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

R v Thorp [1836] NSWSupC 2

forgery - absconding debtor

Supreme Court of New South Wales

Burton J., 1 February 1836

Source: Sydney Herald, 4 February 1836[ 1]

Before Mr. Justice Burton and a Military Jury. 

Charles Walter Thorp stood indicted for having forged a bill of exchange on the 4th December last, purporting to be the acceptance of Mr. McDonald, to the amount of £132, and uttering the same knowing it to have been forged, with intent to defraud Mr. Richard Jones, President of the Bank of New South Wales.  The particulars of this case have been so recently before the public, that it will be unnecessary on the present occasion to give more than a succinct account of the transaction.  Prisoner, a man of very respectable appearance, had been employed by Mr. McDonald as an overseer at Woolloomooloo.  On the day charged in the indictment he went to the Bank in question, and presented the said bill for discount.  Mr. McDonald having just before been in the Bank, all suspicion on the part of Mr. Black, Cashier to the establishment was lulled, and cash was immediately given.  Prisoner directly converted the notes into gold, and engaged a boat at the King's Wharf to enable him to join the Susannah then under-weigh for London.  Whilst on the wharf, prisoner made a great display of money, which circumstances excited the suspicion of some of the bystanders, who had previously known him; information was soon after given to Mr. McDonald and the forgery in consequence having been detected, pursuit was made, and prisoner was taken outside the Heads in the act of joining the Susannah.  He had then upon his person gold &c., to the amount of £119.  The fact of the forgery was clearly proved.  Prisoner in his defence read a long account of the transaction but which bore nothing whatever upon the case in point.  The Jury after a brief consultation returned a verdict of Guilty.  Sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen's Land for life.  In the course of the proceedings Samuel Brasil, a pilot, was examined, the person who was conveying the prisoner on board.  In answer to a question put by Mr. Justice Burton he said - he did not know, nor did he enquire whether at the time the prisoner was free or otherwise.  Mr. Burton said - he considered him very unfit for a pilot.  Brasil attempted to give an explanation for his conduct, but failed.



[ 1] See also Sydney Gazette, 4 February 1836; Burton, Notes of Criminal Cases, State Records of New South Wales, 2/2423, vol. 22,  p. 95.

On the dramatic capture of Thorp, see Roache v. Jones, 1836.

Published by the Division of Law, Macquarie University