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

R v Bullock and Clarke [1826] NSWSupC 19

stealing - receiving stolen goods - sentencing discretion

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen A.C.J.,[1 ] 9 March 1826

Source: Australian, 16 March 1826


George Bullock stood indicted for stealing a horse - and William Clarke for receiving the same.  (The former person was capitally convicted the preceding day, of a similar offence).[2 ]  The animal it appeared, had been missing from a paddock on the estate of H. Macarthur; Esq. about the 22d of October, it was afterwards discovered to have been impounded in the district of Bathurst, near Rooty-hill, from whence the prisoner Bullock released it, as he at the time stated, for one Thomas Lewis.  The horse turned out to be the property of Captain Fennel, and was subsequently found by Taylor, a constable, in a stable belonging to one Clarke, at Parramatta, maimed, broke in, and branded T.L. Clarke on examination, stated that he had purchased the annimal [sic] for 211.5s of Bullock, and produced a receipt, witnessed by a man named Cook.  The evidence against both prisoners being conclusive, the Jury returned a verdict of guilty.

In recording the sentence of death against Bullock, his Honor wished it to be understood, that although in this case the utmost rigour of the law might not be carried into effect, lenity would not be invariably extended to person convicted of an offence like the present, which in England was generally visited with death.  As for the prisoner Clarke, he had been found guilty of a crime, which the law, in the absence of extenuating shades between degrees of guilt, visited with equal severity as the principal.  He should therefore feel it his duty to award the full extent of punishment enacted against receivers of stolen goods generally, which was, transportation for fourteen years.



[1 ] Forbes C.J. was on sick leave from 23 February 1826 until 29 May 1826; John Stephen was Acting Chief Justice in this period: see Australian, 23 February and 3 June 1826. 

[2 ] See Sydney Gazette, 11 March 1826.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University