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

R. v. Dougherty and Gwillim [1834] NSWSupC 123

receiving stolen goods - sentencing discretion

Supreme Court of New South Wales

In banco, Dowling J., 18 November 1834

Source: Sydney Herald, 24 November 1834[ 1]


James Dougherty and William Gwillim, convicted of receiving stolen property, knowing it to have been stolen.  His Honor Mr. Justice Dowling stated to the prisoners, that they had been found guilty of one of the most heinous offences which affected the interests of civilized society. - It appeared on the most satisfactory evidence that they had combined with others in the commission of a series of robberies on the property of Mr. Forbes of Liverpool.  Theirs was a case of great aggravation, inasmuch as it appeared that they were in comfortable circumstances and capable of acquiring a competent livelihood by honest means.  The Court had always been in the habit of sending such persons to penal settlements, but in order to check such nefarious practices, as far as possible, and at the same time to render their punishment as useful to the Public circumstances would admit, by the extraction of profitable labor, as a compensation for the public injury sustained by the depredations of such persons, the Court had deemed it advisable to alter the nature of their punishment.  The sentence of the Court therefore was, that the prisoners, James Dogherty and William Gwillim, be kept to hard labour in and upon the Public Roads of the Colony, in irons, for the term of seven years.



[1 ] The trial notes are in Dowling, Proceedings of the Supreme Court, State Records of New South Wales, 2/3287, vol. 104, p. 217.  See also Sydney Gazette, 20 November 1834. 

On sentencing discretion, see also R. v. Smith and Akers, 1834, who were sentenced on the same day.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University