Skip to Content

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

R. v. Delworth and others [1820] NSWKR 14; [1820] NSWSupC 14

burglary - stealing - receiving stolen goods

Court of Criminal Jurisdiction
Wylde J.A., 24 November 1820
Source: Sydney Gazette, 25 November 1820

Jonas Delworth and William Smith were indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the warehouse of Mr Simeon Lord, on the 16th of August last, and stealing therefrom a quantity of jewellery, and some silk handkerchiefs; and Margaret McKennell was indicted for receiving the same, knowing them to be stolen.

           Mr John Black, clerk to Mr Lord, was deposed, that on the night of the 16th, or morning of the 17th of August last, the warehouse had been broke into, and various articles, consisting of jewellery and silk handkerchiefs were discovered to be stolen, together with a chronometer, value 40l but which, with most of the stolen property, had been since recovered.  Mr Black also stated, that subsequent to the apprehension and committal of the prisoner Delworth, he had been informed by him that he, Delworth, had found the articles in the Government Domain, round Bennelong's Point, and that he would conduct him to the spot where some of the articles remained secreted, that he availed himself accordingly of such information, and went with the prisoner, and some of the property now before the Court was then and there found.

           Mr Thomas Dunn, Chief Constable, deposed, that he went, attended by several peace officers, to the house of the prisoner Margaret McKennell, in Phillip street, on or about the 20th of August, a few days after the robbery, where the prisoner Delworth lodged, having the authority of a search warrant to discover whether certain information that had been laid before the Superintendent of Police was correct.  The prisoner, Margaret McKennell, upon being made acquainted with the nature of his errand, resisted his authority for some time, but being conscious, upon speedy reflection, any opposition would be fruitless, she consented.  That on searching a box in the bed room, sundry articles before the Court, which were sworn to by Mr Black, were found therein; and on being questioned to whom they belonged, the prisoner unhesitatingly declared the property to be her own; that in a few minutes after she desired Mr Dunn to be seated, when the whole affair should be explained.  She then said that the articles had been brought home by the prisoner Delworth, who told her he had found then in the Government Domain, and requested her to keep them secure for him.  The prisoner Delworth being then in the house, he was secured.  The above testimony was confirmed by that of three other peace officers.

           Levy Abrahams, an assigned Government servant to Mr Josephson, jeweller, deposed, that the prisoner William Smith had offered to sell him various articles of jewellery, asserting he had received an assortment from a person who was apparently a seaman; that he acquainted his master with the circumstance, who directed him to procure a sample; and meeting the prisoner again in a day or two, according to appointment, he obtained various articles, which he delivered to his master, Mr Josephson, in whose mind suspicion being awakened on the occasion, he very properly and judiciously had the prisoner, William Smith, brought to him, whom he conducted, with the proffered articles, to the Police Office; from whence the prisoner was committed to take his trial, in conjunction with his associates at the bar.

           Other testimony was called to prove the tracing of the property to the possession of the prisoner Jonas Delworth, who in his defence still declared that he had found the property in the Government Domain.  William Smith denied all knowledge of the transaction, further than that of receiving the articles from Delworth to sell; and Margaret McKennell strenuously denied, in a written defence, all felonious intention on her part, but the chain of evidence adduced, and the evident connexion between the prisoners, was too clear to admit of the possibility of doubt existing as to the guilt of either of the prisoners, to not having any witnesses to corroborate their assertions, they were found guilty. Jonas Delworth and William Smith - life to Newcastle; Margaret McKennell , whose original term of transportation had only expired while in custody for the present offence - 7 years to Newcastle.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University