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

R. v. Robinson [1821] NSWKR 9; [1821] NSWSupC 9

murder, Angolan defendant, capital punishment

Court of Criminal Jurisdiction

Wylde J.A., 10 August 1821

Source: Sydney Gazette, 11 August 1821 [1]

            James Robinson, a black man and native of Angola, was indicted for the wilful murder of Charles Linton. The circumstances were briefly as follows: The prisoner was a harbourer in one of the gangs stationed at Fort Macquarie in the month of March last; and becoming notorious for neglect of duty, and contempt of his overseers orders, the latter one day gave him in charge of barrack constable (the deceased); in order that he should be dealt with accordingly; but the prisoner refusing to obey the constable's instructions and also resisting his authority, the latter went to seize him, when the prisoner drew a knife, and stabbed him in the back, from the effects of which he shortly after died. The case was amply proved, and the sentence of Guilty recorded. The awful sentence of death was immediately pronounced.

Sydney Gazette, 18 August1821

Execution. Yesterday morning were executed, pursuant to their sentence, William Swift and James Robinson. These unfortunate men received sentence of condemnation, for murder, on Friday se'nnight. Robinson, who was a native of Angola, during confinement, was perfectly indifferent to the things around him, and appeared insensible as to the least dread of an hereafter. Swift, however, always expressed great abbhorence at the dreadful crime for which he has paid the penalty, and ever manifested feigned contrition: he left the world in peace.


[1] See also Court of Criminal Jurisdiction, Informations, Depositions and Related Papers, 1816-1824, State Records N.S.W., SZ793, p. 173 (no. 20).

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University