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

Wood v. Lee (1829) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 507; [1829] NSWSupC 56

goods sold and delivered - infancy - children, civil liability of


Supreme Court of New South Wales

Trial, 21 September 1829

Source: Dowling, Select Cases, Vol. 2, Archives Office of N.S.W., 2/3462

[p. 227] [In support of  plea of Infancy a certificate of the Defendants baptism attested by the affidavit  by deponent sworn before the Lord Mayor of London was held inadmissible and not evidence within the scope of the 54 G 3.C.15.][1 ]

September 21st 1829

Wood v Lee

Goods sold and delivered.  Plea of Infancy



F Stephen

Jacob Josephson

I am acquainted with Defendant I have known him only since he came to this Colony I knew his parents they resided at Great Yarmouth.  I left England in 1820.  I used to go to Yarmouth on business once a month or six weeks, the Father was a countryman of mine a Prussion Brelow the Father was married in 1807 or 1808 in Yarmouth.  I knew the Defendants Father he was a Jew married to one of the Michaels of Deering they were married according to the rites of the Jewish Church.  They were married in 1807 or 1808.  I have visited at Yarmouth but I dont remember [p. 228] seeing any of the children.  He has been trading here 3 or 4 years.  He called himself a wine merchant a second time I have heard.  I have seen his wife.  I have been in confinement 7 or 8 years.  I have been out 14 or 15 months.

George Sippi:  I am acquainted with Deft.  I knew him in New Yarmouth since 1816 or 1817.  I knew him to be the same person I saw in Yarmouth, I knew of no other.  When I first saw him I should suppose he was 10 or 11.  He was at a day school.  I was following the profession of Music.  I am 31.  There were a large Family of children I cannot say whether he was the eldest, I was intimate with the Father but I never went to the house I saw him last week,  He is from 23 to 24.


11 Nov 1808 J.Edward

[p. 229] Samuel Cohen = Temple Place

Henry Goodman Isaac Lee father and with Sarah the wife.

Identity no Proof.Helena Hazard.  I am a married woman I live in King Street.  I resided some years in Great Yarmouth.  I new a Family of the name of Lee for may years 1815.  I remember with certainty Mr Lee was a Merchant.  I have seen Edward Lee the Wine and saw him at Yarmouth I was not on visiting terms with the Family I did not know his age.  I saw him when, I saw him as a boy I cannot speak to his age to a certainty. 

Rex[2 ]  I remember 1813 or 1814 he appeared to be 12 or 13 when I first saw him  I have no doubt he was more than 8 years of age  1821 he came home.  I left Yarmouth 3 years since I [p. 230] understood he went to aumer  I have heard him say to himself about 10 years ago.  I saw him at London again.  He was a Wine Merchant.  I have heard him say he was declared insolvent.  I knew as a matter of fact he has been engaged sometime in N.S.W. as a Wine Merchant.

Verdict to Plaintiff




[1 ] Dowling J. also recorded the following case in his Select Cases (Vol. 2, Archives Office of N.S.W., 2/3462):

"[pp 132-133] [Where a boy, instrumental in bringing stolen property to light, became entitled to a  reward from the prosecutor the Court appointed a guardian for him to lay out the reward for him to  the best advantage.]

"[p. 132] February 4th 1828 [sic]

"In re John O'Conner

"In this case a boy named O'Conner had found a quantity of the Australian Bank Notes which had been stolen, and the Bank having offered a reward of 5/per cent to the finders, the boy became entitled to a considerable sum of Money, and a petition on his behalf to appoint [p. 133] a guardian was now presented, with power to lay out the money and a petition of his behalf to appoint a guardian was now presented; with power to lay out the money for the boy's benefit and put him apprentice when of age.


See also R. v. Pickering and Baxter, 1829, on the criminal liability of children.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University