Skip to Content

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

Lawliss v. Knoffe [1824] NSWSupC 24

self-defence - trespass to land - animals

Supreme Court of New South Wales
Forbes C.J., [1] 14 December 1824
Source: Australian, 16 December 1824

The plaintiff in this case sought to recover the value of a dog, killed by the defendant, a servant to a butcher named Kelly, in Pitt-street. This butcher, it appeared, rented certain premises of the plaintiff, and had the liberty of driving his cattle through the plaintiff's yard to his slaughter-house. In this yard the plaintiff's dog was kept. Witnesses stated that the dog was a very faithful and serviceable animal, and worth at least ten pounds. The defendant had on the 30th of October gone into the plaintiff's yard, without leave of plaintiff; the dog attacked him, and he thereupon plunged a butcher's knife into the dog's chest, which occasioned his immediate death. The Chief Justice observed, that the plea of having killed the dog in his own defence, was not a sufficient one, in as much as the defendant was a trespasser, and the plaintiff placed the dog in the yard as a protection against such persons. - Verdict for the plaintiff, £5 and costs.


[1] See note to Practice Note, 1824, on the judge sitting at this session.


Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University