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

R. v. Dawson [1827] NSWSupC 15

magistrate, illegal punishment by

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Stephen J., 12 March 1827

Source: Sydney Gazette, 13 March 1827

The King at the prosecution of John Adams, against Robert Dawson, Esq.   This was an application made on the affidavit of John Adams, an indented servant of the Australian Agricultural Company, for a criminal information against Robert Dawson, Esq. J. P. for acts of oppression in his office, as Justice of the Peace.  In this case a rule nisi had been granted so late back as Oct. 1826, but which was not served on the defendant till lately, owing to his absence in the interior.  After hearing the argument of Mr. W. C. Wentworth, in support of the application, and of Mr. Norton on the part of the defendant, HIS HONOR, Mr. JUSTICE STEPHEN, after a perusal of the affidavits on either side, observed that it was before the Court, and uncontradicted by any affidavit; that the defendant, mixing up his private character as Agent to the Agricultural Company, with his character of Magistrate had, on two occasions, committed an individual to prison, one of them being for an offence not cognizable by any law; and that, in justice, therefore, to the community, and to give the Magistrate an opportunity, if he could, of justifying his conduct, the Court deemed it necessary to order the Rule to be made absolute.[1]


[1 ] On illegal punishments, see also M'Arthur v. Hill and Hall, 1826; R. v. Howe, 20 October 1826; R. v. Hall (No. 3), 1828.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University