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

R. v. Salter [1818] NSWKR 12; [1818] NSWSupC 12


Court of Criminal Jurisdiction
Wylde J.A., 11 and 14 December 1818
Source: Sydney Gazette, 12 December 1818

Yesterday Joseph Salter, a long-known dealer in Sydney, was arraigned upon a charge of forgery, uttering, and having in his possession a number of forged notes, being of the Bank of New South Wales, some of which were by him passed away on or about the 12th of September last, and a great number found upon his person, concealed in both his shoes, the day following, when apprehended.

William Thorn, the constable who apprehended him, swore to his taking 35 notes of the Bank of New South Wales out of his shoes, and that the prisoner at the bar, upon the decision, in a supplicating tone of voice, requested him to destroy them. He afterwards told him he had received them from a person of the name of John James, who had formerly kept a public house in Castlereagh street.

Mrs Gotham proposed to the prisoner at the bar calling in at her house in Bligh street, about 12 at midnight, accompanied by Mrs Celia Wright, and an Elizabeth Remnant, both of whom remained with several other persons in the same room with her until 6 o'clock the next morning.

Mr R. L. Murray, Assistant Superintendent of Police, proved the fact of the prisoner's examination, whereupon a great number of forged Bank Notes were found in his shoes, and that six others of similar form were proved of his passing.

A witness of the name of Elizabeth Remnant, who had been one of the party at Gotham's with the prisoner at the bar, and who had gone thither with him in company of Celia Wright at midnight, swore to the prisoner at the bar having a bulk of notes in his possession; to his having given to her as several for the purpose of purchasing liquors, which she expected as directed, all which proved to be forgeries upon the Bank. The witness had seen a bulk of bank notes in the prisoner's possession the same night and morning, and had no reason nor possibility of doubting those produced in evidence to be those identically received by her from the prisoner to pass away for the liquors she had gone for: the prisoner at the bar had also said he had received £10 at the Bank that day, and that he expected to receive £5 more the day following. Witness further said that she had picked up near a sofa upon which the prisoner at the bar had reclined himself upon occasionally, six or seven Bank notes, all of which proved afterwards to be forgeries; and these, from every point of evidence that could be taken, prove circumstantially to be part of a parcel of notes which had been observed in possession of the prisoner, in which he either must have dropped accidentally, or have been robbed of by the witness; which latter suggestion was the more probable, as the prisoner had next morning complained to Mrs Gotham, the woman of the house, of his having lost notes, which were not afterwards found or traced, except as forgeries. The notes paid away by this witness and Mrs Gotham were clearly established to have proceeded from the prisoner at the bar; and he in his defence setting up no kind of denial, rested upon a statement of his having received them from one John James, formerly a prisoner in this Colony, but who had been within the last 12 or 14 years as a dealer of the lower order; and this unhappy man, it was generally known, had committed suicide in September last, in a watch house, shortly after his being apprehended for the same offence which brought the prisoner Joseph Salter to the bar. Six notes had been actually passed away; and the prisoner at the bar had 35 others of a similar kind found in his shoes when apprehended.

The witness Elizabeth Remnant had stated her finding six or seven notes on or near a sofa in Gotham's house in the morning of the 13th of September, which could only have been dropped or have been stolen from the prisoner at the bar; but in all respects so prevaricated in the delivery of her testimony as to induce the Court to place her in charge of an officer in attendance. She was afterwards committed for gross prevarication until the Court should be pleased to order her releasemeant.

The prisoner said in his defence, that he had received the entire number of forged notes found on his person, as well as those he had passed away, from the unhappy suicide, John James; and received a good character from several persons with whom he had been occasionally concerned in trade for 12 or 14 years.

By and Act passed in the 41st of his present Majesty, the prisoner at the bar was made amenable, under three distinct counts, upon two of which he was found guilty and remanded for sentence.

Sydney Gazette, 19 December 1818

Joseph Salter was last brought to the bar, convicted of having passed away and uttered several forged bills on the Bank of New South Wales, with intent to defraud the President and Directors thereof. A motion for arrest of judgement was made in his behalf, which was overruled. At the close of the observations which fell from the Court in opposition, His Honor remarked to the prisoner, that as he had not learnt that any previous conviction had taken place here under the statute beneath which the prisoner's case fell, the Court had thought proper to pass upon him the sentence of transportation for the term of seven years to Newcastle.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University