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

R v Adamson [1825] NSWSupC 27

evidence - forgery

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Forbes C.J., 21 June 1825

Source: Sydney Gazette, 23 June 1825


James Adamson was indicted, for having feloniously forged and uttered a certain order, in the name of Henry Burgin, with intent to defraud one Daniel Jackson, of Parramatta.

Mr. W.H. Moore stated, that the prisoner was indicted under the statute of the 7th Geo. 2d, for feloniously forging an order for the sum of ten shillings, with intent to defraud Daniel Jackson, of Parramatta.  It appeared that Burgin and the prisoner were jointly concerned in some transaction; that Jackson became indebted to them for work done, and that the prisoner, with an intent to prevent Burgin from obtaining any of the money, forged the order, which was passed to one Thomas Ashby.

Thomas Ashby examined; is a shoemaker at Parramatta; the prisoner lodged in his house, and was indebted to witness six or seven pounds; and, on being asked for money, he offered the order, which witness refused, saying, ``'twas of no use as Jackson was not in camp;" the next day, when passing by the door of Mrs. Burgin, she called witness, and asked him if there was not an order for ten shillings at his house, that Mrs. Jackson had paid the money to her, thinking it was for her son; and that, if he would send down the order and receipt, she would pay the amount.  When witness took the order down she said it was a forgery.  Witness cannot read or write, but believes the paper shewn him to be that obtained from the prisoner.

William Burgin was next called by Mr. Moore to prove his signature.

The Court was of opinion, that the evidence was inadmissible, as he was not indifferent to the result; if the note is not a forgery, he became indebted in the amount to Jackson; if otherwise, he was relieved, and the same rule would stand if the instrument was for £10,000.  He might be asked whether he had any effects in the hands of Jackson, or any reason for drawing a bill on him.

William Burgin examined; the prisoner and witness were in partnership; the money belonged to them jointly.

John Leman examined; knows the prisoner's hand-writing; saw the order with him; he said he had picked it up, but that it was not worth any thing, as the man was not in camp.

The Chief Justice was of opinion, that the case could not be sustained; the witness Ashby could neither read nor write, and had put no mark upon the instrument; the parties were likewise in partnership and the prisoner had an equal right to draw for the money; his claim might not have been so equitable, but when parties were in the habit of using each other's names, it certainly took from the moral turpitude of the offence.

The Jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University