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

R. v. Kennedy [1821] NSWKR 19; [1821] NSWSupC 19

stealing, in dwelling house, receiving stolen goods

Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Wylde J.A., 26 July 1821

Source: Sydney Gazette, 28 July1821

            Ann Kennedy was indicted for feloniously stealing from the dwelling house of Mr Henry Marr, in Castlereagh-street, at sundry times, four kerseymere shawls, a remnant of print, a piece of calico, and a variety of other valuable property; and James Macgreevy and Margaret Macgreevy were indicted for receiving the same knowing it to have been stolen. Mr Marr deposed, that, from certain information, he accompanied Mr Thomas Dunn, the Chief Constable, in December last, to the house of the prisoner Macgreevy, with a search warrant; where most of the property before the Court was found - the patterns and qualities of which corresponded exactly with those in his warehouse, and which no other house in the Colony could possibly be in possession of, as they had been but lately imported on the Surry, and were therefore easily recognizable. The property was discovered in all parts and corners of the house, and some was even found in the sacking of the bedstead; indeed, from the curious manner of its secretion, although repeatedly and ingeniously urged to the contrary, there was every symptom betrayed of its having been well known to be stolen property. On the part, and in extenuation of Macgreevy, it was alleged, that he evinced every readiness in delivering up the ill gotten spoil, and even directed his wife, who was somewhat reluctant to act, to immediately render up all to the peace officers, which mandate she obeyed. Mr Marr concluded his testimony by further deposing, that the prisoner Ann Kennedy had been in his employ as a servant of all work; and that, upon a discovery of the very many robberies committed by her, she frankly acknowledged her guilt, and also gave a particular and minute account of the variety and quantity of property she had from time to time stolen.

            The next witness called was Mr Thomas Dunn, Chief Constable, who corroborated the foregoing relation in all its principal features, with this addiction, that the prisoner Ann Kennedy, while in the watch house, confessed the crime of having repeatedly, and at every possible opportunity, plundered the house of her kind employer; and from motives of compunction or apprehension, had voluntarily given a schedule of the articles stolen. This schedule was exhibited to the Court, and it carried the appearance of an auctioneer's catalogue; - Such an extensive robbery, so concerted and so executed, was never before (we believe) perpetrated in the Colony.

            A witness was here called to prove the fact of having purchased an article of wearing apparel, forming part of the property stolen, and which was traced to have proceeded from the prisoner Ann Kennedy. In this stage of the proceedings the courts in the indictment being too well substantiated, His Honor the Judge Advocate declared his reluctance at unnecessarily occupying the valuable time of the Court by bringing forward further evidence to support charges that the prisoners seem wholly unable to rebut; and therefore they were called upon for their defence. Ann Kennedy, who is a very young woman, and unhappily a native of the Colony, had nothing to urge. The other prisoners attempted a defence, which went to declare their total ignorance of the property being stolen, as the prisoner Ann Kennedy always gave them to understand, which they professed to accredit, that the various articles occasionally lodged in their house, were presents she was in the habit of receiving from the gentlemen, notwithstanding they well knew she was only the servant of Mr Marr; and upon this unsupported declaration they rested. The Court retired; and after a short consultation, a verdict of Guilty was pronounced against the prisoners; and they were respectively adjudged to be transported, for the term of 14 years, to such part of the territory as His Excellency the Governor in Chief may think proper to direct.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University