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

R. v. Morgan and Fox [1828] NSWSupC 4

rape, Female Factory, convict service

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Forbes C.J., 9 February 1828

Source: Australian, 15 February 1828

Richard Morgan and -- Fox were indicted for a capital assault on the person of Margaret Murray.  A second count charged the prisoner Fox with assisting the other to commit the offence.

Margaret Murray deposed, that on the morning of the eleventh of last month she was assigned from the factory to the service of Mr. William Love, at Concord, and was provided with a seat on one of the Parramatta coaches, for the purpose of being delivered over to her new master, or such other person as he should depute to receive her at the Half-way House, on the Parramatta-road, at which house she met the prisoner Fox, who called himself her fellow servant, invited her to drink with him, which she did, and with the other prisoner, Morgan, who happened to be in the house.  Dusk at length approaching, she begged of Fox (her new fellow servant) to go home.  Fox and Morgan said they would both go with her to Concord, which, by a cut through the bush, was no great distance off.  Witness, after a little time, remarked to Fox that she thought he was misleading her.  Fox made answer "no, I am not, come along,' ae told her if she felt tired to sit down a little.  Witness did so; at that instant Morgan came up to her and said, "I must have cobler's knowledge of you before you go any farther."  Morgan then threw her down on the grass.  Prisoner Fox stood by.  She, however, succeeded in getting away from Morgan, and ran to Fox, thinking that as they were to become fellow servants, he would assist her.  Morgan, however, repeated his attack, and throwing the deponent to the ground, attained the completion of his desires, while Fox forcibly kept her down.  From the violent struggles she made to get away, and from the perturbation of mind she was in from an apprehension that the violence would not end there, prosecutrix became quite exhausted and faint, but had, notwithstanding, a distinct knowledge of every circumstance that occurred.  Fox in turn adopted the same practices as Morgan had pursued.  After this the prisoners took away her bundle of clothes, and some trifle in money.  Had never heard anything of them since the prisoners left her in the bush, and she consequently remained under the shelter of a tree the whole of that night, during which it rained very hard.  Next morning she came up to a house, which happened to be her master's.

The witness, when cross-examined, said that Morgan, as she thought, did not complete the full end of his wishes with her, though Fox, from being the more powerful man of the two, certainly had.

Fox's defence rested on the plea, that the woman had got drunk with him, and when in that state had consented to his acts.

The learned Judge left it with the Jury to decide, whether, from the woman's testimony they could gather, that the will of the prisoner Morgan had been completed.  Of the guilt of the other prisoner, if the Jury believed the testimony of the prosecutrix, there could be little doubt.

The jury found Fox guilty, and Morgan not guilty.

The latter prisoner was ordered to be detained in custody, to answer to an information for a common assault; and the other prisoner Fox, was remanded for judgement.[1 ]  Morgan, however, before the Court broke up, was, upon the application of his Counsel, admitted to bail.


[1 ] Fox was sentenced to death: Australian, 5 March 1828; Sydney Gazette, 5 March 1828.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University