Skip to Content

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

R v James (1832) NSW Sel Cas (Dowling) 340; [1832] NSWSupC 100

burglary in dwelling house, meaning of "dwelling house"

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 10 February 1832

Source: Dowling, Notes for Select Cases, S.R.N.S.W. 2/3466, p. 130[1] 

Where a room in a public inn was occupied by the crown as a post office, of which the post master kept the key exclusively and used it solely as an office, no person sleeping therein and it was broken, entered and robbed in the night time; held that this could not be considered as the dwelling house of the innkeeper, who received a rent from the crown for the use of the room.

On 13th January 1832 at 2 in the night, dwelling of George Muir at Maitland, burglarously broke and entered and stealing 1 tin cannister and 5 dollars £1, 4 1/2 crowns, 200 shillings, 40 sixpences, one ten pound note property of the King.

John Erskine. I am registrar of the Court of Requests at Maitland. I live about 200 yards from the Union Hotel, kept by George Muir the landlord and occupier of that house. My office is in the Union Hotel. About the 13th or 14th of January last, in the morning at about seven o'clock , I went to the office and there discovered that the window of the Court of Requests office had been forced open. The magistrate's table in the same room which is used as a police office was thrown down in the attempt to open the window. The night before I had secured the office myself. The office is under the same roof with the hotel. For aught I know to the contrary the doors of the hotel were left open. I secured the window by getting a stick and putting it between the magistrate's table and the closing shutters of the window to make it tight and as secure as possible.

he jury found Black not guilty and James guilty.


[1] The evidence is contained in Proceedings of the Supreme Court, Vol. 62, S.R.N.S.W. 2/3245, p. 155 and was not reproduced in the Notes for Select Cases.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University