilty. Death.

            Ordered by the court that the sow mentioned in this indictment be put to death under the immediate direction of the Provost Marshal or his Deputy and that the report be made of the execution order.

            But the court taking into consideration the extreme poverty and distress of Patrick Brannagham the prosecutor in this unhappy business who appears unable to sustain a loss so material as the value of said sow which he estimates at £15 sterling and moreover as it appears that the said sow has ferried since the commitment of this unnatural felony and produced a litter of the 11 pigs, also which must be necessarily lost by the condemnation of the said sow.

            The court beg here respectfully to submit this poor man's hard case to his Excellency's humane consideration, and humbly to recommend such remuneration to the unfortunate man in the present case as to his Excellency's wisdom and humanity may seem met.


[1] Reece was executed on 8 February 1799: K. Macnab, Database of Prisoners Sentenced to Death in New South Wales, 1788-1968, unpublished.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University