Skip to Content

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

R. v. Flaher, Curtis and Alpin [1828] NSWSupC 80

stealing, cattle, Wallis Plains, convict escape, approver, evidence of, bushrangers

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 17 September 1828

Source: Australian, 19 September 1828

Patrick Flaher, Michael Curtis, and Henry Alpin, were severally indicted for stealing at Wallis Plains, on the 13th day of July last, a calf, value 5l., the property of Michael Mulroy.[1 ]  A second count in the information laid the offence to have been committed with an Intent, by killing the calf, to steal the carcase.  It appeared in evidence that the 3 prisoners had absconded from an Iron Gang, to which they had been sentenced by the Sydney Bench of Magistrates; and shortly after, meeting in some of their bush excursions, with a man named Aynwright, (who appeared on the trial as the informer against them); according to Aynwright's testimony, the party proceeded to the prosecutor's stock-yard, into which the prisoners entered, leaving their new acquaintance a little way behind, and returned shortly after with a calf, which appeared to have been fresh killed.  The prosecutor deposed to having lost a calf in the manner dep[o]sed to by last witness.  The learned Judge put the case to the Jury as one upon which they would do right to exercise extreme caution.  There was no evidence adduced before the Jury to criminate either of the prisoners, beyond that which was afforded by the testimony of the accomplice; a man who was made to stand in the witness box under the most disadvantageous circumstances, both by his own confession of being the accomplice in the commission of a capital felony, and with this not being the first instance in which he had been criminated in an offence of an equally grave character.  His Honor would however leave it with the Jury to say whether, notwithstanding the man's acknowledged depravity, he had not deposed to the truth.

The Jury, after some few minutes consultation, brought in the verdict, not guilty.  Upon which the prisoners were discharged by the Judge, with a suitable admonition.

William Clark and James Rockwell, two Moreton Bay prisoners, were indicted for assaulting divers persons with an axe, with intent to kill and murder, and found guilty. Remanded.


[1 ] See also Sydney Gazette, 19 September 1828.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University