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

R v Ryan, Troy, Smith and Anderson [1832] NSWSupC 55

highway robbery - Canterbury - Bushranging Act - capital punishment, Bushranging Act

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 8 August 1832

Source: Sydney Herald, 9 August 1832[1 ]

WEDNESDAY. - Before Judge Dowling and the usual Commission. - Michael Ryan, John Troy, Thomas Smith and Michael Anderson, were jointly indicted for a highway robbery, putting in bodily fear, and stealing from the person of James Campbell, various articles of wearing apparel, at Canterbury, on the 28th May.

Ryan, Not Guilty - Discharged; Smith, Troy and Anderson, Guilty. - The three prisoners were then called up for Judgment and the awful sentence of Death was passed upon them, and under the Bush-ranging Act they were sentenced for Execution on Saturday morning next.



[1 ] See also Sydney Gazette, 11 August 1832; Australian, 10 August 1832.

The Bushranging Act was renewed in 1832 (2 Wm 4 No. 9).  Under it, a person could be arrested on suspicion, and then had the onus of proving that he or she was not a convict.  As this case shows, it also provided for rapid execution in capital cases.  Governor Bourke told Viscount Goderich on 19 March 1832 that he was reluctant to renew the Act, as the colony was so much more peaceful than it had been when the Act was first passed in 1830.  The Legislative Council unanimously urged him to renew it, attributing the present peacefulness to the existence of the Act.  Bourke thus agreed to a further two year renewal: Historical Records of Australia, Series 1, Vol. 16, p. 565.  On the Act, see C.H. Currey, Sir Francis Forbes: the First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1968, c. 39.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University