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

Rodd v Townshend [1833] NSWSupC 29

assault - damages, personal injury

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Dowling J., 1 April 1833

Source: Sydney Herald, 4 April 1833[ 1]

MONDAY. - Before Judge Dowling and the following Common Jury: Robert Cooper Foreman; J. Bulsover, T. Cooper, A. Badgery, J. Greg, E. Glendon, S. Bowler, S. Blackman, E. W. Bayliss, J. Burn. L. Cohen, and J. Carter.

R. A Rodd, v. J. M. Townshend.  - This was an action brought to recover a compensation in damages against the defendant for assaulting the plaintiff with a stick in September last.  The second count was generally for an assault.  The damages were laid at £300.  - Plea, the general issue.

It appeared in evidence on the part of plaintiff that some misunderstanding had existed between him and defendant, and in the month of September plaintiff having understood from one of defendant's servants that a heifer belonging to him was lying dead in defendants Stock-yard, whose farm adjoined his, he, in company with an assigned servant, went to see it, but he found that it did not belong to him; while looking at it, defendant came up and said to plaintiff I want to speak a word with you, plaintiff replied, you had plenty of time on Saturday last.  Mr. T. wished to know what he had been saying about him, that he (Rodd) had sent a hostile message, and that he would not accept it.  Rodd replied he said nothing of the kind, nothing further than what he said in a letter to Dr. Sloane, and in the letter he had sent him.  Townsend said he was a horsewhipped coward; Rodd replied he did not consider himself horsewhipped by him, with that Townshend struck him a blow on the left cheek with a whip which he held in his hand, and knocked his hat off, and asked if he considered himself horsewhipped now; Rodd said that was what he wanted, and he'd take a few dumps out of him; Townshend then struck him a blow over the left shoulder; Mr. R. then picked up his hat, and calling his servant to witness it, went away - Mr. T. subsequently told the servant that he knew nothing about the assault, and was a d--d scoundrel, and on another occasion, that Mr. R. had a charge of an unnatural crime against him.

For the defence two witnesses were called who deposed to seeing plaintiff and defendant near the Stock-yard, when high words took place, but they could not hear what was said; Rodd raised his hand and Townshend his, with a whip in it, but the defendant did not strike plaintiff.  This was the case on both sides.  The Jury found a verdict for plaintiff, damages £50.

Messrs. Foster and Keith for plaintiff, and Messrs. Wentworth and Williams for defendant.



[1 ] On earlier proceedings, see Sydney Herald, 4 March 1833.

Rodd later sued Townshend for malicious prosecution, but the parties agreed to settle the case after a part-hearing: Australian, 25 October 1833; Sydney Herald, 24 October 1833; Sydney Gazette, 24 October 1833.

For a similar case of civil assault, see Burton v. Simmons, Sydney Herald, 4 July 1833; Australian, 5 July 1833.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University